Seven food subscription services for those on a vegetarian, ketogenic, or paleo diet
Whatever your gastronomic resolution may have been this New Year’s, enough time has passed that you’ve probably exhausted your list of diet-specific recipes and the reality of the task before you has sunk in. (Ask us how we know.)
Before you give in and order that extra-large pepperoni pizza, consider the meal kit. These direct-to-your-door groceries are a great way to learn the ropes as you learn a new cooking style. More and more companies are getting hip to this fact, adding meals that fit popular dietary trends. So whether you’ve pledged to eat more greens or more fat in 2018, there’s an option out there for you.
We rounded up the best according to three criteria: good variety, wide delivery area, and affordable pricing. Here’s who made the cut.
Things are tricky for keto eaters. Though only a few companies have tackled the ultra-low-carb challenge so far, there are a few solid options. These meals are grain-free and contain plenty of fat, some protein, and just the carbs that nonstarchy veggies provide.
Green Chef ($10.50 Per Serving)
This is the kit that has the most options for niche eaters. You choose a diet—gluten-free, keto, paleo, and vegan are all options—and the service delivers three meals a week. You don’t get to choose your individual meals, so picky eaters should steer clear. Everything is organic and antibiotic- and GMO-free.
Chef’d ($12 to $15 Per Serving)
Atkins has created a whole line of recipes for this site, and there are a fair number of chef-created dishes that fit into a keto diet, too—including a spinach egg scramble, spicy ahi tuna salad, and lemon chicken and shrimp kabobs. Unlike other services, Chef’d doesn’t require you to sign up for a subscription, so you don’t have to remember to cancel in time to avoid being charged for meals that arrive while you’re on vacation.
Expect lean proteins and fresh veggies in every meal. Most services avoid more time-consuming dishes like bone broth, fermented foods, and “breads” made from coconut flour.
Sun Basket ($12 Per Serving)
This company prides itself on organic and sustainable sourcing for all its ingredients, including all fish complying with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Watch List. Meals include pan-seared steaks with chimichurri and citrus walnut salad or rosemary Dijon pork chops with chunky applesauce and broccoli. Each serving weighs in at about 550 calories. You get to choose exactly the meals you want each week, and if you need a cheat day, there are plenty of nonpaleo options to sub in.
Terra’s Kitchen ($10 to $15 Per Serving)
All the ingredients in these meal kits come prediced, so you can quickly prepare dishes like spicy chili garlic cod with cauliflower puree and spice-rubbed steak. Better yet, you return the box, which alleviates some of the packaging waste compared to other kits. Menus can be customized for paleo, Whole30, and other plans. Clients choose their own menu options, and it’s easy to filter the recipes by dietary restrictions and protein choice.
For vegetarians and vegans. Green Chef and Sun Basket (mentioned above) both have strong plant-based meal options worth considering, as do the ones listed below.
Hello Fresh (From $5 Per Serving)
One of the most affordable meal kits out there, Hello Fresh offers three vegetarian options a week. The entrees, like butternut squash and sage risotto or pesto tortellini bake, are homey, straightforward, and, while not particularly mind-blowing, consistently good. You get to choose all your meals from a menu, so you never get something you know you won’t like.
Purple Carrot (From $12 Per Serving)
Every recipe this service offers is 100 percent plant-based, which means the veggies are the stars. Think truffled potato bisque with toast and a sunflower seed pâté or spaghetti and beet balls. There’s also a TB12 option with extra protein for athletes who also happen to be Tom Brady fans. Once you choose your plan, the chefs at Purple Carrot pick your meals for you.
Takeout Kit (From $8 Per Serving)
Perfect for people in rural areas without access to international cuisine, Takeout Kit ships all the shelf-stable items you need to make Indian curries, bowls of Vietnamese pho, or Moroccan stews. Many but not all of the meals are vegan, so if that’s your persuasion, read the descriptions thoroughly before ordering. There’s no subscription required, so you can buy exactly the kits you want.