Best prepared meal delivery service?
January 22, 2017 10:13 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a good service that will deliver delicious, already-prepared, single meals that can be kept in the fridge or freezer for a few days and just need to be heated in the oven or microwave.

Last time I was at an older relative's house, we cooked dinner for her, and I was shocked to realize how little she had in her fridge or cabinets (no fruit, no vegetables, very few staple items). Apparently since her husband died last year, she has hated the idea of cooking for just herself and just stopped doing it. I'm not sure what she normally eats, but based on the contents of her kitchen, I strongly suspect it's usually scrambled eggs, or sliced deli meat and cheese on white bread.

When we cook for her or take her out to restaurants, she loves it. She goes to dinner at other family member's houses or with her church group at least once a week, so it's not a problem with not wanting to eat in general. It's also not a financial problem; she is on a comfortable budget and can afford to travel for fun.

We asked if she'd like us to subscribe her to a service like HelloFresh or BlueApron, but she wasn't interested -- I think the idea of preparing a meal for just herself really bothers her.

I've seen a few prepared meal delivery services, where a fully-prepared meal arrives frozen and you just have to pop it in the oven. She said she would be very interested in that. We'd like to subscribe to one as a gift for her, and have a dinner meal sent to her at least once a week.

Do you have any opinions about which ones may be best? I've read some reviews but I'd love to hear personal experiences.

(Regular delivery service from a local restaurant would not work in this situation; she lives in a place where the restaurant options are limited and fairly unhealthy, like pretty much either fast food, pizza, or a place like Red Robin or TGIFridays)
posted by erst to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Check if there's a Meals on Wheels in her area- they work to meet this exact need.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:28 AM on January 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Should have mentioned... Meals on Wheels is not an option for her. She's had experience with it in the past, but she wants interesting, somewhat adventurous food ("foodie" is a-okay with her), and she feels Meals on Wheels doesn't provide that and is a level of "charity" (and social interaction/home-check) she doesn't need or want.

She's not a homebound, isolated senior citizen (well okay, she's a senior citizen), she just doesn't want to cook and occasionally would like to eat a nice dinner at home by herself, with a glass of wine while watching a movie on Netflix.
posted by erst at 10:40 AM on January 22, 2017

I went on a food Subscription service binge before I settled on one. I tried Freshly. They were pretty good. Not OMG change my world good but yards above the frozen meals you'd get at a supermarket. I found it nicer if I heated them in an oven rather than the microwave as I hate the texture microwaves give to things. The best part I found was being frozen they fit in your schedule better as they keep for ages. Just FYI I ended up going with Blue Apron which I know is not an option in your case as I liked the cooking it myself aspect, but would use Freshly again if getting prepared meals were something that I needed for illness or something without a second thought.
posted by wwax at 10:54 AM on January 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

Where does she live? There may be some good smaller businesses that do this kind of thing near her that use fresh local ingredients. For example my chef sister is starting one up in Atlanta soon and it's going to be amazing - if that's where she lives message me for details.
posted by hazyjane at 11:35 AM on January 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

I set my grandmother up with Schwan's when she was living on her own. The delivery person helped her place a new order each week, which was helpful, and they sent me an email with what she ordered each time that I could modify (like when she only purchased ice cream for a week). The food wasn't phenomenal, but much better than what she was scrounging up on her own.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 11:36 AM on January 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

We did a 1 week trial of Freshly and I had the same impression as wwax: it was for the most part fine and a little better than frozen dinners, but not much better. I did find their chili simply inedible. But it might be the most appropriate thing for your relative.
posted by crazy with stars at 11:43 AM on January 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

We just had a Babeth's feast open in our neighborhood. They have nationwide ground shipping.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:20 PM on January 22, 2017

We like Freshly. The chili is actually one of our favorite dishes, which goes to show that YMMV :)
posted by primethyme at 12:57 PM on January 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I ordered many meals from Home Bistro a few years ago, even had some sent as gifts. I thought boiling everything in pouches was kind of weird, but now I know about sous vide... Every thing tasted great, and the cooking method worked really well (even steak). There's no membership and you just order what you want when you want it.
posted by LibraryScientist at 1:22 PM on January 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I like Munchery.
posted by radioamy at 8:25 PM on January 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

2nding that Munchery sounds like what you want. It's prepared food, but designed to be refrigerated and re-heated, and they have healthy options.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:11 PM on January 22, 2017

If anyone ever comes back to this thread, we went with Freshly, and it has been a resounding success. She is really loving the menu choices and says the food is great.

We got the 4-meals-a-week plan, but we pause the subscription every other week so she only gets a delivery twice a month (her request). This is working out great, and the menu keeps changing so she always has new things to try.

Thanks for all the suggestions!
posted by erst at 6:45 PM on March 14, 2017

« Older Help me choose the most lucky (in Chinese...   |   Hospital-appropriate classical? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.