Sales of the best recipe boxes soar in January, and little wonder. For many people, the start of the new year is when they feel they should revitalise their bodies, after a month (or years) of being self-indulgent. Trying a recipe box can be a good way to kick-start a healthier lifestyle, including going vegan or trying the keto diet.
This feeling, of course, wears off pretty quickly when you realise the best way to drop the extra pounds is to eat healthier and cook for yourself. To make the transition period easier, you can sign up for a meal subscription or recipe box service that might do some or all of the hard work for you.
Needless to say, if you already know how to whisk up meals from scratch and have a good understanding of seasoning and cooking times of different ingredients, you don't necessarily need to use a recipe box service. But many of us lack the time to shop for and cook an evening meal every day, even if we don’t lack the skills.
Recipe box services deliver the ingredients and the recipe to your door, all the correct amount, saving you the hassle of having to buy five metric tons of carrots, for example, only to throw most of it away because you only need one. They also allow easy calorie counting, and certain specialist recipe boxes are specific to certain diets, whether that be vegan, keto or paleo.
With recipe boxes, you can create dishes hassle-free with very little effort. Because of their precise portion control there’s also less waste than using the supermarket and also often cheaper too. It‘s certainly cheaper than eating out. Brands often offer cheap introductory offers too. Like this one!
PLEASE NOTE: Many recipe box delivery services are struggling to fulfil orders at the moment so do bear this in mind before placing your order.
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The best recipe box subscription services
Recipe box services have a lot in common: they are all super convenient, provide recipes that are easy to make and very often provide send their boxes using recyclable packaging, if possible.
They do differ in price and some of them also cater for special dietary needs, too, as well as diets like keto or paleo. Recipe box services often do discounts for new members, so it does worth trying more thanone to see which one fits your needs the most – you don't have to do them all in the same time, of course.
1. Green Chef (US)
What options are available? Keto, Paleo, Balanced Living, Plant-Powered (Vegan), Family Plan
Why choose Green Chef? The main appeal of Green Chef is they cater for many dietary needs; not many recipe box providers keto or paleo diet boxes. Both of these menus are also gluten free, making the offering even more tempting to try.
Green Chef is a Certified Organic Company and they take special care to source their ingredients from suppliers who don't use pesticides or hormones. The food items provided by them are also GMO free, sustainable and traceable.
Please note that Green Chef only delivers their boxes in the continental United States, apart unable from Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of Louisiana.
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2. Mindful Chef (UK)
What options are available? Choose from 68 different dishes each month, all gluten and dairy-free, many vegan options. No contract, cancel anytime.
Why choose Mindful Chef? If Green Chef can be considered a sustainable and traceable recipe box supplier, than the Mindful Chef is extremely-sustainable: they not only have the list of all the farms and manufacturers they use, but you can also check which ingredient they use from each of them.
All Mindful Chef recipe boxes are gluten- and dairy-free, and they only use "100% grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and UK-landed fresh fish". As for the subscription part of their offering, it works pretty much like Netflix: no need to sign up for a set period, there is no contract and you can cancel anytime.
Not to mention, the Mindful Chef works with the charity One Feeds Two, and for every meal you buy, Mindful Chef donates a school meal to a child in poverty. You eat healthy, they eat well, everyone is a winner here.
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3. Hello Fresh (US & UK)
What options are available? Classic Box, Family Box, Rapid box. The Classic Box can be ordered as vegetarian.
Why choose Hello Fresh? In our Hello Fresh review, we said that Hello Fresh "delivers tasty meals at a price that we'd struggle to beat if recreating their recipes from scratch". It is definitely cheaper to cook a meal for the fam using Hello Fresh recipes and ingredients than to order a few large takeaway pizzas from Domino's, and definitely healthier.
Hello Fresh states that they "test each recipe 200 times to ensure deliciousness and simplicity". We are sure if you only have to cook a recipe a few times tops to see if it's any good, but Hello Fresh's thoroughness a good thing to know.
Even better, Hello Fresh works on a flexible subscription basis: you can skip weeks, swap recipes, or stop deliveries anytime - only order what and when you want.
This no-commitments approach can give you the added peace of mind.
Hello Fresh also often offers discounts to new members.
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4. Gousto (UK)
What options are available? Two-person Box, Family Box, each can contain anything from two to four recipes. Free delivery.
Why choose Gousto? Mindful Chef might offer 68 different recipes each month, but Gousto offers over 40 every week. Gousto is very keen on preaching sustainability; its blog has quite few entries on the topic, including our personal favourite, "5 Ways To Upcycle A Mutti Can".
Jokes aside, Gousto's recipes sound mouthwatering: this week, some of our top pick are: Zingy Ginger & Orange Chicken Noodle Salad Bowl, Melty Greek Lamb Moussaka and Spiced Chicken Wraps With Mint Chutney.
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5. Home Chef (US)
What options are available? Calorie-conscious, Carb-conscious, Vegetarian and <30 minutes dishes to choose from.
Why choose Home Chef? Home Chef offers ultimate customisability: you can "upgrade, swap or double up your proteins on select meals". Thanks to this flexibility, you can tweak your meals to match your goals, let it be weight loss or lean muscle gain.
Choose from 26 different recipe options every week and create delicious meals that take anything from 5 minutes to 60 minutes to cook. For example, this week's "Chicken with Hatch Chile Ranch and Pepita Butternut Squash" can be ready in 15 minutes and contains an amazing 48 grams of protein.
Home Chef also promotes sustainability, its "box [being] lined with recycled, compostable, biodegradable textile fibers". Order it, cook the meal, cut the lining up and chuck it on the top of the compost in the garden. Perfect.