Dinner Is Served: Meal Delivery Services for Busy Chicago Families

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Hey, Chicago! Do we have a list for you! We’re easing back into our back-to-school routines, which means dinners out will become few and far between. That being said, sometimes mealtime creativity is difficult to conjure and meal-planning fatigue creeps in. Set yourself up for stress-free, inspired meals with one of these Chicago meal delivery services. From heat-and-eat to kits with all the ingredients you need to cook the meal yourself, there’s an option for everyone. Get cooking!

Sun Basket

Sunbasket, a healthy meal delivery service, offers a single portion size of their subscriber-favorite Fresh & Ready meals perfect for ready-to-heat lunch with no waste or extra groceries and leftovers. Simply heat them in the microwave or oven and they're ready in as little as 6 minutes. 

Online: Sunbasket.com

HelloFresh

HelloFresh is a pretty great option for families that like to serve home-cooked meals, but don't have time (or desire) for grocery shopping. You pick the size and number of meals and receive a weekly delivery on your chosen day of the week. Each meal's ingredients come individually packaged in brown paper bags with easy-to-follow recipe cards.  

Note: They have a well-rounded Veggie Meal plan for families that like to pass on meat and fish. 

Online: hellofresh.com

Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon

This cook-at-home food delivery service partnered with Martha Stewart to help harried families discover their inner Martha. The menu features 22 choices every week and the website tags meals as family-friendly, under-30 minutes, gluten-free and other categories. Favorites include: chicken fajita bowl, bacon-wrapped skillet meatloaf and lemon-brown butter salmon. The website provides big, colorful step-by-step photos for careless cooks and kids who want to help. 

Online: marleyspoon.com

photo: iStock

Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot brings you plant-forward meals that are good for you and good for the planet. Choose from Quick & EasyHigh-ProteinGluten-Free or Chef’s Choice dinners and customize your choices to your liking. All meals are meat-free and easy to prepare. You can add on breakfast, lunch and snack items to get you through the week. Skip or cancel any time. 

Online: purplecarrot.com

photo: Home Chef

Home Chef

Versatility is what makes Home Chef stand out in the meal delivery crowd. You can choose to select your meals ahead of time, or for those that prefer to skip the planning phase, wing it and grab a meal to go at Mariano’s. Every kit you order from Home Chef has all the ingredients you need to make a simple delicious meal with options that take 30 minutes or less, 15 minutes or less or lunch kits that can be assembled in 5 minutes. You can also customize your protein in online orders and added slow cooker and carb and calorie-conscious meals.

Online: homechef.com

Gobble

Say goodbye to grocery shopping, meal planning and prep, and all that cleanup! Gobble shops, chops and delivers gourmet three-step recipes for one-pan cooking with zero prep required. How about picky eaters? Try Pan-Seared Sirloin Steak with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes & Béarnaise Sauce or Crispy Chicken Sandwich & Napa Cabbage Slaw with Caraway Vinaigrette. What have you got to lose when it's just a one-pan cleanup?

Online: gobble.com

Freshly

Freshly is a weekly subscription service delivering fresh (not frozen), chef-cooked meals that can be heated and served in three minutes. Unlike meal kits, all you need is a microwave, fork and plate (optional!) to get a satisfying lunch or dinner on the table. Think “nutritionist meets personal chef” vs. TV dinner when it comes to quality and flavor. 

With a food philosophy centered on less sugar, less processed and more nutrients, the menu features better-for-you versions of comfort foods with smart ingredient swaps. For example, Chicken Parm is coated in almond flour vs. bread crumbs and topped with marinara sauce sweetened with honey instead of refined sugars; Mac and Cheese is made with brown rice pasta and cheesy sauce blended with a purée of cauliflower and butternut squash; and Turkey Meatballs are packed with mushrooms and served over zoodles for a lower-carb alternative to pasta.

Online: Freshly.com

Blue Apron

Blue Apron has been part of the meal delivery game for a long time and their expertise shows. Choose among two-serving, four-serving, wellness and vegetarian menus to pick the options that fit your family's needs. We love that the meals typically take 40 minutes or less and include kid-friendly ingredients like baked chicken and pasta while exposing kids to different flavors like curry and chile-lime. With super easy-to-follow recipes, you can definitely get the kids involved in the cooking process. 

Online: blueapron.com

photo: iStock

Green Chef

Healthy eating at home is the name of the game with Green Chef. Choose from three plans: Keto + Paleo, Balanced Living and Plant-Powered. Set up your deliveries to come weekly or less frequently if you prefer. Menus change every week and you'll enjoy options like Steak & Cheddar Melts, Salmon with Creamy Chimichurri, and Creamy Baked Penne Pasta.

Online: greenchef.com

photo: Dinnerly

Dinnerly

If your goal is to get a wholesome, easy meal on the table for your family, then Dinnerly is the meal delivery option for you. Each week Dinnerly customers choose from over a dozen options which change each week. The choices are totally kid-friendly with options like sweet and sour Swedish meatballs, turkey burgers and enchiladas. Each meal has only five prep steps and takes less than 30 minutes to get on the table, perfect for rushed weeknight dinners. Not interested in getting your box this week? No problem! You can skip any time. 

Online: dinnerly.com

Veestro

How about 100% plant-based, organic, non-GMO, chef-prepared entrees, soups, and juices that just show up at your front door whenever you want them to? Then look no further than this healthy bunch.

There are no, zero, zilch animal products of any kind, here, ever! Chick'n Nuggets with chipotle dipping sauce complete with veganaise will do the trick every time for your kiddos and no one will miss the meat. Veestro food is available a la carte, in full-on Meal Packs, and they also carry a surprisingly delicious weight loss menu plan. As with most vegetarian cuisine: most meals have nuts in them so be careful with a nut allergy, but all meals are completely dairy-free and don't contain other allergens.

Online: veestro.com

Mosaic

Mosaic is a plant-based, clean-label meal delivery service looking to make wholesome eating more accessible. Their ready-to-heat oat and veggie bowls are cooked in a real kitchen with real ingredients, then frozen for convenience and delivered to your door. You'll have a satisfying meal packed with at least 10g of plant-based protein in just a few minutes. With 30 inventive meals like Jerk Lentils and Plantains with coconut rice and Golden Milk and Blackberry Oats with turmeric, ginger, and almond milk, you'll always have exciting options to choose from. Choose a delivery cadence of every 1, 2 or 4 weeks with the flexibility to switch dates in your account profile. 

Mosaic oat bowls make great grab & go breakfasts and veggie bowls make super convenient and tasty lunches or dinners when you're working or studying from home. And since they're frozen, they're conveniently there for you when you need them! 

Online: mosaicfoods.com

photo: Yumble

Yumble

This meal-delivery service is focused on kids. Carefully sourced fruits and veggies, and perfectly balanced—lunches, dinners and snacks from Yumble are nutritionist-approved and kid-approved, too! Choose your kid's meals for the week and they'll be delivered free to your doorstep. The Bowl of Yays Pasta with veggie marinara and the Mighty Meatballs and Veggie Chili are crowd pleasers for sure. Each box comes with new activities for kids, making mealtime a breeze for you and a joy for them.

Online: yumblekids.com

photo: Fresh Picks

Fresh Picks

Fresh Picks works with area farmers to bring you the freshest organic and sustainable foods in the midwest. They partnered with Cooked to offer prepared meals for lunch or dinner that cater to vegans, vegetarians, kids and families and CITY PRESS Juice to offer cold-pressed juices. Deliveries are made weekly and you can schedule recurring orders or order as needed. 

Online: freshpicks.com

photo: Kitchfix

Kitchfix

If you’re good about meal planning in advance, this is a great solution for you. With Kitchfix, you order a few meals for the week and have them delivered to your home or coordinate curbside pickup at their location in West Town.

These meals come in a variety of sizes and can be real people pleasers. This service is great for the kiddos because they’re cognizant of food allergies for little ones. Tip: Be sure to try their wildly popular granola (it's a great addition to homemade smoothie bowls or to liven up your standard cup of yogurt). 

Online: kitchfix.com

Fresh Midwest

Fresh Midwest is a new fresh food and meal delivery solution providing locally grown produce, precut fruits and veggies, prepared salads, restaurant-quality meats and seafood and chef-inspired meal kits. Under their "Restaurant Made" section, you'll see favorites from Wildfire, Big Bowl and Praire Grass Cafe. This is not a subscription service, so you can order at any time. Just go online, pick your goods and select a delivery window, Mon.-Sat., that works for you.  Delivery is free for purchases over $75. 

Online: freshmidwest.com

photo: Instacart

Instacart

This one has become a busy parent’s dream! This one isn’t meal delivery per se. It's grocery delivery. But, sometimes having someone do the shopping for you is the little time-saving boost you need. See a recipe you want to make while cruising Instagram? Point click and order everything you need (from Mariano’s, Jewel, Costco—just to give a few examples) and have it delivered. If the store is out of something, they will text (or call) and ask how they might be able to replace the item for you.

Pro tip: Some areas have pet store and liquor store delivery.

Online: instacart.com

photo: Tovala

Tovala

For those Chicagoans who crushed on Radish, they were purchased by Tovala, which shares the same goal of making it easy to eat incredibly healthy meals in the comfort of home. This one is a bit different from other services, as it requires the use of a steam oven, which you can order through them. The Tovala convection bakes and broils just like a regular oven, but it also steams, making your proteins juicier and more tender and veggies more flavorful. 

Online: tovala.com

photo: Postmates

Postmates

Slowly expanding from the city to the suburbs, these guys will pretty much bring you anything you want—not only food, liquor as well!

Online: postmates.com

photo: Door Dash

DoorDash

Craving a dish from one of your favorite Chicago restaurants? DoorDash probably delivers from there, from national favorites, like Chipotle, to neighborhood gems you're crushing on. They have “dashers” stationed around the city so when you place your order, they’re there and ready for a speedy delivery.

Online: doordash.com

photo: Nurture Life

Nurture Life

With grocery store shelves sitting empty and schools closed, you could be driven to your wits end planning three square meals for the kids at home. Chicago-based subscription meal service Nurture Life prepares fresh, ready-to-enjoy food options that appeal to kids ages 10 mos.-11 yrs. Each meal focuses on organic produce, antibiotic-free proteins whole grains and can be served up in 2 minutes or less.

Online: nurturelife.com

photo: Spirit Hub

Spirit Hub

Setup a fun spirits tasting with your significant other as a date-night-in idea! Spirit Hub is one of America's legally compliant online marketplaces for uncommon craft spirits from independent distilleries across the country, authorized to deliver straight to IL residents' doors. They've rolled out a Contact Limited Delivery option for the safety of its customers and drivers. With this option, drivers will call/text when they arrive and drop off the order on a customer’s doorstep, in the lobby or other area designated by the customer — ID’s may still need to be provided but the drivers will be aware of the limited contact during the transaction.

Online: spirithub.com

— Maria Chambers & Christa Reed

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Our Favorite New Family Cookbooks

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