The days when you had to reach for a ready meal or takeaway if you were short on time or felt too tired to cook are long gone. These days meal subscription boxes are incredibly popular, and there are dozens of delivery services to choose from.

If you’ve never tried meal boxes, you might feel a bit sceptical, but there are so many benefits. You get to try new and interesting meals, you’re provided with all the right ingredients, and food waste is reduced. You often don’t even need to measure or chop ingredients, which saves time while still providing you with a healthy, delicious meal that’s cooked in your own home.

So which meal box is right for you? That depends on the type of meals you like, how many boxes you want to receive each week, how many people the boxes should feed, and how much you want to spend. To help you get started, here are eight of the best meal boxes you could consider trying.

1. HelloFresh

As one of the biggest and best-known meal delivery services out there, HelloFresh is also one of the most versatile. There are family meal plans, classic meal plans, and rapid meal plans – and meals that feed two, three, and four people. Though the meals are for at least two people, they’re all delicious – so if you’re cooking for one, you’ll probably be glad of the leftovers the next day.

You can easily customise your weekly meal box, choosing quick meals for busy weeknights and then bigger, more special meals that you can impress your friends with on the weekends. You can also choose how many days worth of dinners you’d like to receive. Three meals for two people per week clocks in at around £4.50 per serving.

Inside each box are pre-measured ingredients, so though it’ll feel like you’re cooking from scratch, a lot of the time-consuming prep work is already done. Meals include dishes like mushroom and chicken crumble, lamb linguine, and veggie tacos with feta and chipotle mayo. Each one has a handy recipe card complete with step-by-step instructions, including useful hacks to make the cooking process even easier.

If you want to get a feel for what Hello Fresh’s recipes are like, check out this crispy cauliflower nuggets recipe and this salmon and chive butter sauce recipe.

You can get 60% off your first box and 25% off the following two months using the code RESTLESS50 today.

2. Green Chef

Another great choice – particularly if you’re interested in eating organic and environmentally friendly meals – is Green Chef.

This is a meal delivery service that’s ideal if you’re following a keto diet (high in fats, moderate in protein, and low in sugars and carbs) or a low carb diet – though it also offers balanced meal plans, as well as vegan and vegetarian plans. For each plan, you can choose whether the meals should serve two, four, or six people, and how many meals you’d like to receive a week.

Working with small-scale British suppliers and featuring plenty of seasonal produce, Green Chef is a carbon-neutral company that has reduced emissions compared to other companies. Keto recipes include turkey and cashew butter curry, low-carb recipes include spiced chilli chicken bake, vegan meals include miso-glazed veggie bowls and white bean ratatouille, and balanced meal plans include dishes like Thai red curry salmon.

However, Green Chef is slightly more expensive than many other meal delivery companies, coming in at around £5.59 per serving.

3. Jane Plan

If you’re looking to lose weight, keep it off, and maintain a healthy, balanced diet, then Jane Plan might be the meal delivery service for you.

Created by nutritionist Jane Michell, Jane Plan offers more than 75 options of portion-controlled meals and provides breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options – all of which total 1,200 calories a day to help you lose weight quickly and easily. It’s essentially a diet that doesn’t feel like a diet.

When you register, you can fill out a form with your height, weight, age, food preferences, and weight loss goals, after which you can choose from a wide range of high-protein, vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free recipes.

Dishes include kale and coconut soup, mushroom risotto, and fish in a creamy parsley sauce, and snacks include lemon shortbread and salted popcorn, so it certainly won’t feel like you’re restricting yourself!

A one-month plan costs £259 a month, which comes in at £9.25 a day – which is decent value for three daily meals plus snacks.

4. Allplants

If you’re vegan or interested in eating more plant-based foods, then Allplants can make your life infinitely easier – as well as tastier. This is a meal delivery box that completely removes the hassle of cooking, as the meals that are delivered to your door are already cooked and frozen, and ready to stick in the oven or microwave.

Forget thoughts of boring ready-meals though; the 50+ dishes are colourful, creative, and delicious. Think black bean and broccoli udon noodles, BBQ jackfruit burrito bowl, rainbow falafel mezze, and rigatoni bolognese.

You can order meals for one person (which is pretty rare when it comes to meal delivery boxes) and have the option to add side dishes (e.g. truffle cauliflower cheese), breakfasts (e.g. coconut and berry chia pot) as well as treats (e.g. sticky banoffee pudding).

Another perk is that the packaging is fully recyclable, and you can send it all back to AllPlants for free. The company’s commitment to sustainability is clear, and if you provide them with feedback, they’ll plant a tree on your behalf.

You can choose six meals to receive each week or month, and prices start from around £4.50 a serving.

5. Mindful Chef

Another great option for the health conscious among us is Mindful Chef, which is apparently the UK’s highest-rated meal box.

If you’re looking to enjoy light and healthy meals, as well as purchase from a company with impressive credentials when it comes to ethics and sustainability, then you can’t go wrong. Mindful Chef is a registered B-Corp company, carbon-neutral, and an official partner to the British Heart Foundation – plus, for every meal bought, they donate one to a child in poverty.

Your ingredients come neatly packed in brown paper bags, and while these meals require a little bit of prep (e.g vegetables are whole and not pre-chopped), they’re perfectly measured and ready to go.

The food is all gluten-free and dairy-free and includes dishes like Mexican rubbed salmon with coconut and lime rice, Cambodian amok curry, chicken huevos rancheros with avocado and tomato salsa, and tofu and roasted veg quinoa. There are plenty of veggie and vegan options, and if you’re really pushed for time, you can even choose from their selection of frozen ready meals, too.

Meals can be for one, two, or four people, and cost from around £5.50 per portion.

6. Pasta Evangelists

If you love pasta and want to be able to tuck into a delicious fresh pasta meal within minutes, then Pasta Evangelists might be just what you’re looking for. What’s great about this meal box is that it’s slim enough to fit through your letterbox, meaning you don’t have to worry about being home – and getting artisan pasta delivered through your letterbox is always something to look forward to.

All the fresh pasta is made by Italian chefs, and the sauce is made using the finest Italian produce, so if you’re looking for authenticity, you’ll definitely get it with Pasta Evangelists.

There are 15 recipes to choose from each week, and these are definitely not your standard spag bol style dishes. Recipes include sea bass, lemon and mascarpone ravioli, lasagne rustica with slow-cooked beef shin ragu, and black truffle and burrata triangoli.

Though most of the pasta is made with egg, there are fully plant-based alternatives like orecchiette with pesto and a pistachio crumb, or calamarata with caramelised roasted parsnips and tahini dressing.

Though this isn’t a meal box that is ideal for everyday use, it works well as a treat – from £7 per portion for a pasta dish.

7. Gousto

Another big-name meal box is Gousto – which might just be the most versatile meal delivery service on the market. While there aren’t meals for one, there are meals for two people and families, and the precise measurements of ingredients mean there’s never any food waste.

There are different categories to choose from too, from fancy fine dining recipes to quick classics, and all ingredients arrive pre-packaged and pre-sliced, which keeps the cooking and prep to a minimum (although of course, it does result in extra packaging).

There are over 60 dishes to choose from – from global cuisine to healthy options approved by Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) himself. Meat dishes include smoky chicken and mushroom linguine, fish dishes include haddock and leek risotto, and veggie dishes include paprika paneer with tomato and coconut dal.

Plus, Gousto has also just launched a new plant-based range that includes dishes like crispy teriyaki tofu with basmati rice and sesame broccoli, and Cajan mushroom burger with red cabbage slaw, so there really is something for everyone here.

Gousto is one of the cheaper meal boxes on the market, and meals start from £2.98 per serving.

8. Kurami

If you live in London and are looking for health-boosting meal boxes for one person, you might want to check out one of the newest food delivery services, Kurami.

This is a daily delivery box containing breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks. You can choose from the signature meal plan (totalling 1,600 calories per day), or, if you want to lose weight, the calorie-controlled meal plan (totalling 1,300 calories per day).

With all meals, there’s a focus on gut health, and none of the dishes contains gluten, dairy, or refined sugars. Compared to the other companies, which feel family-friendly, Kurami feels like a more stylish service, with more luxurious (though still very healthy) meals.

Breakfast dishes include berry smoothie bowls topped with seeds, lunch might be a Mediterranean cauliflower salad or aubergine parmigiana, and dinner could be turkey and quinoa meatballs with rice and cauliflower – and you even get some decadent chocolate truffles as a treat.

Two days is the minimum sign-up, and costs start from £39.40, so it’s definitely not cheap. But if you’re not worried about cost and are looking for healthy, sophisticated meals that can help boost your gut health, Kurami might be for you.

Final thoughts…

The great thing about meal boxes is that there really is one to suit everyone. Whether you’re an omnivore, a veggie, a vegan, or a coeliac, and whether you want a meal box just twice a week or three times a day, you’re sure to find a delivery service that suits you and your budget.

While traditionally meal boxes were mostly for two people, these days there are several that have excellent options for one – and even if they don’t, having leftovers to pick at that next day is usually a perk anyway.

Plus, with many of the most popular boxes being sustainable, recyclable, carbon-neutral, and also helping to make sure there’s zero food waste – trying out a service can actually be a great way to save money, as well as help protect our planet.