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The Best Prepared Meals

Which Prepared Meal Company is the Best?

We've all got so many tools at our disposal these days when it comes to mealtime: the traditional drive-thru run on our way home, getting our groceries delivered by Instacart, or even having our favorite take-out brought right to our house by DoorDash or UberEats. But, let's face it: many of those options are unhealthy, expensive, or both. And even with getting our shopping done online and our supermarket hauls delivered, we still have to do the cooking. Ugh!

Fortunately, prepared meal companies can help you eat healthy at the end of a hectic day (or even on the job). These aren't your average grocery store TV dinners, either. Sure, you can opt for frozen meals if you prefer, particularly for longer-term storage, but you've also got the option of having freshly-made, refrigerated meals that only need to be heated for a few minutes in the microwave.

Thursday, October 6th

2022 Prepared Meal Reviews

Top Chef Meals  Review Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award 5 Star Rating

Top Chef Meals

5 Star Rating Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Top Chef Meals puts you in control of your prepared meals. You'll never have to eat a vegetable you hate just to get the chicken you love, with every menu item allowing for swaps and then made to order just for you. There's no required subscription here, and you can order as many or as few prepared meals at a time as you need. Although this isn't one of the biggest names in the industry, Top Chef Meals deserves plenty of respect for how well they deliver. This is our favorite option among companies offering prepared meals.

Sunbasket Review 4.5 Star Rating

Sunbasket

4.5 Star Rating

Not sure if you only want prepared meals? Try Sunbasket. While you'll always have just over a dozen Fresh & Ready heat-and-eat menu choices here, you can add a meal kit and cook for yourself anytime the mood strikes. This company places a lot of emphasis on healthy eating through 100% organic produce (when possible), sustainability in its protein sources, and with add-ons like nourishing breakfasts and nutrient-rich snacks as add-on products. Sunbasket has a lot of customers who have been a part of the family for many years and wouldn't dream of choosing any other prepared meal option. This is one of our favorite choices for prepared meals.

Fresh N Lean Review 4 Star Rating

Fresh N Lean

4 Star Rating

You'll find a great range of eating plans available in the prepared meals delivered by Fresh N' Lean, whether you're a vegan, going paleo, or just want something healthy to eat after a long day. Meals are made fresh and should be refrigerated (up to 10 days) or frozen (up to 6 weeks). People say that these meals are delicious, and that the customer service team at this company provides excellent service. Just be aware that only a la carte orders let you choose specific entrees; otherwise, you'll get preselected meals according to the meal plan you choose.

Magic Kitchen Review 3.5 Star Rating

Magic Kitchen

3.5 Star Rating

Seniors looking for prepared meals that are frozen but fully prepared and people on special diets will want to give Magic Kitchen a look. There are options for individuals on dialysis or managing diabetes, and you don't have to sacrifice flavor to get a diet-appropriate entree here. Customers have great things to say about the service, and Magic Kitchen offers even more reassurance with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you're looking for nutritious-and-delicious meals that just require you to reheat-and-eat, this is a great option.

Freshly Review 3.5 Star Rating

Freshly

3.5 Star Rating

Freshly's prepared meal service is different from most. You won't have to specify the number of servings or nights per week you want ready-made meals. Instead, you'll choose 4-12 individual entrees for your order: have multiples of your favorites, choose up to 12 different ones, whatever you like. They come fresh, not frozen, but you can put them in the freezer if you want to eat them later. This isn't one of our highest-ranking prepared meal companies these days, due in part for Freshly's lack of response to some customer concerns.

Personal Chef To Go Review 3 Star Rating

Personal Chef To Go

3 Star Rating

If you like the idea of getting your prepared meals from a small business, check out Personal Chef To Go. You'll have about two dozen entrees to choose from, and you either subscribe and save or order whenever you like (from 5-20 servings at a time). PCTG could improve by offering more information about each meal during the ordering process and making more meals for vegetarians. Still, enough customers say good things about these prepared meals that we give them a nod.

Factor Review 2.5 Star Rating

Factor

2.5 Star Rating

Pursuing a healthy lifestyle and looking for prepared meals to make that even easier? Factor would like to be on your radar. Choose entrees that come from menus like Calorie-Smart, Keto, Vegan/Veggie, and more. These meals arrive fresh, never frozen, and should keep for a week or more in the fridge. 10,000+ five-star reviews from Factor customers should be an indicator that this is a solid choice, but the most recent comments frequently mention low-quality packaging, spoiled food, and late deliveries. All of that earns Factor a "just okay" rating here.

Diet To Go Review 2 Star Rating

Diet To Go

2 Star Rating

Looking for prepared meals that can help you lose weight? Diet To Go is one of the companies in our review with that focus. There are four main menus on offer (such as vegetarian and Keto-Carb 30), and you can specify how many meals you'd like daily and in total for each week. We had some problems on the site when we tried to sign up, and a lack of positive reviews kept us from recommending this company.

Bistro MD Review 2 Star Rating

Bistro MD

2 Star Rating

bistroMD is a prepared meal service that is meant to help you lose weight. Unfortunately, this company has had a big decline in customer satisfaction - and correspondingly in our rankings. Not only do people say that the food isn't good, but they complain that the customer service is even worse, blaming clients for delivery problems. Could you lose weight with these meals? Probably, but you could do the same with a more customer-centric prepared meal provider.

Home Bistro Review 1.5 Star Rating

Home Bistro

1.5 Star Rating

Home Bistro has brought on some celebrity chefs to expand their lineup of prepared meals. The entrees sound good, but do you want to pay $19 for a microwaveable meal without a satisfaction guarantee? It's also really hard to take out any meals with ingredients you're allergic to or that you don't like. We still can't move this prepared meal company up from the bottom of our rankings.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Prepared meals are especially useful if you're trying to follow a special diet. Getting used to "going keto" , managing diabetes-friendly foods, or knowing what to eat on a renal diet can be frustrating and time-consuming. When you choose a prepared meal company, it relieves some of that burden from your shoulders - until you feel confident doing it on your own, or for as long as you like.

Some customers order prepared meals to help out in a time of need. For families of seniors who are struggling to get adequate nutrition - because they can't get to the store, their mobility or cognition is impaired, or they've got other challenges - these services offer them the peace of mind that their loved ones are consistently getting meals that are well-balanced and easy to prepare.

How does it work? Many companies require you to sign up for a recurring subscription: you choose the number of meals per week and the servings per meal, and they'll be delivered regularly unless you pause the plan, skip a particular delivery, or cancel the service. Others allow you to place orders as needed, but you'll often pay a higher per-serving cost for a la carte prepared meals.

Not sure which provider to pick? Don't worry. Here are a several criteria you can use to narrow down the options for prepared meals:

  • Fresh or Frozen. Do you have a preference? Keep in mind that most meals that are delivered fresh can still be put in the freezer for at least a few weeks.
  • Preferred Menu. Are you trying to follow a particular eating plan, like a weight loss diet or a strictly vegan lifestyle? Choose the prepared meal company that has recipes you'll actually want to eat.
  • Flexibility. Will you need to commit to a delivery schedule? If so, how easy is it to change days or skip a shipment? Can the meals be modified to be more to your liking, such as changing fish for chicken or adding more protein? Are there any extras you can add to your box, to save you a trip to the store?
  • Value. How much will you pay per meal, and how does that compare with what you'd normally spend at the store? Is it worth the cost for the convenience you'll get? Are there any discounts or other ways to save money?
  • Customer feedback. What do people say about the prepared meals and the company providing them? Does everything arrive well-chilled or still-frozen, or are there problems with thawed ice packs and other delivery issues? How's the taste? Does the company's customer service team handle problems poorly or professionally?

TopConsumerReviews.com has made it easier for you to find the right prepared meal company for your needs, by evaluating and ranking today's most popular services. We hope that this information will help you spot the perfect menu and take advantage of this fantastic time-saver. Let's eat!

The Best Prepared Meals Compare Prepared Meals Compare Prepared Meal Reviews What are the best Prepared Meals Best Prepared Meal Reviews

Prepared Meal FAQ

Prepared meal subscriptions are popular for the same reason your favorite fast food joint has a long line at the drive-through at dinnertime: they're convenient! Imagine never having to go grocery shopping again! However, most people who subscribe to a prepared meals plan use it to supplement their regular cooking rather than replacing every single meal (e.g. just for a few dinners a week, for all weekend meals, etc.).
That depends on the service you select. Some specialize in reheat-and-eat meals similar to a traditional TV dinner, while others deliver all of the ingredients you need to prepare the recipes they provide. There are also options for holiday meals, special occasion dinners, plus sides and desserts if you want to impress the crowd at your next office potluck - without having to do the work yourself!
Two words: convenience and taste. Would you rather come home to another dinner of ramen or PB&J, or to a box of fresh ingredients that you can pull together into a restaurant-quality meal in just a few minutes? Subscribing to a prepared meals service can help you get out of your fast food rut, spare you the agony of yet another week of meal planning and grocery shopping, or just add some welcome variety to your eating habits.
You might be surprised. Most prepared meal services let you see customer comments on each dish - while some might not have been a huge favorite, most have hundreds (if not thousands) of rave reviews. And, if you're not known for being terribly creative or skilled in the kitchen, prepared meals can help you get out of your comfort zone and expand your taste horizons.
It will definitely cost more than if you bought all of the ingredients and prepared them yourself. But, the per-meal cost is typically less than what you'd spend in a restaurant. Expect a cost-per-serving somewhere between $8 and $12, depending on the plan you select.
Most services offering prepared meals have several options to choose from, either as an overall plan (like vegan or gluten-free) or on a meal-by-meal basis where you choose from a menu of meals for the month and can avoid any ingredients that you prefer not to have.
Unfortunately, most prepared meal plans aren't going to be affordable if you're feeding a crowd every night. There are a few that cater to larger families (or that have more portions per delivery so that you can have leftovers, feed houseguests, etc.). These services even have some menus that are designed to be more kid-friendly.
That depends on the service. If your meals arrive in bad condition - rotten ingredients, thawed meals that were supposed to be frozen at the time of delivery, and so forth - you'll usually get a refund or a replacement. A few providers of prepared meals offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee with a refund or store credit, regardless of the reason.
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