Back to school, back to work, and back to having even less time on your hands. Can you imagine that? But it’s no secret that the kitchen is often the heart of a family home, and with takeout, it often leads to less quality time than ever before.
It’s not to say that home cooking is always easy. In fact, it’s usually the opposite! Finding time to craft a weekly menu, source recipes that the whole family can enjoy, hunt down all the ingredients, and spend an hour or more each day bringing each meal to life – it’s all so much easier said than done. And when Timmy decides he doesn’t like chicken anymore? Ouch.
If you’re tired of hunting down quick dinner ideas for your family, you might look for a family meal delivery service. Many households are leaning on family meal kits – customizable, convenient, and family-friendly meal delivery services that allow you to enjoy the benefits of a healthy, wholesome home-cooked meal. But before you can enjoy all of those benefits, you’ve got to find the meal kit that’s just right for you and your family.
To help you navigate the noisy world of meal kits for families, we’ve pulled together a list of the most important features to look for and our top picks to help make the decision a breeze. In the end, you’ll find our pick for the best meal delivery service for families.
Features to look for in a family meal delivery service
The easiest starting point on your meal kit journey is to assess the most important features of what you and your family are looking for. Is there a parent at home that doesn’t mind cooking, but just needs a hand with the shopping? Or is this a busy house that just needs to fuel up? No matter your situation, there’s a family meal delivery service that’s right for you.
Reduce Family Stress
One of the most common needs is to simply reduce stress for one or both parents. That stress might owe itself to grocery store craziness, picky-eater drama, or simply a lack of time available to plan a menu. Luckily, most meal kit services were created to solve a lot of these issues.
For families pressed for time, look for meal kits that deliver ready-made meals. You may not love the idea of microwaveable or one-pan oven dishes, but there’s no doubt that they’re the most time-efficient meals out there. While they cook, you can knock out some chores, finish up that Zoom call, or grab 30 minutes of me-time before dinner. Meals can be served at the table for the whole family, or portioned up and served whenever, wherever, for a family with a crazy schedule.
If the source of stress is really just the grocery store, there are a huge variety of services that deliver portioned-out bags of ingredients. These kits may still take an hour or more of prep and cooking time, but for those who don’t mind cooking or want to get the kids involved in the kitchen, services that send ingredients and recipes can be a huge help, without too much additional cost.
Every parent reading knows that not every restaurant serves family-friendly dishes, and the same applies to meal kits. The best meal delivery service for families will offer widely varying menus, allowing kids to be involved in the weekly menu process. This also allows parents to curate a menu that offers some safe, classic favorites alongside some more adventurous offerings. This will help in exposing Junior to some new flavors and turning picky eaters into mini-foodies, one meal at a time.
Of course, when it comes to meal kits, it’s just as important to find family-friendly cooking as it is to find family-friendly dishes. For those looking to get their kids involved in the kitchen, look for kits that offer clear, colorful recipe cards, and steps that allow for safe, fun, and unique steps without adding to your workload as head chef. The ideal meal kit would include just enough simplicity for your kids to cook along, while still resulting in a delicious meal that they can be proud to have been a part of!
Healthy Choices For Everyone
Last, but definitely not least, you’ll want to keep a careful eye on the menu offerings from any potential meal kit services to make sure health isn’t being neglected. Sometimes, we get caught up in saving time or saving money and forget that food is more than just fuel – it’s what drives healthy and happy families! Meal kits can help you find new and flavorful ways to introduce, discover, and savor veggies for you and your little ones. You might even encounter global ingredients that you’d never think to try from a grocery store!
On the other hand, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t get locked into any one plan over another. Signing up for the vegetarian or low-calorie option might sound great at the time, but sometimes you and the kid just want mashed potatoes and gravy – and we can’t blame you. Look for a meal kit service that gives you the freedom to select dishes from the whole menu, not just a single plan, and avoid meal kits that are too narrow-focused to fit your family’s ever-changing needs. If not, you might get stuck hopping from one service to the next and creating a whole lot more stress for yourself – less shopping is pretty much always a good thing.
3 Family Friendly Meal Delivery Services
Now that you’ve had a chance to think about “why do we need a meal kit?”, you can turn your attention to “which meal kit is right for me?”. This is far from an exhaustive list, but these are some of the most popular, affordable, and well-rounded family meal delivery services.
Gobble is all about quality time – in the kitchen, at the table, or doing whatever your family wants to do with their time. The point is, you won’t be spending unnecessary time at the store or in the kitchen, while still enjoying the fun part.
Gobble delivers “almost-ready” meal kits, usually landing on your table within 15 minutes of being pulled from the fridge. Gobble’s executive chefs handle all the slicing, dicing, and marinating, so all you and your kids are left with is a few minutes of searing, sauteéing, and bringing gourmet ingredients to life.
The result is a home-cooked meal, crafted with fresh ingredients in your kitchen, but with potentially hours of saved time to invest back into your family. Whether that looks like quiet personal time, extra chore time, or an hour back into your busy day of work, there isn’t a family out there that wouldn’t want an extra hour in the day.
Gobble also offers a spread of global flavors, vegetarian dishes, premium date-night dinners, and Lean & Clean offerings alongside their classic menu, with no need to switch plans at any time. Choose from over 15 menu items each week, from a personalized, protein-rich salad on Monday, to a steakhouse special on Friday, and anything in between. You’ll also choose from a huge variety of breakfasts, desserts, and delicious sides to make sure your family gets everything on your wishlist, every week.
Pressed for time? Struggling to find inspiration? UberEats allows you to scroll through countless restaurants in your area for quick, convenient family meal delivery. Gone are the days of turning to pizza or Chinese food as the only delivery options! If you live in a bigger city, you’ll likely never run out of new restaurants to try on UberEats, meaning there are always new flavors and cuisines to discover.
UberEats is takeout, evolved. Scroll through the endless menus available, including deals and offers from restaurants in your area, and place your order from the app, where you’ll be able to track your order and get to-the-minute updates on your delivery.
Between the service fees, delivery charges, and tips for your driver, you’ll have to pay for the privilege of a hot meal brought to your door. Likewise, there have been complaints about long delivery times, mistakes with orders, and food safety concerns, but in most cases, we’ve found the quality of UberEats to be above its competitors.
Instacart is all about getting back to basics – they’ll deliver your groceries to your door, and you do the rest. It’s an extremely convenient service for families who are comfortable in the kitchen, don’t mind assembling a menu, and simply want to save time at the grocery store. With Instacart, you’ll select a store near you, then scroll through the virtual aisles. Cross off your grocery list as you go, and add backup items in case your selection isn’t available. Groceries can arrive as quickly as a few hours, and you’ll get a notification when your shopper is at the store so you can follow along.
For some families, going to the grocery store helps you discover new ingredients and come up with ideas, which Instacart can’t really replace. But if you struggle to stick to your list and end up overspending, Instacart can help you get what you need and nothing more. Many families pair Instacart with a meal kit delivery service like Gobble. Weekday dinners will be quick and easy, while Instacart stocks your kitchen with what you need for weekends, snacks, and school lunches.
Pick the Family Meal Kit That Fits Your Family’s Needs
Now that you’ve been introduced to some of the leading family meal kit services available, it’s time to drill down and figure out which offerings are perfect for your family.
If time is the number one priority, and you’ve got some tricky diets to accommodate, UberEats might just be the perfect pick. You can order from virtually any restaurant, anytime, and satisfy the whole family. However, you’ll lose the element of quality time in the kitchen, see a steep climb in your grocery budget, and possibly sacrifice on your family’s health over the long-term.
For those most focused on skipping the grocery store and family takeout habit, Instacart can be a great option. They’ll deliver everything on your grocery list, leaving you to bring the meals and ingredients to life. While it only saves you from grocery shopping, it does provide flexibility in terms of school lunches, weekend meals, and everyday needs. It’s becoming more popular to pair services like Instacart with a meal kit delivery service like Gobble, to enjoy the best of both worlds and save a ton of stress.
Gobble exists to empower families to put quality time back on the menu. It allows families to choose from a diverse menu, ranging from comfort food for kids to upscale dinners for a mom and dad date night, and everything in between. It’s also the most customizable service on our list, allowing for personalized protein selections, extra proteins available for purchase, and a huge selection of breakfasts, sides, and desserts to add to any menu.
Most importantly, Gobble allows families to skip the stressful parts of cooking without completely abandoning the kitchen – their 15-minute meals will get the kids involved in the kitchen, bring fresh ingredients to life, but remove the time-consuming prep and cleanup, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time doing what you and your family love.
If you or a loved one is expecting a baby read our blog post, Best Meal Delivery For New Parents: Stress-Free Eating.