We’ve all hit that point in college when eating Easy Mac and Ramen noodles just doesn’t cut it anymore. Nonetheless, most of us don’t have a ride to the grocery store and dining hall food can be lackluster some days. After all these obstacles, it’s usually more convenient to pick up fast food or takeout after a long day. With living arrangements, classes and work it can be hard to get a well-balanced meal.
Thankfully, meal subscription services are a smart and underrated alternative to cooking in college. Whether you want to save money, achieve health and fitness goals or just have reliable meals at the ready, the following meal subscriptions are here to help with personalized plans for your needs:
The HelloFresh subscription allows you to personalize your meal plan in three ways. First, choose your meal preferences, the options include: veggie, family friendly, quick and easy, pescatarian, fit and wholesome and meat and veggie. Second, they’ll cater to most dietary needs you may have including: high protein, carb smart, calorie smart, salt conscious, saturated fat conscious and seasonal. Lastly, select your plan size with the number of people and how many recipes per week you would like to receive.
Overall, HelloFresh is the best option for those with dietary needs because they have the most customizable options in this category. The basic HelloFresh box for two people is between $75 to $80, the price will go up based on the number of people or recipes you add to the plan, with the max size being approximately $200.
While it is on the higher end of the price range, one way you could bring the cost down is splitting a box with your roommates. Not only will this cut costs, but it could turn the chore of cooking dinner into a fun social time for you and your friends. Some of the most popular recipes HelloFresh offers are the Perfect Penne Bake, Chicken Parm Salad, Rapid Crispy Shrimp Tacos and many more.
Starting with dietary preferences, Home Chef has two options: calorie conscious and carb conscious. In comparison to HelloFresh, these options are limited. Home Chef focuses more on their second personalization which is avoidable foods, including: pork, beef, poultry, fish, shellfish, mushrooms, tree nuts and peanuts. This is a great subscription option for anyone with food allergies because it allows you to specifically identify any unwanted food in your meals.
Lastly, choose the number of people and how many recipes you would like to receive per week. A two-person Home Chef box is about $70 and their biggest box option $215. Home Chef would not be the best subscription to split with a large group of friends since they only let you select a box for up to four people. However, their two-person option is comparable to HelloFresh. Some of the most common meals offered through this subscription include: Black Bean Enchiladas, Wood-Fired Barbeque Chicken Pizza and Teriyaki Ginger-Glazed Salmon.
Dinnerly provides a very basic subscription for those who have no dietary needs, restrictions or allergies. Their plan is customizable in two ways: a two person meal box or a family box. Then, select the number of meals per week you want to receive. Lastly, they provide you with a checkbox to select if you are a vegetarian.
Dinnerly’s main focus is the convenience of fresh and ready to cook meals. Their two-person box runs around $45 and the family box is $75 which serves four. Honey-Chipotle Fried Chicken Tacos, Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese and Beef and Cheddar Quesadillas are a few of their weekly popular meal options.
Blue Apron is best suited for people focused on health and fitness goals. Options include: Signature; a mix of meat, fish, Beyond Meat, and other health conscious offerings. The two-person, two-recipe box is $50. The four-person, four-recipe, biggest box option is $120. Their most popular recipes include: Lemon and Black Pepper Shrimp, Mushroom and Vegetable Pot Pie and Crispy Cod with Roasted Corn on the Cob. The Blue Apron subscription is a great personal plan, their partnership with Weight Watchers can help you find recipes that align with your goals when it comes to overall health and fitness.
Out of all the meal subscriptions, EveryPlate provides the best value for those that just want easy meals on a budget. They allow you to personalize your plan with options such as: ClassicPlate, VeggiePlate, EasyPlate and FamilyPlate. Then, you can select two to four people on your plan and up to five meals per week. The smallest box option comes out to $45, and the largest option is $109. A few popular EveryPlate meals include Soy-Glazed Turkey Meatballs, Griddled Onion Burgers and Tuscan Herbed Chicken. Again, this subscription is great to save you time at the grocery store and get well-balanced meals.
The Sunbasket subscription is for those who like using organic produce and clean ingredients. They offer two plans: fresh heat-and-eat meals with no prep work, and meal kits with easy instructions, pre portioned ingredients and prep time of 15 to 30 minutes.
The first plan is a one person subscription service with a box cost of $62. Some of the meal choices for the fresh and ready option are Broccoli Mac and Cheese, Swedish Meatballs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Chicken Parmesan with Basil Marinara. The second plan, meal kits, allows more personalization to be made. You can first select from the following diet options: paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, pescatarian, Mediterranean and diabetes-friendly.
Next, you have a variety of options on how you like to eat: foods high in fiber or protein, foods low in carb, calorie friendly, added sugar, sodium free. Additionally, you can choose which foods you would like to avoid such as dairy, soy, lamb, pork, beef, shellfish, fish, poultry or grains. Finally, select between two to four people and up to five dinners per week. The basic box in the meal kit plan is about $100. The largest box option is $240. Popular recipes include: Shrimp Tacos, Tofu Fried Rice and Chorizo Chili. This is one of the more expensive meal subscriptions, but definitely one to check out if you like eating organic ingredients.