Do you think healthy cooking is always expensive? Think again with healthy meal planning services.
Believe it or not:
While the cost of eating out continues to climb, at-home staples—like milk, cheese, and cereal—are cheaper now than they were last year.
Meaning more than ever, cooking meals at home can be easy on your wallet and your waistline!
But for those of us who:
- hate grocery shopping,
- lack cooking skills,
- or have zero times to plan (let alone cook!) . . .
. . . traditional grocery hacks just won’t cut it. Luckily, there are a plethora of companies entering the healthy meal planning game.
Want to learn more about cheap, easy meal plans on a budget?
10 Best Budget-Friendly Healthy Meal Planning Services (2019)
We’ve researched meal planning services to help you decide which one is perfect for your needs (and pockets).
Healthy Meal Planning Services
On average, Americans spend $150 per week on food—that’s over $600 a month! Crazy.
Meal planning for the week can help you save hundreds of dollars each month. I’m able to feed a family of six on $150 a month by just planning.
One way we keep our grocery bill so low is by using a healthy meal planning service.
It’s a service that sends yummy, healthy meal plans and shopping lists each week. All the hard work is done for you so you can spend more quality time with family or do whatever else you’d instead be doing.
For us, using a healthy meal planning service has made a significant impact on our food choices, food quality, and food savings. It could very well do the same for you!
Check out a few of our favorite healthy meal planning services below:
$5 Meal Plan
The $5 Meal Plan is a practical saver’s dream. As its name suggests, for $5 a month, you’re sent printable recipes and shopping lists each week.
In addition, the company’s owner (a busy mother of four hungry young boys) boasts that she’s able to make each meal for less than $5.
Talk about cheap meal plans!
Each plan includes a variety of recipes including six dinner meals, a breakfast, a lunch, a snack and a desert and occasionally a side dish or other tasty treat.
What are people saying about $5 Meal Plan?:
“The recipes are easy to read and follow. The grocery list is well organized and user-friendly.” – Review on 5DollarMealPlan.com.
“The recipes are frugal, yet everything I have ever tried has tasted great and, most importantly, my family likes them.” – Review on 5DollarMealPlan.com.
Who is $5 Meal Plan best for?: Those looking for an online and inexpensive meal plan.
Dietary Accommodations: $5 Meal Plan offers a gluten-free plan.
Availability: $5 Meal Plan is an e-mail-based service, so it’s available almost anywhere!
Cost: $5 Meal Plan charges $5 a month. The price of $5 Meal Plan does not include food.
Click here to start your 14-day trial with $5 Meal Plan!
I can’t think of anything much better than having a back-up dinner in the freezer for those days when life throws you a curve ball (or when you don’t feel like cooking!).
MyFreezEasy offers this and more with its budget-friendly recipes and tools and app that allow you to choose recipes based on the meal type that is on sale at your grocery store each week.
What are people saying about MyFreezEasy?:
“I needed to get some slow cooker meals in the freezer so I could have meals ready for my family…our total for two weeks of meals was under $125.” – Review on MyFreezEasy.com.
“I did the entire set of meals together, and it only took an hour and 15 minutes total to put up ten meals!” – Review on MyFreezEasy.com.
Who is MyFreezEasy best for?: Those looking for cheap meal plans for families as well as the freedom and flexibility offered by freezer meals.
Dietary Accommodations: MyFreezEasy offers gluten-free, paleo, and keto plans.
Availability: MyFreezEasy is an online-based service, so it’s available almost anywhere!
Cost: MyFreezEasy has a 1-month ($12), 3-month ($33), and 12-month ($120) membership options. The price of MyFreezEasy does not include food.
Start your MyFreezEasy journey today and get a free sample meal plan!
What sets PlateJoy apart from the competitors or healthy meal planning services? Personalization.
When you sign up, PlateJoy has you take a 3-minute quiz that helps it design a meal plan customized for you.
PlateJoy also helps you save money by tracking what’s in your pantry and pairing meals together that minimizes the number of ingredients on your grocery list!
One other cool perk that comes with PlateJoy is the ability to send your list to Instacart for grocery delivery.
What are people saying about PlateJoy?:
“PlateJoy allows loads of customization. We love that we can get meals based on our family size, so no food is wasted.” – Review on PlateJoy.com.
“PlateJoy has saved us hundreds (no, I'm serious, HUNDREDS) of dollars. We used to eat out for almost every dinner. Now we are enjoying healthy meals at home for a small fraction of what we used to spend.” – Review on PlateJoy.com.
Who is PlateJoy best for?: Those looking for on-demand meal plans and grocery lists for their unique lifestyle, tastes, nutritional needs, and dietary preferences.
Dietary Accommodations: PlateJoy uses over 50 data points to tailor each plan to your needs, goals, and lifestyles. Available plans include gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, low carb, pre-diabetes, and weight loss plans.
Availability: PlateJoy is an online-based service, so it’s available almost anywhere!
Cost: PlateJoy has a 6-month ($69) and a 12-month ($99) membership options. The price of PlateJoy does not include food.
Click here to start your 10-day trial with PlateJoy!
In my opinion, any healthy meal planning services that boast it could save you up to two hours a week is worth a try.
And, eMeals won’t disappoint.
Each week, you will receive a list of meals that you can pick and choose from based on what fits your needs for the week.
A customized grocery list is created for you—and similar to PlateJoy—you can send your list directly to Instacart as well as Amazon, Walmart, Kroger, and Shipt.
What are people saying about eMeals?:
“I love eMeals, it helps me stay on target when grocery shopping.” – Review on eMeals.com.
“eMeals is a wonderful service for the busy, time-crunched mother! The numerous menu options and ease of use are beyond compare. They're easy to follow and delicious!!!” – Review on eMeals.com.
Who is eMeals best for?: Those looking for access to a range of healthy recipes crafted and curated by a professional food team and registered dietitians.
Dietary Accommodations: eMeals offers gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, low carb, low calorie, and diabetic plans.
Availability: eMeals is an online-based service, so it’s available almost anywhere!
Cost: eMeals has a 3-month ($30) and a 12-month ($60) subscription options. The price of eMeals does not include food.
Try eMeal free for 14 days and see for yourself!
Healthy Meal Kit Delivery Services
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spend on average 11 percent of their overall income on food. Yikes!
So, while the debate is still out on the exact amount you should spend on food, it’s certain that you can cut that percentage down significantly just by cooking at home.
And now with healthy meal service delivery, it’s easier than ever to create fresh, healthy and gourmet-quality food in the convenience of your home.
While meal kits are not always the cheapest meal delivery service, they’re less expensive than dining out and makes cooking a breeze with all the ingredients you need to cook dinner planned, portioned and delivered to your door.
Not sure which meal kit delivery service is for you? Don’t worry.
Here’s our list of meal kit delivery services we think are worth trying:
If you’re looking for a delicious, chef-designed meal kit than Blue Apron is for you.
Each week, you choose recipes that fit your wants and needs (including top-rated customer favorites). Everything you need is delivered right to your door (freshness guaranteed!). So, all you have to do is follow these step-by-step instructions and plate.
What are people saying about Blue Apron?:
“We’ve been doing this for several weeks now and the food is delicious and healthy! Feel like a kid on Christmas morning when we get a delivery.” – Review on BlueApron.com.
“Pretty cool side effect of Blue Apron is that I feel I’m slowly learning how to cook.” – Review on BlueApron.com.
Who is Blue Apron best for?: Those with little time to meal prep and looking to shake their cooking routine with easy to follow recipes.
Dietary Accommodations: Blue Apron offers a vegetarian plan.
Availability: Exclusive to the U.S. and available (for the most part) nationwide.
Cost: Blue Apron price varies on meals per week and plan. The 2-person plan starts at $47.95 per week for two recipes, while the family plan is $71.92 per week for two recipes. Delivery fees may apply.
Try Blue Apron today and get $60 off ($20 off each of your first three boxes)!
If you’re looking to introduce a popular meal kit delivery into your life than say ‘Hello Fresh’!
Hello Fresh shops, plans and delivers step-by-step recipes and ingredients to your front door so you can relax and enjoy all your meals.
It’s one of the most significant meal kits providers and has been in the game since 2011, so it is known as a leader in the space.
What are people saying about Hello Fresh?:
“Previously, dinner meant picking a restaurant on seamless and waiting for food to arrive. Now dinner means preparing fantastic meals that are healthy and fresh.” – Review on HelloFresh.com.
“The recipes are delicious and easy to follow. What I especially love about them is the fact they make me try ingredients and techniques I might not try otherwise . . .” – Review on HelloFresh.com.
Who is Hello Fresh best for?: Those who want to learn to cook or don’t have time to figure out meals for the week.
Dietary Accommodations: Hello Fresh offers a vegetarian plan. Each week, there is also a variety of meal choice you can choose from gluten-free, dairy-free, or nut-free.
Availability: Hello Fresh is available (for the most part) nationwide.
Cost: Hello Fresh recipes start at $6.99 per serving, with 2-person, 4-person, and 6-person plans available.
Try Hello Fresh today and get $80 off ($20 off your first four boxes)!
According to an independent third-party study, Home Chef has the highest rating of customer satisfaction among leading meal kit companies.
How’s that possible? Here are a few potential reasons:
- Flexibility: Allowed to skip any week.
- Variety: Offered 26 weekly choices.
- Value: Customers can spend less than $50 per week on their order.
Home Chef delivers everything you need to bring more delicious meals and moments to the table, including recipe cards and fresh, pre-portioned ingredients. Better yet? Meals can be effortlessly created and plated in just 30 minutes!
What are people saying about Home Chef?:
“Signed up for Home Chef because: 1. Life is stressful 2. I kept just buying snacks every time I went grocery shopping because of said stress.” – Review on HomeChef.com.
“Trying something new the next couple of days and tonight’s was HOLY YUM we are obsessing!!” – Review on HomeChef.com.
Who is Home Chef best for?: Those who want easy-to-follow recipes and a large selection of weekly meal options.
Dietary Accommodations: Home Chef does not offer specific meal plans catered to dietary restrictions. However, similar to Hello Fresh, there are meal choices each week that are gluten-free, dairy-free, or nut-free.
Availability: Home Chef is available (for the most part) nationwide.
Cost: Home Chef meals start at $7.99 per serving. Shipping is free when you spend more than $45.
Try Home Chef today and get $80 off ($20 off your first four boxes)!
Amazon Meal Kits
Most meal kit companies require you to subscribe to their service, but not with Amazon!
With Amazon Meal Kits – one of the healthy meal planning services -, you can order al-la-carte meals that are delivered two days after ordering. Huge game changer.
What are people saying about Amazon Meal Kits?:
“Wow! This is the second Amazon prep meal my husband and I have made, and once again it has exceeded our expectations! The instructions were incredibly clear, the proportions were perfect, and the food was extremely fresh! You cannot beat the quality, price and convenience of these meals. . .We are definitely hooked!” – Review on Amazon.com.
“I love meal kits and have tried quite a few of them (Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Home Chef, Sun Basket), so I was excited to see Amazon’s spin on these. This was the first one I tried, and I will definitely be working my way through the recipes. Great packaging and recipe card. . . Faster and cheaper than a delivery option, and delicious as well. Highly recommend.” – Review on Amazon.com.
Who is Amazon Meal Kits best for?: Those who want the convenience of healthy meal kit delivery, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of having a subscription.
Dietary Accommodations: Amazon Meal Kits offers vegetarian meal options.
Availability: Amazon Meals Kits are only available in select cities across the U.S.
Cost: Amazon Meals Kits start at $8.99 per serving. Delivery fees may apply.
There are many meal prep delivery services out there, but none are quite like Terra’s Kitchen.
From packing to food, Terra’s Kitchen is focused on sustainability and sourcing clean ingredients for its meal prep delivery.
For example, instead of using packing that’s just immediately thrown away, Terra’s Kitchen uses vessels that are returned and used up to 100 times!
On the food front, Terra’s Kitchen focuses on products that are antibiotic- and hormone-free, as well as non-GMO and organic, when possible.
What are people saying about Terra’s Kitchen?:
“I love that the quality of food, which is already portioned out, is packaged in such a safe and wonderful way. The meals are healthy, nutritious and delicious. I do not have to come up with a menu, grocery list, or go shopping for the items I need. I’m absolutely thrilled and sold on the whole process.” – Review on Terra’sKitchen.com.
Who is Terra’s Kitchen best for?: Those who want fresh, cleaning sourced and sustainable ingredients delivered to your door.
Dietary Accommodations: Terra’s Kitchen offers a vegetarian meal plan. Each week there are also gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, low calorie, and pescatarian meal options.
Availability: Terra’s Kitchen is only available in select cities across the U.S.
Cost: Terra’s Kitchen meal plans start at $72 per week. Your first weekly delivery is free and after that orders of $100 or more qualify for free delivery. Delivery is only $6.99 for orders under $100.
Join Terra’s Kitchen’s email list today to get $35 off your first delivery!
Meal kits solve a big problem for busy people—dinner.
But Gobble takes that a step further, and is one of the best healthy meal planning services out there: Already peeled vegetables and minimal-to-no chopping so you can go from pan to plate in 15 minutes.
Plus, Gobble provides an array of specialty menu options like gluten free, dairy free, low carb, and vegetarian. They even offer kid-friendly options for families.
What are people saying about Gobble?:
“Meeting ran late. Traffic was bad. But with Gobble, I still had an amazing dinner on the table in 15 minutes.” – Review on Gobble.com.
Who is Gobble best for?: Those who want a meal kit that makes dinner possible in just 15 minutes.
Dietary Restrictions: Gobble offers specialty menu options like gluten free, dairy free, low carb, and vegetarian.
Availability: Gobble is available (for the most part) nationwide
Cost: Gobble prices vary based on meals per week and plan. The 2-person plan starts at $71.94 per week for three dinner kits, while the family plan is $143.88 per week for three dinner kits. Delivery is only $6.99 per order.
Click here to try Gobble today and get six meals for $36!
Some may think that good food equates to a good chunk of your budget. Trust me, I’ve been down that road before.
However, whether you want to save money or time, healthy meal planning services can help. And, let’s be honest, who couldn’t use a few more bucks and some more time with the family?
What options have you already tried or willing to try? Which healthy meal planning services do you think will work for you?