By Tracey Dowdy
If you’re wracking your brain trying to come up with a clever, unique gift for Mother’s Day, have I got a suggestion for you. At this point, no one needs to be reminded that the past year has been challenging, and perhaps no one has felt the pressure more than mom. One of the frustrations I heard most often from my mom friends was the never-ending demand for snacks and meals. It seemed the breakfast dishes had just been cleared when someone would be sniffing around the pantry looking for snacks. Those crumbs would be still on the floor when the cry of “What’s for lunch?” would sound. Don’t get them started on the “Spaghetti? Again?” battle over dinner time.
This year, give mom the gift of one less thing to think about and shop for through a meal subscription plan. Each of these options – Home Chef, EveryPlate, Freshly, HelloFresh, and Blue Apron – works similarly. Their chefs create delicious, balanced, and healthy recipes with all the ingredients you need shipped to your door. Each delivers to most US zip codes and uses packaging that keeps ingredients fresh for up to 24 hours after delivery (in case you’re not home) and for up to four or five days in the fridge. Each runs frequent promotions like Hello Fresh’s $90 credit and free shipping for new customers and Blue Apron’s $80 savings over your first four boxes.
Home Chef categorizes its meals by difficulty, from easy to expert, and offers weekly recipe rotations for all skill levels and dietary preferences, including calorie or carb-conscious and vegetarian options. You can customize meals to upgrade, swap, or double up your favorite protein on select recipes, skip deliveries, or pause your account anytime. Plans start at $6.99 per meal with a minimum order of two meals/two plates, and shipping is $6.99 per order.
EveryPlate’s meals start at $4.99 per meal, making it the least expensive option on this list. Their minimum order is three meals/two plates with $8.99 shipping per order. You can choose from 14 recipes that change every week, each with six simple steps and designed to be on the table in 30 minutes. The one downside is the lack of vegetarian meal options.
Freshly meals are $8.99 each and require a four meal minimum per order – the most among the other plans on this list. Each fully prepared meal is delivered fresh and ready to heat and eat in three minutes or less. Plans are flexible, and you can change up your number of meals, skip a delivery, or cancel anytime.
HelloFresh offers the largest variety of meal options of the services in this list and is America’s top meal kit, offering the widest variety of recipes to over a million customers around the country. Meals are $8.99 per plate with a two-meal minimum per order and $6.99 shipping. Choose from 25 fresh recipes every week, with options like “20-Minute Meals,” “Craft Burgers,” and “Taste Tours.” You can pause or cancel anytime, as long as you hit “Pause” five days before your next delivery schedule.
Blue Apron’s boxes offer step-by-step recipes for three meals for two, four, or six people, priced at $7.49 per serving with three meals/two plates minimum on each order, plus free shipping. You can choose from their Signature or Signature for four plans customized to dietary preferences to personalize the menus you receive. Right now, new Customers can save $80 over their first four boxes.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.