We Tried 3 Healthy Meal Delivery Services—and Here's What You Need to Know

Photo: Luke Beard/Courtesy of Thistle

These days, it seems like you can get just about anything delivered directly to your door. Craving McDonald's but don’t want to put on pants? Postmates can help. Need some clothes dry-cleaned but you’re too busy (or lazy) to drop it off yourself? That’s what Rinse is for. Want to make dinner but physically stopping by the grocery store isn’t an option? Hello, Blue Apron. But what if you want a fresh, healthy meal and you don’t want to actually cook it? Well, we have good news: there are even delivery services for that.

Because we work full time and also have lives outside of our jobs, we are all for pre-made food delivery, but we weren’t quite sure where to start. So, like any good editors, we decided to try a few different options for ourselves, and now we are reporting back to you. Read below to see our picks for Southern California, and be sure to check out your own local meal delivery services.

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Courtesy of Kooshi Gourmet (2)

Kooshi Gourmet

Kooshi Gourmet was created by two chefs with a passion for fresh, healthy food. All of their meals are made in-house daily and delivered early in the morning before you've even had your coffee. Their options are endless based on your likes, dislikes, and food allergies, and everything is organic and locally sourced.

How it works: You can choose from four different options—Signature, Paleo, Pescetarian, and Vegetarian—or you can even create a personalized meal program. With options for one, two, or three meals per day, you can completely customize your plan. Kooshi currently serves the Greater Los Angeles area.

How much it costs: There are options for a 1500 calorie-per-day plan at $58.50 per day, or 2500 calories for $65.50 per day. Customized plans are $125 per day, but there is a discounted rate of $85 per day when you purchase a 40-day package.

Our favorite dishes: The omelet with mushrooms, ricotta, and fresh herbs, and the zucchini turkey lasagna.

The verdict: We love that Kooshi meals are made fresh and delivered each day, so you'll never have a meal sitting in your fridge for too long. While on the pricier side, Kooshi is basically like having a private chef who will modify each meal to your specifications and bring it straight to your door. Meals are easily heated in the microwave, and all of the containers are BPA-free plastic, so there's no need to dirty any dishes.

Luke Beard/Courtesy of Thistle


Thistle is plant-based but not necessarily vegetarian. According to the website, "Thistle meals have an average of 5.8 unique fruits and veggies." Everything is gluten and dairy-free, and the lunches and dinners are high in protein--either from a plant source or from meat, with the option to add cold pressed juice and other healthy snacks to your orders.

How it works: Orders must be placed by 10 a.m. on the Saturday prior to the Monday that you would like your deliveries to start. Thistle currently serves San Francisco, the Bay Area, and Los Angeles by local couriers, and the states of California and Nevada by shipping. You can opt out at any time or skip certain weeks, so it's a no-strings-attached type of subscription.

How much it costs: Meal plans start at $36 a week and you can build a customized plan fit to your specific needs. Snacks and juices can be added to any delivery.

Our favorite dishes: The citrus arugula salad with tahini chicken, and a bottle of their fresh pressed juice (our favorite flavor was Spark, which is a combination of orange, apple, lemon, chia seeds, and cayenne).

The verdict: We love how Thistle incorporates superfoods (hello, turmeric!) into every dish, as well as the unique fruits and vegetables that you'll find in each delivery. Many of the meals are best cold or at room temperature, but ones that require heating can be done in a microwave-safe dish. Overall, we love that the meals use high-quality ingredients and are never boring.

Model Meals
Courtesy of Model Meals

Model Meals

This delivery service brings you pre-made meals that are Whole30 compliant. The Whole30 program is a month-long Paleo elimination diet that excludes dairy, wheat, gluten, grains, sugar, alcohol, legumes, and processed foods, but many people adopt this way of eating as part of their regular lifestyle. Model Danika Brysha's life was forever changed after completing the Whole30, and that's when she came up with Model Meals so that everyone can have access to the same quality food. The service even counts Jessica Alba as a fan.

How it works: Every Sunday a new menu goes up online, and you can choose how many or how few of the items you want (the order mimimum is $40, with a $10 delivery fee). Model Meals are delivered on Sundays from 3-9 PM, and are currently serving most cities in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and Santa Barbara.

How much it costs: Entrees range from $9 to $16, while sides and snacks range from $6 to $9, so everything is relatively affordable. If you're like us and buy lunch a lot during the work week, these meals are significantly cheaper than what you would normally spend.

Our favorite dishes: The chicken pot pie with mashed potatoes, and a side of albacore tuna salad with market vegetables.

The verdict: We love that this delivery service isn’t a subscription, so you can pick and choose exactly what you want, when you want—no strings attached. All the meats and fish are responsibly sourced, and the fruits and vegetables change seasonally. The soups come frozen so they are great to add on to any order. One good thing to know is that a lot of the meals require reheating in an oven or a pan, as opposed to a microwave.

Updated by
Tessa Trudeau
Tessa Trudeau is a Seattle-based writer and editor. She covers all things pop culture, shopping, and news.
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