Life gets hectic, and sometimes we don’t have the time to grocery shop. Instead of derailing your healthy eating habits or overspending on fast food, there are easier ways to simplify life. Grocery delivery services and meal prep delivery services are one of the best ways to buy nutritious food on a budget.
It might seem unwise to pay to have food delivered to your home. Thankfully, many of the best grocery delivery platforms are reasonably priced. Plus, they save you time, allowing you to focus on other things.
If you’ve considered an online grocery delivery service or meal kit service, but don’t know which to pick, our guide shares several of the best options.
Best Grocery Delivery Services
There are two options in the food delivery space:
- Grocery delivery services
- Meal prep delivery services
Delivery apps are terrific if you prefer buying your groceries in one place. They’re also helpful if you have a specific diet you’re shopping for, or if you need to shop at more than one place.
If you prefer to buy groceries to last a week or more, these local grocery delivery services won’t disappoint.
Instacart is one of my personal favorites when it comes to grocery delivery apps. My family has used Instacart for a little over a year, and we’ve saved over 100 hours on grocery shopping.
Instacart is an online platform that allows you to shop from grocery stores in your area. When you place an order, they assign a personal shopper to select and deliver your items.
You can typically order groceries for same-day drop-off, or schedule them later in the week. Stores vary from city to city, but the stores around me include Costco, Sprouts, Aldi, and Hy-Vee.
The platform operates in over 1,000 cities, so if you’re asking yourself “how can I find grocery delivery near me?” they’re a likely solution.
Instacart has a membership program, but you don’t have to join it to use the service. The key benefit is cheaper delivery costs. The fee costs $149 but offers free deliveries on orders over $35.
If you go without the membership, delivery fees range from $5.99 to $11.99 per order. Instacart charges more if your total order is $35 or less. They don’t honor manufacturer coupons, but many stores allow you to use your loyalty cards.
Instacart does occasionally run deals, including offering free delivery promotions. Read our guide on Instacart alternatives for other choices beyond the services listed below.
Shipt is another online grocery delivery app that works like Instacart. For $14 a month (or $99 for the year) you can receive free delivery on orders $35 and over.
If you go with a lower cost order, Shipt charges $7 for delivery. You must be a member to use Shipt.
Shipt offers a one-hour delivery window for your groceries. You can place an order whenever a store is open, even if they’re open 24 hours.
Like Instacart, Shipt does have slightly higher pricing on all their items. Again, this is because Shipt is offering a service, so they are charging for said service. The price difference isn’t normally much higher than a few cents.
If you’re a huge couponer, Shipt may not be the grocery shopping service for you. They don’t currently offer the option to use coupons.
Unlike Instacart, they also don’t allow the use of store loyalty cards. However, they do offer promotions in their app, and currently, offer two weeks of service for free.
Shipt is available in most areas, and they even make it easy for you to find the stores that deliver near your location. All you have to do is enter your zip code and they’ll let you know if they’re available to deliver.
Amazon Prime members rejoice! If you are in one of the cities that AmazonFresh is available, and if you have an Amazon Prime account, you can use AmazonFresh to get your groceries delivered to your door.
With a monthly fee of $14.95, you can order your groceries online and have them delivered to your door. There is an additional $9.99 delivery fee if you order less than $50 in groceries, so be mindful of that when shopping.
They also do not allow manufacturer coupons.
The fee is in addition to the standard price for Amazon Prime. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can try a 30-day free trial to test the service.
One of the biggest perks to AmazonFresh is that if they are out of stock on your item, they refund you the money you spent. Additionally, they sometimes include a similar item free of charge.
You can expect same-day delivery with AmazonFresh, and worse case is the following morning.
While the selection of groceries on AmazonFresh isn’t as extensive as Instacart or Shipt, you can also order “out of stock” groceries that ship to your house with Prime benefits.
Common examples include items like canned goods, paper towels, and other home items that don’t require refrigeration.
Unfortunately, AmazonFresh is only available in 15 cities. But it is growing, so check back in if they aren’t available in your area yet.
4. Walmart Grocery
Many people are well aware of Walmart Pick-Up, but did you know that they also deliver through Walmart Grocery? It works the same as grocery pickup.
However, when checking out, you would choose delivery, enter your address, and have your groceries delivered to you.
You can set delivery times within the platform to a time that works for you.
You also get the same Walmart Pick-Up perks as a delivery customer. If Walmart is out of stock of the item you order, they’ll replace it with a similar item for the same price. If the item is cheaper, you’ll receive a small refund.
They’ll also replace or refund any items that are out of stock or aren’t up to your standards. You can’t use manufacturer coupons with Walmart Grocery, but you can use their app to find lower prices on items.
The delivery fee for Walmart delivery orders is $9.95 per order, and your order must be at least $30. However, Walmart just released a new subscription service, called Delivery Unlimited, that allows you to receive free delivery for all orders.
The service is $98 for the year or $12.95 a month.
The above best local grocery delivery services, aside from Amazon, are available in most areas. Stores by you may offer online grocery delivery services. Check with your favorite store to see if it’s a service they offer.
Best Meal Prep Delivery Services
Along with grocery delivery services, you can use meal prep delivery services to save time. These are great if you don’t want to waste food, snacks, and other items already in the house, or if you just want to get new meal ideas.
Below are a few of the best meal kit delivery services to save time in the kitchen.
Nutrisystem is an excellent alternative to traditional meal delivery services. If you’re seeking to lose weight, or want a simple way to portion control sizes, Nutrisystem is worth considering.
The weight loss company offers three different meal options. Here are the meal plan options with Nutrisystem:
- First – no choice on what meals you receive
- Second – you select your meals
- Third – you select your meals, plus you get to receive frozen meals
The meals cost $8.57, $10.36, and $12.50 per day and includes shipping costs.
For a limited time, Nutrisystem is offering a 50 percent on all plans, including shakes. The home delivery weight loss service also offers numerous customized plans – from those needing diabetic-friendly meals to vegetarian meals. You also receive free shipping on all offers.
The one drawback to Nutrisystem is they only offer meals for individuals, so it will not work for families. However, Nutrisystem offers the most choices for meals on our list.
You can receive items from protein shakes, to quality frozen meals. The company regularly adds or removes meals based on feedback from users. Currently, the provider has nearly 200 meal options.
If you want to learn more about Nutrisystem, including savings hacks, and meals, read our review of Nutrisystem here. Frugal Rules founder John Schmoll lost 100 pounds on the plan and he shares his likes and dislikes of the plan.
6. Blue Apron
Blue Apron is the well-known company in the meal kit delivery services. The company is also one of the best alternatives to HelloFresh. You can choose between four different plans from Blue Apron. Those are:
- Family plan
- Regular plan
- Vegetarian plan
- Weight Watcher plan
If you’re a wine lover, Blue Apron even allows you to pair meals with wine from their platform. Pricing at Blue Apron is more expensive than HelloFresh as they start at $8.99 per serving and can go over $9.99 per serving.
*Now through June 30, Frugal Rules readers who enjoy eating vegetarian can get three vegetarian meal kit recipes on Blue Apron’s Signature menu and receive $80 off.
Like HelloFresh, you can pause deliveries whenever you like.
As someone who’s tried Blue Apron, their serving sizes are slightly larger than other delivery services. So, if you have a hungrier family, this may be a good option to consider.
All Frugal Rules readers receive $80 off their first four boxes (only through December 31) when you sign up for Blue Apron!
You can read our review of Blue Apron to learn more about the service.
If you’re looking for a grocery delivery service that makes meal planning simple, look no further than EveryPlate. Your plan options include:
- Dinner for 2 Plan including 3, 4, or 5 dinners per week
- Dinner for 4 Plan including 3, 4, or 5 dinners per week
Meal options change weekly, and EveryPlate provides a menu you can check out in advance. Choose the recipes you want to enjoy and the food will be delivered straight to you.
When you need to stretch a meal to include five people, order the Dinner for 4 Plan. It includes adult-sized portions that could probably feed five in a pinch.
The price per serving for EveryPlate remains a constant $4.99 no matter which plan you choose. But, they do offer discounts from time to time, making fast meals even more affordable. In addition, you can skip or cancel at any time.
*Related: If you like meal kits and want to introduce your kids to them, check out Raddish Kids. They offer kits, free recipes, and videos to help you and your children cook simple meals and enjoy time together in the kitchen.*
HelloFresh is one of the most popular online food delivery services. There are four different meal options you can choose with HelloFresh. Those are:
- Low calorie
- The Classic plan – this includes meat and fish
- The Family plan
Each week, you can select the meals that stand out the most to you and have them delivered to your door. HelloFresh covers dinners only, so keep that in mind.
If you want leftovers, you could order a bigger plan, and then save a serving or two for yourself. However, HelloFresh sends you just enough to fit the serving sizes you asked for.
*Related: Want to order dinner in, but don’t want to spend a lot? Read our review of the best food delivery apps to save money and stay out of the kitchen.*
For example, if you order for a family of four, you’ll receive four servings of each meal.
Each plan has a different cost per serving, but expect to pay up to $8.99 per serving, though as low as $4.99. You can save more by using coupons, or by choosing the family plan.
You can test the service through their current promotion of $80 off, plus no delivery fees. Their chefs add new meals each week, so HelloFresh is an excellent choice if you like variety.
The biggest cons I noticed about HelloFresh is that they use a lot of packaging and plastic. You can have meals delivered for up to seven nights per week and can pause your subscription whenever you wish.
9. South Beach Diet
Like Blue Apron and HelloFresh, South Beach Diet is well-known, although it’s considered a diet system more than a grocery delivery service. South Beach Diet encourages at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to help you achieve the best results.
Still, one of the great things about South Beach Diet is the wide variety of menu options to choose from. If you like foods that have more of an international flair, South Beach Diet provides you with several Asian-style foods. One drawback, however, is that there are no vegetarian options.
You’ll go through three phases with the South Beach Diet. The different phases are designed to help you move from quick weight loss during the first few weeks to a maintenance phase for the long term.
With South Beach Diet, meals are mailed to you once per month. You get to select six small meals per day from their low-carb, Keto-friendly meal options. Prices are similar to that of Nutrisystem.
Right now you can sign up for 20 percent off auto delivery at South Beach Diet.
If you like meals with lots of vegetables, check out Diet-to-Go. While many weight loss programs don’t focus on encouraging you to eat vegetables, Diet-to-Go does.
In addition, nutrition specialists customize each meal to help you reach your own unique fitness goals. Meals are conveniently pre-measured, saving you valuable time and hassle. They even provide the number of calories in each meal.
Diet-to-Go offers three meal types: low-fat, low-carb, and a diabetic-friendly meal option. The number of meals you receive depends on the plan you choose when signing up, but it varies from ten to 21 meals per week.
Downsides of Diet-to-Go are that shipping is not free and the meals can be somewhat expensive in comparison to other Nutrisysystem alternatives. At the same time, meals can be healthier and more suited to your needs.
Check out Diet-to-Go if vegetable-rich, whole food meals are what you’re looking for. The company is currently offering a 25 percent off first week discount for new customers.
Do you sometimes find it difficult to make the time to cook? Freshly is a meal delivery service that can help you save time and still get delicious meals.
Freshly claims to deliver meals that are ready to heat and eat in three minutes or less. There’s also very little clean-up afterward because Freshly does the cooking for you.
You may worry that nutrition is sacrificed for convenience in Freshly’s meals. However, Freshly strives to prepare their dishes with less sugar and processed ingredients than you might think. They can even handle a variety of dietary restrictions including:
- Low Carb
- Low Sodium
Browse through their menu and choose the types of meals you want to have delivered. All meals come individually portioned in recyclable packaging for convenience and speed in preparation.
The biggest drawback of using Freshly as your meal delivery service is the cost. In comparison to other meal delivery services, it’s quite pricey.
Whether you choose grocery delivery services or meal delivery services, there are numerous choices to receive groceries and meals that fit your lifestyle and budget.
It may feel odd to have meals delivered to you, but the time savings are often worth it.
Many of the services on our list regularly offer promotions. Make sure to check for deals before ordering to save more money.
What meal prep delivery services have you tried? Is the time savings worth it to you to have meals or groceries delivered to your home? What do you look for when looking for grocery delivery services?