The best food subscription boxes to save you time in the kitchen

The best food subscription boxes to save you time in the kitchen

by Sophie Knight |
Updated on

Food subscription boxes aren't news; you’ve probably heard about them by now. These boxes are designed to help you cook from fresh more often, and with more imagination – but are especially aimed at those of us (parents) who are time-poor.

When it's dinnertime and you don't have a clue what to cook, and you don't want to order a takeaway, these boxes can be real lifesavers. They'll save you time and energy, and you’ll learn loads of new recipes. Each box includes all the ingredients you need for each recipe, so you don’t need to worry about forgetting that one thing off your shopping list.

You can cancel your subscription at any time, so it’s worth signing up and trying them out without any commitments. If you haven't tried them yet but are thinking about it, we’ve selected six of the best meal subscription boxes to try.

With free nationwide delivery, Mindful Chef gives you healthy, delicious recipe boxes, that can be personalised for one, two, or four people. Each meal costs £4, and you can choose from 16 healthy recipes weekly. All of them are gluten-free with no refined carbs. They also have frozen meals to sell at the moment, which is great if you don’t have time to cook from scratch. Mindful Chef was the first company to create a vegan meal subs box.

Gousto has a much bigger selection of recipes, with 40 to choose from each week, meaning your family won't get bored of the same meals night after night. They also deliver every day, which is really useful. Get meals for two or four people with high-quality ingredients. The meals range from £2.98 to £6.25 per meal; it gets cheaper the more meals you order per week.

Hello Fresh has been all over social media lately, so you might have seen a video or two on YouTube about the brand. Hello Fresh's boxes have all the good qualities excellent meal subscription boxes should have: exciting recipes, fresh ingredients, and free delivery.

Tester Sophie Knight, mum to Eli (who's 4) and Matilda (who's 1), said: "I received my first Hello Fresh box last week with three meals in it - I didn't want to commit too much too soon. I can say I'm already a convert, though; and I'm really surprised, as I thought it would be a waste of money and I could do better doing the shopping myself. But actually, the price is really good and pretty on par with how much I'd spend at the supermarket. The recipes are delicious, and it's just such a massive time saver - even if I only got this for three meals a week, it would save me so much time shopping and prepping. The food was all top-notch condition and fresh, all packaged up separately so when it comes to cooking it's all there ready. I'm pleasantly and happily surprised at how good this is."

Starts from £5 per meal, but depending how many meals you have per week, and for how many people, it varies and can work out at £3.44 per meal.

Pickle and Squash meal subscription box
Pickle and Squash meal subscription box
Pickle and Squash
Price: £45 per fortnight

Pickle & Squash is a new meal subscription box, started by a couple of mums - Laura and Alice - whose mission is “to make mealtimes fun and stress free for families with delicious and nutritionally balanced meal kits that are designed for the whole family, including weaning babies.”
The boxes cost £45 for three meals; you get one box per fortnight. This works out at £15 per meal, and each recipe makes enough for two adults and two little ones, or two adults and a baby, plus three baby portions for the freezer. At first glance it sounds costly, but when you price it out it is pretty much on par with other meal subscription boxes.

Tester Sophie Knight, mum to Eli (who's 4) and Matilda (who's 1), said: "Why did I like this box over others? The meals are very family friendly, without resorting to chips; the recipes are healthy and fresh, and all the ingredients are top quality. The packaging was minimal and recyclable. I really liked the additional weaning advice and ideas for getting your little ones involved with cooking; you can tell this is a family-oriented brand.The recipes I tried were: Spinach Pesto Radiatori with Tomato Bruschetta - a great win with our toddler who loved the bruschetta, and I don’t know why I’ve not tried that before; Prok Larb Lettuce Wraps with Sticky Rice; and Butternut and Cannelinni Gratin. Each was delicious and the portion sizes were great, although I did add a bit more broccoli to one and extra bread for the bruschetta."

At the moment you can choose between Meat/Fish/Veg, Vegetarian, and Dairy Free; the recipes are fixed, unlike other subscriptions where you can choose between a selection. You can get 30% off your first box if you subscribe to the mailing list.

As the name says, these boxes make cooking very simple with easy recipes that range from 15 to 20 minutes to get ready. You can easily fit them into your day, even in the crazy days of a newborn. You can try more than 100 recipes from global cuisines, with the option for two, three, four, or more people. The only downside is that you don't receive all the ingredients, so you still need to go to the supermarket to get some essentials.

Balance Box delivers all over the UK, and it's a perfect option if you are trying to lose some weight. After having a baby, it can be difficult to fit in healthy eating with everything else that’s happening; Balance Box can help you enjoy healthy meals when time and energy isn’t on your side. It's pricey, but you get all your meals for the day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. All the meals are already cooked and delivered fresh at your doorstep.

Easy and healthy snack ideas for toddlers

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