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Fast paced and busy lifestyles all too frequently prize convenience at the expense of nutrition. Today however we are seeing the emergence of low carb home delivery services that offer both convenience and nutrition and at an affordable price. Many people struggle to find the time and energy to prepare nutritious meals with busy schedules. However, as awareness grows about the role our diet plays on our overall well-being, health focused meal delivery services are gaining momentum. If you're following a low-carb diet, it can be difficult to stick with it. Choosing the right kind and amount of carbs is important, especially since carbohydrates serve as your body's main energy source.
Meal delivery services can be a great solution for putting delicious high protein, low-carb meals on the table in no time. "These services have evolved over the years to meet the ever-changing demands of home cooks and accommodate different dietary preferences and lifestyles," says Registered Dietitian Stefani Sassos, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab. "You can choose from traditional meal kits to fully prepared meals, all of which offer options like high protein choices, keto-friendly meals and more."
The best low carb meal delivery services do the carb counting for you, but our experts say that just because you're reducing your overall carbohydrate intake doesn't mean it's automatically a healthy choice. Make sure to incorporate a variety of vegetables, lower sugar fruits, whole grains and lean proteins such as fish, chicken, turkey and whole forms of soy.
To find the best meal delivery services, including low-carb ones, the Good Housekeeping Institute's food and nutrition experts conducted an extensive review of over 40 meal delivery services with more than 280 home chefs. Over the course of three months, our experts and testers evaluated each service, including traditional meal kits, semi-prepared and ready-to-eat options. We evaluated each on: low-carb meal variety, nutrition, pricing, serving size, ingredients and availability. Below, we've rounded up the top-tested low-carb options.
When it comes to low-carb diets, Green Chef stands out as our top choice for individuals committed to a healthy diet. It was the pioneer with the first keto meal kit, and now offers multiple low-carb options. This company is USDA certified organic and focused on sustainability. The chef-crafted meals are easy to prepare and can be cooked in 30 minutes or less taking the guess work out of adhering to a low carb diet.
How it works: Choose to feed two, four or six people, and pick three or four meals per week. Create your box by selecting the Low carb option, some of the Fast & Fit and Keto meals will also fall into the low-carb category. You can mix meals from any category and swap proteins. Next step is to choose your box size or however many people will be eating, and whether you prefer three or four meals each week. Once you choose your dietary preference, pre-measured ingredients, including recipes, are delivered weekly. Low-carb options include meals such as Barramundi with mango salsa, cabbage slaw and almonds and spicy Southwest Turkey soup.
Lab lowdown: Our testers gave this service high scores for quality ingredients, generous portion size, freshness and variety of meals and recipes. “I really liked the portion size of the meals. The flavor creativity was great,” reported one tester. Other testers commented that the recipes were very easy to follow with clear instructions and that they were able to try dishes they would normally not prepare at home
Fresh N Lean
Fresh N Lean was founded by brother and sister, and co-CEO's Laureen and Thomas Asseo in 2010 to help their father who was experiencing health issues. The company self reports as being the #1 ready-to-eat, organic meal delivery service. Fresh N Lean sources most ingredients from a local farm in California and use grass-fed, free-range and cage-free animal proteins. Their low-carb meals are not only delicious but also portion-controlled single serving meals that can be heated in two-three minutes. Their menu features low-carb vegan options, as well as keto, paleo and Whole30 approved menus, which all contain low net carb options.
How it works: Start by choosing your plan or pick from the a la carte options. Add the number of meals you would like, and then pick 5- or 7-day delivery. You can select up to three ingredients to exclude from your meal plan including cilantro, elk and curry. All meals are delivered on Friday. Low-carb menu options include: Mediterranean salmon, Spinach pesto with navy bean bowl, roasted vegetables with cilantro cream. Plus, there are limited breakfast items such as blueberry chia pudding.
Lab lowdown: Our testers loved the convenience of meals and that everything just needed to be quickly re-heated, no additional preparation was necessary just heat and serve. They also loved the variety of meal plan choices. One tester remarked on the variety that they experienced along with surprises that they found "delightful." Another tester comments that the "food was not heavily seasoned, so it allowed for personal tastes.” One negative is that some testers had difficulty opening the packaging after it was heated.
Home Chef portrays itself on its website to be the meal-kit company with the highest rate of customer satisfaction. When it comes to simplifying low carb meal planning without sacrificing variety and flavor they score big points. Their offerings are available online and at more than 2,000 Kroger grocery stores nationwide. Home Chef offers both prepared or low-prep meals and also pre-portioned ingredients that you can put together yourself at home.
How it works: Start by choosing pre-portioned ingredients or the low to no-prep meals. Next step you choose carb-conscious meals. You can also indicate foods you may want to avoid, including items like mushrooms or pork. The final step includes how many people you’re cooking for and how many recipes you would like to receive. Low-carb options include meals including: grilled pork chop with Dijon cream, chicken salsa verde bowl and Tex-mex turkey taco salad.
Lab lowdown: Our testers liked that meals required minimal prep-time or were easy to prepare with pre-portioned ingredients. Tester comments included that the portions were generous for two and the quick and easy preparation made it great for dinner. One tester said that “These are a perfect variety to keep everyone satisfied and satiated.” Our nutrition pros appreciate the freshness of ingredients.
With easy-to-follow recipes and pre-portioned ingredients as well as ready-to-eat meals, Sunbasket simplifies the enjoyment of healthy low-carb meals. Their menu features a diverse range of dietary options including carb-conscious, which contains meals with 25-35g net carbs, and diabetic-friendly with 20-70 grams or less of carbs, (recipes are approved by the American Diabetic Association). Both plans incorporate organic, seasonal and sustainable ingredients, healthy fats and more than 10 grams of protein per serving. All meals are created using with a team of culinary chefs and registered dietitians, using organic ingredients.
How it works: Start by selecting meal kits or fresh & ready meals. Choose four or more servings from the weekly menu, meal kits offer two or four servings and fresh and ready are available in single servings. Low-carb menu options include Thai turkey lettuce wraps, Vietnamese shaking beef with muoi tieu chanh sauce, Green goddess steak salad with roasted carrots.
Lab lowdown: Our testers liked that meals are customizable with one commenting “there were a great variety of options for my week based on the amount of time I had each day.” Another tester comments included that the portions were generous, and ingredients were fresh and creative. A third tester commented, “My family does low-carb a few days a week and this kit was customizable for our specific dietary needs.”
Factor differentiates itself by providing fresh, not frozen, ready-to-eat, prepared meals that are designed by registered dietitians and chefs. Factor uses high quality and nutrient dense ingredients to create low-carb satisfying meals that are GMO-free and refined sugar free. This service offers a diverse variety of dietary preferences including Calorie Conscious and Keto, weekly low-carb selections. Each meal is individually portioned eliminating the hassle of meal prep and planning.
How it works: With a menu of weekly rotating meals, you start by choosing dietary preference, then select how many meals per week you would like to receive. Factor also offers 20-minute free nutrition consultations to help you select the best meals for your individual tastes and needs. Choose between 4-18 meals per week. Some breakfast options can provide two lighter breakfasts. Popular menu options include: Creamy Parmesan Chicken with Tomatoes and Broccoli and Roasted Red Chili Mahi Mahi.
Lab lowdown: Our testers loved the convenience factors, commenting that the meals made a busy life easier “especially when don’t always have time to cook a meal.” Other testers commented on the freshness of ingredients and how well-balanced the meals were. Our nutrition pros appreciate that subscribers were able to schedule a consult with a registered dietitian.
Territory Foods uses sustainably and locally sourced ingredients to offer fresh, nutritious and convenient individually packaged meals. Their menu presents a wide range of rotating options that can be customizable to meet individual dietary needs including specific meals dedicated to a low-carb lifestyle.
How it works: Territory delivers to select locations across the nation, with an expanding range for the future — enter your zip code before you get started to see if delivery is available to your area. Meals are delivered twice weekly, and you can order as many as 12 meals for each delivery date. Customers can also forego a subscription and enjoy as few as three meals in one order. There is a rotating weekly menu of more than 50 low carb meals per week to choose from. Favorite menu items include Lemongrass Chicken with Sesame Green Beans, Lemon Dill Chicken with Garlic Spinach and Curried Cauliflower Mash, and Buffalo-Style Chicken Salad over Mixed Greens.
Lab results: Our testers and experts favored the convenience of these ready-to-eat meals and the creative menu options. Testers commented favorably on the generous portion sizes. Our nutrition pros appreciate that a full breakdown of macronutrients for every meal is available on the company's website.
Trifecta has a distinct sporting association, highlighting athletes and fitness enthusiast as their primary audience. This plan also stands out for offering a personalized app and a community support concept. Their meal plans are designed to support the nutritional goals of an active and sporting lifestyle. Trifectas menus are registered dietitian and chef-driven. Ingredients are organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, sustainable and locally sourced. Their vacuum0-sealed meals provide ready-to-eat dining solutions.
How it works: Trifecta offers multiple meal plans including Paleo, Whole30, keto, vegan or vegetarian. The meals on the Keto meal plan contain 10 g or less of net carbohydrates with the average total carb count at 12.5 g and an average of 2.5 g of dietary fiber in each meal. You can choose five to 14 entrées per week with the option to add on seven breakfasts. There are 10 to 14 new recipes available each week. Orders are customizable by opting to exclude up to two ingredients including beef, pork, tree nuts, and mushrooms among others. Popular keto menu choices include Beanless Chili Con Carne and Grilled Salmon with Pesto. Meals can last in your fridge for six to 10 days or in the freezer for up to three months.
Lab results: Testers loved that the meals were healthy, convenient and fresh tasting. Our nutrition experts gave high scores to the locally sourced, organic ingredients and that the meals are developed by a team of dietitians, chefs and doctors to create nutrient-dense meals.
Pete's Real Food
Pete's Real Food has its origins in the paleo philosophy of eating: all entrees are free of gluten, dairy, soy and added sugar. All of Pete's Real Food meals are pre-cooked and arrive frozen to be easily reheated at home. The menu includes many low-carb options that contain 25 or fewer grams of carbs per serving.
How it works: Meals are delivered weekly on Friday, and you can order five to 17 meals, including breakfast, lunch and dinner options. For those who are not totally committed to a low-carb diet, mixing and matching is allowed. For example you can choose from Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Keto and auto-immune protocol (AIP) options. Portion sizes vary according to diet. Users can also choose add-ons such as double proteins or sides like bone broth. Menus change seasonally and rotate weekly. Popular low carb meals include: Ground Beef Chili with Kale and Spaghetti Squash and Dill Roasted Chicken With Sauteed Broccoli And Roasted Yams.
Lab results: These chef-driven meals scored big points with our nutrition experts for using fresh ingredients and making everything from scratch weekly. Testers enjoyed avoiding the mess of additional preparation, with one commenting this pick is "great for busy people. Food was tasty and portions were large. Packaged nicely."
How we test meal delivery services
The nutrition experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute test a broad range of food products — from healthy snacks and supplements to food subscription boxes — to find those that offer high quality, performance, flavor, nutrition and more.
When we test meal delivery services, we assess and prepare meals from each brand. For this test, we evaluated over 40 different meal delivery services, ranging from fully prepared options to traditional kits that come with pre-measured ingredients and a follow-along recipe card. We also enlisted more than 280 at-home testers across the nation to get feedback from a variety of regions and lifestyles.
We tested the services over the course of three months. For each service, we tried a total of 15 or more meals across our experts and testers. When making our choices, we weighed Lab and tester feedback on nutrition, overall satisfaction, food quality, variety, cost, recycling efforts and availability.
What to look for when selecting the best low carb meal delivery service
Each of the companies reviewed for this story, differentiates itself in a unique way. Some are sports oriented, some are Paleo and some are farm-to-table. Each has a distinctive difference which makes it easier to choose the right one for you. That should be a starting point followed by considerations listed below:
✔️ Type: Are you looking for a traditional meal kit where you follow a recipe and cook all of the food yourself, or do you need meals that are fully prepared and can be simply heated up or even eaten straight from the container? There are also options that fall in between: Food is partially prepped and requires minimal extra work to get a balanced meal on the table quickly.
✔️ Servings: Take into consideration if you are cooking for multiple people on a low-carb diet, or do you prefer individual portions? Many services are geared toward two to four servings per meal, but some are packaged as single servings and some go as high as six servings per recipe and can be a good choice for a larger group.
✔️ Fresh or frozen: Although many of our choices gravitate towards fresh services, our nutrition pros say it's smart to consider frozen options too. Frozen meals can help you avoid waste, whereas fresh options can spoil if not eaten immediately. Most services allow you to skip a week and adjust your plan along the way, which can be a strategy to help keep costs down if you can't use the food quickly.
✔️ Dietary preferences: If you have any special dietary preferences and restrictions in addition to low-carb, such as gluten-free or low-calorie, you'll want to make sure that the service you choose offers enough variety to meet your individual needs. Some services offer many more choices per week than others. Certain services will let you customize further and swap out items you may not want, which can be beneficial.
✔️ Pricing: Keep in mind that with most services the cost per serving tends to go down as you sign up for more meals or servings. You'll typically be able to check the price ahead of ordering, so you can see how much it will cost for your specific needs and servings per week. Companies will frequently give you a discount on the first box and additional discounts if you are a first responder or in the military. And if you know a friend or family member who is using the service, you may both get a discount for the referral.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
The Good Housekeeping Institute provides expert reviews of meal delivery services and reviews products designed for a variety of dietary lifestyles.
Amy Fischer is a registered dietitian nutritionist with an M.S. in clinical nutrition from New York University and a B.A. in journalism from Miami University of Ohio. Prior to Good Housekeeping, she worked at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City as a cardiac transplant dietitian. She has authored numerous chapters in clinical nutrition textbooks and has also worked in public relations and marketing for food company start-ups. She has written for Good Housekeeping about other meal delivery services, including best cheap meal delivery services, best vegan meal delivery services, and best seafood delivery services.
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