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The Best Affordable Meal-Kit Services for Busy Women

Martha & Marley Spoon

Getting to the grocery store after work can be a hassle. It's not only time-consuming, but it's annoying— especially when everyone else in the neighborhood decided to do the same thing, making the mile-long lines even longer.

Instead of spending the remainder of your night aimlessly wandering down the aisles of the grocery store, trying to remember what ingredients you'll need to make an actual meal worth eating, opt for a meal-kit service.

Best Meal-Kit Delivery Service

A "meal kit" is exactly what it sounds like — pre-portioned ingredients to make a home-cooked meal you'd be proud of, delivered to your doorstep in a tiny cardboard box.

We know it sounds too good to be true, but meal kits are the real deal. To prove that we really know what we're talking about, we decided to try a few meal-kit services out for ourselves. Here are a few of the best (and most affordable) meal kits available.

Dinnerly

Dinnerly (created by Martha & Marley Spoon is the first-ever subscription meal-kit service to offer meals for just $5 per serving. The good news? They're cheap and delicious! Dinnerly offers customers the option between two "picky-eater approved" servings — a box of just enough ingredients fit for a couple or a box big enough to feed a family of four.

Because we wanted to see what Dinnerly was really about, we tried out the four-person box, which included pre-packaged ingredients as well as downloadable recipes for three meals: BBQ Beef Sandwiches with Oven Fries, Glazed Turkey Meatloaf with Peas and Potatoes, and Veggie Lo Mein.

Dinnerly changes its menu weekly, so you'll never have to worry about getting tired of eating the same thing over and over again. And you definitely don't have to be a master chef to cook what they send. The recipes go step-by-step and are very easy to follow.

Overall, we give Dinnerly an A+ when it comes to getting a meal on the table. and for just $5? We're not complaining!

Diet-to-Go

Unlike Dinnerly, Diet-to-Go doesn't send ingredients; DTG sends the whole meal ready to nuke in the microwave. Another major upside is that these meals are designed to help you and your family lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle. The downside? DTG is a little bit pricer than Dinnerly — but after trying the food, we think the extra cost is worth it. Plus, you don't have to cook anything! Just toss it in the microwave and you're good to go.

DTG offers customers a variety of menu choices, from the "Balance" menu (which includes vegetarian, heart-healthy, calorie-controlled options) to "Carb 30," which includes tons of carb-restricted meals. Because we like meat, we chose to go for the latter plan, which came with breakfast, lunch, and dinners including a veggie and cheese omelet, spinach quiche, a chicken pesto cheddar melt, turkey steak in lemon cream sauce, and blackened salmon. The price of each menu varies, of course — but for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can't beat it.

DTG is also super customizable when it comes to picking and choosing the meals you do and do not want. So if you're trying to lose weight or eat healthier, DTG is a smart way to go.

Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot is a plant-based meal-kit service. Now, wait a second — before you exit out of this tab, let us just be the first to tell you: Plant-based foods (especially when you've got the recipes and ingredients right in front of you) are pretty tasty.

Like Dinnerly, Purple Carrot allows customers to choose between different serving sizes — a box made for two ($12 per plate) or a box made for four ($10 per plate). The boxes come with pre-packaged ingredients and easy-to-read recipe cards. Of the three we received, the Acorn Squash Ramen with Buckwheat Noodles and Togarashi tasted the best.

If you don't mind giving up eating meat a few weeks at a time, or even just alternating weeks, then we think the Purple Carrot meal kit is the meal kit for you.

After doing a little research, and trying out everything we could get our hands on, we think meal kits may just be the dinner option of the future. Or actually, forget the future — we think we're going to make meal kits the dinner option of the NOW!

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