While grocery shopping can be a time-consuming hassle during an average week, it can be nearly impossible to get what you want, when you want it, while social distancing. But before you give up on your meal-prep goals completely, consider the healthy (and cost-effective) hack that could help make cooking way more convenient: a food subscription service.
These services—which deliver boxes of snacks, wines, and complete meals straight to your door—give you new, tasty treats to try on a regular basis, so you can get right to the fun part (a.k.a. eating!). Whether you want to try new foods from around the world, recipes that will up your boxed mac and cheese game, or tasty beverages to help you unwind after a long day, these subscriptions are the perfect solution for any foodie with a busy schedule. After choosing one of these, you’ll never want to go to the grocery store again.
1. HelloFresh; $62-$98/week
HelloFresh is a flexible meal subscription service that offers a two-person or four-person plan. The two-person plan gives you the option of two or four different recipes to try each week, while the four-person plan allows you to try two or three. The plans range from $7.49 to $9 per serving and have a standard shipping fee of $8.
HelloFresh's menus cater to your dietary preference, so in addition to the standard “meat and veggies” option, meals can be vegetarian, low calorie, or “family friendly” (a.k.a. easy, kid-tested recipes that make even the pickiest eaters happy). Each recipe is tested by the HelloFresh chefs a whopping 45 times, so you know what you’re eating is delicious. With the option to skip deliveries whenever you want, HelloFresh is the answer to the always-dreaded question: “When’s dinner?”
Try it: HelloFresh
2. Splendid Spoon; $65-$135/week
If you’re a vegan who hates cooking—but loves good food—Splendid Spoon is the answer to your daily meal woes. Not only does this service send you new meals to try each week, but they’re pre-prepared, so all you really have to do is pop your kit into the microwave. Splendid Spoon gives you three different weekly options: a Lunch plan that gives you five lunch bowls ($13 per meal), a Breakfast + Lunch plan that gives you five smoothies and five lunch bowls ($9.50 per meal), and a Breakfast + Lunch + Reset plan that gives you five smoothies, five lunch bowls, and one full-day reset, which includes soups to aid with digestion ($9 per meal).
Splendid Spoon allows you to choose their default meals for the week or choose from all 40-plus to customize your menu, so variety is never a problem. You can even make note of any ingredients or flavors you dislike in your Splendid Spoon profile to ensure you’re always getting what you want (and avoiding what you don’t). Best of all, these meals are all vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and low in sugar and sodium, so they’re healthy in addition to being easy.
Try it: Splendid Spoon
3. Universal Yums!; $15-$39/month-to-month or $165-$429/year
If you’re a snacker with a taste for adventure, Universal Yums! is like a flavor passport. A subscription service that delivers snacks from a different country to your door each month, Universal Yums! lets you try international bites without ever having to leave the comfort of your own apartment. The month-to-month plan allows you to choose from three different-sized boxes, ranging from $15 for six-plus snacks to $39 for a pack of 20-plus. If you choose to dive in for a full year, the price per box is reduced, effectively giving you a month for free.
Each box comes with a booklet filled with trivia and games that celebrates the featured country, allowing you to learn while you snack. After trying your first box, you’ll (almost) never need to go on vacation again.
Try it: Universal Yums!
4. Art of Tea; $65-$215/subscription
If you’re more of a tea drinker, the Art of Tea has a subscription package that lets you taste test teas inspired by recipes from around the globe. Available in three-, six-, and 12-month subscriptions, this tea club features five different packages to choose from: the Caffeine Free collection, the Classics collection, the Single Origin collection, the Explore collection, and the Pyramid Tea Bags collection.
Each box comes with detailed information about the teas inside so you can learn more about them—including each one’s health benefits—while you wait for your beverage to steep. A great gift for yourself or someone else, this subscription package perfects the art of treating yourself.
Try it: Art of Tea
5. Urthbox; $15-$45/box (with a 12-month plan)
Urthbox is the perfect subscription service for anyone who believes in sustainable snacking. Delivering non-GMO, organic, and all-natural products, Urthbox includes healthy snacks, beverages, and more in their monthly packages. The boxes—which range from $15 per box to $45, depending on the size—only include products that have passed Urthbox’s strict standards. The company evaluates everything from sourcing to nutrition to manufacturing, so you can feel good about the products you’re munching on. And if you're on a specific gluten-free or vegan diet, you can specify that when you order, so your snacks will always be in line with your nutrition goals.
Although most boxes are snack-based, some also include supplements, skincare items, hair products, and more as a fun bonus each month. Each box is a surprise, but even though you don’t know exactly what you’re getting each month, you’ll know that it will always be good.
Try it: Urthbox
6. Blue Apron; $48-$120/week
With Blue Apron, you choose from three different plans—a two-serving Signature plan, a four-serving Signature plan, or a two-serving Vegetarian plan—that allow you to customize how many recipes you’d like to receive each week. The prices range from $7.49 per serving to $10, depending on the plan and the frequency, and shipping is free for all options.
Blue Apron’s Signature plan allows you to personalize your menu each week based on your dietary preferences. You can have the standard meat and fish options delivered regularly, or you can opt for Weight Watcher-approved and diabetes-friendly meals, depending on your needs. Recipes are chef-designed and perfectly portioned, and with easy step-by-step instructions to follow on each recipe card, you’ll start feeling like an accomplished chef the moment you turn on your oven.
Try it: Blue Apron
7. Naturebox; $30/yearly membership
Whether you’re looking for a low-calorie option, something that’s keto-friendly, or just a downright tasty treat, Naturebox has everything you need for a fully stocked snack drawer. While you can purchase individual snacks (ranging from $4 to $20 with your membership discount), you can also buy snacks in bulk, ranging from $35 to $150, leaving you with more than enough to eat through every month.
Naturebox also gives you the flexibility of putting a box together whenever you want it, meaning there’s no need to worry about managing your subscription. And if you don’t like one of the snacks you choose, the company has a “don’t like it, don’t eat it” policy, where you can receive a store credit for any snack you don’t like within 90 days of receiving it. Now that’s some smart snacking.
Try it: Naturebox
8. igourmet, $100-$684/club subscription
Although you can buy individual gourmet products through igourmet, their Food-of-the-Month clubs deliver a selection of standout products in a single category, like cheese, bacon, or coffee, with options for three-month, six-month, and 12-month plans.
Each box comes with a newsletter to guide you through each product, including its history, the region it came from, and more. Shipping and handling is completely free, and if you aren’t a fan of your subscription package, igourmet will reship and refund your purchase hassle-free. This subscription is a great gift—whether for a family member, a friend, or yourself!—and it will make you a certified gastronome in no time.
Try it: igourmet
9. California Wine Club; $41-$231/shipment
If you’ve ever wanted to do a wine tasting in your pajamas, a subscription to the California Wine Club is just what you need. Featuring selections from family-owned wineries, you can choose from six different plans: the Premier series (starting at $41 per shipment), the Signature series ($134), the International series ($71), the Aged Cabernet series ($231), the Pacific Northwest series ($77), and the Case Club series ($162). These clubs allow you to explore wine regions you’re curious about, expand your palate, or simply enjoy the wines you already know and love.
No matter which level you choose, you have the option of a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly package, and each club subscription comes with a guide to all the wines included in your box, a personalized online profile to help you track your favorite wines, VIP tours at featured wineries, and more. Some of the series even allow you to mix and match the types of wine and how many bottles you get—giving you flexibility in addition to great wine.
Try it: California Wine Club
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