8 Ideas for a Modern Desert Garden

A low-water garden doesn’t have to look stark



1 of 7 Methodology

Overall Favorite: Methodology

Breakfast from $11.99; lunch/dinner from $12.99; delivery $9.95

Methodology is my favorite of the bunch for a number of reasons. The food is innovative, clean, and truly delicious (I especially loved the Beetroot Walnut Pesto Pasta, the Grass-Fed Teriyaki Rib Eye, and the Cherry Chia Overnight Oats). The meal kit separates each vegetable, protein, and starch into their own reusable container, which means you can mix and match components, and the food doesn’t get soggy, which was an issue with some of the other brands. Methodology is also a standout in terms of kitchen waste--all of the food comes in reusable glass containers. This is one of the higher-priced options, but when you consider the convenience and quality of the food, it’s a fantastic pick for someone with room in their budget.

Green Chef

2 of 7 Green Chef

For Versatile Options: Green Chef

2-person plan from $11.99; family plan from $10.99; delivery $6.99

Green Chef prides themselves on the quality of their ingredients, and I’d have to agree that they deliver on that promise. They are a GMO-free, USDA-certified organic meal kit company that works closely with farmers and food manufacturers to invest in sustainable food systems. The produce was surprisingly fresh and even the prepared meal components, like sauces and marinades, were simple and clean. The weekly meal kit plan provides recipes with all of the prepped ingredients, down to the spices. A huge benefit: the kit comes in several diet-friendly options--including keto, paleo, omnivore, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and pescaterian--allowing for a variety of nutritional accommodations or for an omnivore like me to branch out and try eating vegan for a week. Case in point: I especially loved the Sweet Potato & Kale Tacos.


3 of 7 Territory

For Vegetarians (or the Veggie-Curious): Territory

Boost (single serving) $10.95/meal; standard $13.95/meal; delivery $7.95


Territory offers healthy and delicious meals at a lower price point than many of their competitors. Each week, subscribers select up to 10 meals for the week from a diverse menu that includes breakfast and lunch/dinner. There are options for a range of dietary needs, including Whole30, paleo, and new and expecting moms (the latter of which isn’t a commonly seen category). As part of my quest to eat better, I wanted to focus on incorporating more plant-based meals into my weekly rotation. I was particularly pleased with Territory’s vegetarian options, including the Black Bean & Quinoa Burger with Mint Dressing and Sweet Potato Fries (and that’s saying a lot for this traditional burger lover!), and the Chickpea & Quinoa Fritters with Mint Dressing and Roasted Beet Salad (super savory and clean tasting).


4 of 7 Thistle

For Healthy Twists on Comfort Food: Thistle

3-day plan from $11 (vegan) or $13 (meat); 5-day plan from $10 (vegan) or $12 (meat); free delivery

Thistle delivers plant-based, feel-good meals, snacks, and juices. All meals, which include breakfast, lunch, and dinner, are gluten- and dairy-free and use noticeably high-quality ingredients. Salads are innovative and thoughtful, while dinners and snacks satisfy comfort food cravings. I inhaled their Miso Ramen Noodle Salad (which was a hearty yet healthy alternative to traditional pork-based ramen) and dug the Chipotle Black Bean Hummus with Crudités (a wholesome upgrade to chips and dip). And when my sweet tooth wore on me, I appreciated having some guilt-free dessert options, like Pistachio-Avocado Pudding.


5 of 7 HelloFresh

For Great Value: Hello Fresh

From $5.99/serving; shipping $5.99


For those of us who are constantly plagued by uncertainty about what to cook, HelloFresh is a great option. When you subscribe to HelloFresh, you receive up to four new recipes and ingredients each week. It comes in three affordable options: Veggie (plant-based proteins, grains, and seasonal produce), Classic (a wide variety of meat, fish, and seasonal produce), and Family (quick and easy meals for the whole family). Everything is portioned for couples and families, but single people will enjoy it, too (hurray for leftovers!). My husband and I chose the Classic plan, and while the recipes weren’t the healthiest among the services we tried out, the dishes had a broad appeal (think pasta, burrito bowl, and burger) and were certainly tasty. My favorite was the Chicken Fajitas, not only a super-tasty meal but also generously portioned enough to last us two nights--earning bonus points for value.

Chef Meal Kits

6 of 7 Chef Meal Kits

For Channeling a Chef: Chef Meal Kits

From $15; free delivery

Chef Meal Kits is a fantastic option for the home cook who wants to cook like a restaurant chef, via the convenience of a delivery service. Each meal kit includes the ingredients and directions to make beloved dishes from some of the country’s top eateries. You can filter recipes by cuisine, dietary restrictions (from vegetarian to halal), and protein, but the most fun way to refine results is by restaurant (is there anything better than finding a hometown favorite among the list?). My husband and I tend to have different taste, but the recipes we tried satisfied us both, from vegan risotto to carnitas tacos.


7 of 7 Fresh-N-Lean

For Healthy Convenience: Fresh N’ Lean

Plant-based meals from $9.33; protein and paleo from $12.33; free delivery

Fresh-N-Lean offers affordable, vacuum-sealed meals that appeal to calorie-conscious people on the go. The choices, like the dishes themselves, are simple: you can choose from protein, paleo, or two types of plant-based menus (standard or low-cal/low-carb). In each plan, select prepared breakfasts, as well as a mix-and-match selection of proteins, grains, and veggies. The options are healthful and clean, if not the most on-trend or inspired--but by providing a reasonable amount of calories in a decent portion, this service gets the job done.