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Best Meal Delivery Service for College Students

College Students may not have the extra time to be cooking meals they want along with meals that are packed with nutrients, So it’s time to ditch the Ramen and dig into these easy and affordable meal services!

Between studying, assignments and occasional partying, it can be really hard for students to find the time to cook healthy, nutritious meals. You’ve barely got time to eat, let alone cook!

When you have to be at your mate’s house for a study date, and you have less  than an hour to get there, you need a meal service that’s going to arrive in plenty of time, and require minimal effort on your part, and still have all the important nutrients that you need, so you can fill your stomach before tonight’s party. 

It’s a tall ask, but it can be done. In this article, we’re going to review 5 of what we think are the best meal delivery services around for college students.

But we totally get that choosing one can be tricky, so we’ve also put together a handy buying guide to make things a little more straightforward for you. It highlights all the key things to consider before you subscribe.

Then we’re going to top that off with a section where we answer some of your most frequently asked questions on the subject.

So, without further ado, let’s get straight to it.

In a hurry? Why not check our number one pick?

Home Chef

What’s better than having a meal kit delivered to your door, you may ask? How about meals that require no prep whatsoever, that you simply place straight into the oven and will keep you well-fed and satisfied with the least possible hassle…

This is one of the options available with Home Chef, and it’s perfect for those who’ve only just moved out of their original home and are not yet confident with their skills in a kitchen or on a stove.

Or if you’re one of those who loves their sear marks, you can instead for a grill-ready option whereby you place all the ingredients in a grill-safe bag, and throw it on the grill to have a meal ready in minutes.

Or, if you’re a little more adventurous, you could go for a more traditional meat kit. You can get ones that take 30 minutes to cook, or if you’re really in a hurry, there’s a 15-minute meal kit plan, too. Perfect for those with busy schedules. 

The Home Chef is available for both iOS and Android devices, and through it, you can set your dietary restrictions, whether through allergy or personal choice, browse through their meal suggestions, and customize your meals as you wish, swapping out items or even doubling up. This customization is something that not all meal delivery services offer.

You can arrange your deliveries at a time to suit you, and there are new menu options every week, so you’re guaranteed not to get bored with it.

And with Home Chef’s student discount, you get a whopping 55% off your first box, which means you can potentially save up to $35.

If you’re still not sure if it’s for you, why not take advantage of the opportunity to check out the recipes before you sign up by heading over to their website, and having a little browse through.

Pros:

  • Oven-ready & grill ready options available
  • Students can get a great 55% off their first box!
  • Your dietary restrictions will be accounted for 
  • New meals to choose from every single week
  • You can customize your meals as you wish

Cons:

  • The student discount only seems to apply to the first box

EveryPlate

One of the top concerns for many college students is their budget, and the more affordable they can make their meals, the better. And this is why EveryPlate made it onto our shortlist.

Normally, Everyplate meal kits cost around $5 per meal. However, with their significant student coming in at a very nice 20% off, you are only expected to pay under $4 per meal. Which means you’ve got money left over to grab a coffee with a friend, or have one more beer at the next house party. Moreover, your first two meals cost under $2.

This makes them significantly more affordable than many of the other meal delivery services out there, including HelloFresh, Blue Apron, HomeChef, and many more. Less than half the price, in fact. Excellent value for money.

I know what you’re thinking, that there has to be some sort of catch. But we’re pleased to report that there isn’t. It’s the real deal and is trusted by thousands of Americans, with more than 8,500 positive customer reviews on Facebook alone. 

The reason it costs less money than other meal delivery services is because they use less packaging. Although we can confirm that this packaging is insulated for freshness.

The food is all fresh, and is sourced with nationally recognized suppliers. And every single week you get 11 different recipes to choose from, and their chefs are always working to discover more for you.

And you certainly don’t have to be a good chef to make any of them. All of the EveryPlate recipes can be made by following just 6 simple steps laid out on the accompanying recipe cards, and can be ready to eat in as little as 30 minutes.

And, if you don’t eat meat, there are always vegetarian options available.

If you’re still not sure if it’s for you, why not take advantage of the opportunity to check out the recipes before you sign up by heading over to their website, and having a little browse through.

Pros:

  • The cheapest meal delivery service 
  • Significant student discount available
  • All your meals will be ready in 30 minutes
  • New recipes to choose from every week
  • Received over 8,500 positive reviews

Cons:

  • Although the meals themselves are cheap, you will still have to pay extra for shipping

HelloFresh

If you’ve been looking into meal delivery services before now, you will have already heard of HelloFresh. They’re a brand with a global presence and are often considered THE number one meal delivery brands in the USA.

And although HelloFresh is not marketed to students in particular, we can confirm that HelloFresh now delivers to over 300 US colleges and universities.

Moreover, they also offer an attractive 15% discount for students. Which could very well be sufficient to bring it into your budget range. Sure, it will still cost a little more money than some of the cheaper meal delivery services out there, but it still works out cheaper than having to buy every single ingredient separately.

And if you do find that it costs a little too much money, you don’t have to worry because you can cancel at any time. And you don’t have to commit to receiving meal kits every week, and you can cancel a box if you’re going on spring break.

Every week you get more than 15 menu options to choose from, and this varies from week to week, so that HelloFresh can get you foods that are currently in season and at their freshest. Better yet, this also means that you don’t get bored with the food.

And we are pleased to confirm that there are vegetarian options available to enjoy if you so wish, and also low calorie options if you happen to be watching your weight.

Some of the meals arrive at your door ready to eat, including salads, sandwiches and soups, while more involved cooking can still have your meals ready in about 30 minutes or less. And there’s a meal plan specifically for those who are looking for meals that are quick and easy to prepare, which is perfect if you have an assignment due in ASAP.

You can choose a delivery slot to suit your busy schedule for ultimate convenience.

Pros:

  • From one of the top brands in America
  • Offers an impressive 15% student discount
  • You can skip a box or cancel at any time
  • Different menu options every single week
  • Your meals will be ready to eat in 30 minutes

Cons:

  • Student option offers fewer meals to choose from than the regular version
  • If you want to subscribe, please be careful which of the webpages you land on, in order to get the 15% student discount, otherwise you could end up getting meal kits for at least two people

Dinnerly

Dinnerly is another great option to consider. And it’s perfect for those who enjoy traditional American meals because they’ve got all those familiar flavors and favorites that everybody loved. Even the pickiest of eaters approve of this meal delivery service!

And it’s also one of the most affordable meal delivery services too, which is great news for students who are often short on cash and always have plenty of other things they need to spend money on. In fact, each meal comes to less than $5, so you’re sure to save money compared to buying each ingredient separately.

There’s plenty of variety, with 16 different recipes to choose from each week, so you can be sure you won’t get bored with it.

And better yet, they’re super simple to prepare because when the box arrives you don’t have to waste too much time chopping and slicing etc., and you can get your meals ready to eat in a maximum of 5 simple steps.

The only real drawback is how it’s set up to provide meals for two people rather than one, so you could either dine with your housemates and get them to chip in, or you could eat one meal for lunch and another for dinner. 

Pros:

  • It’s the perfect option for pickier eaters!
  • 16 recipes to choose from every week
  • Very affordable meal delivery service
  • Meals are prepared in just 5 simple steps

Cons:

  • They don’t appear to offer a student discount (at least when this article was written)
  • Each box contains enough ingredients for two meals with each recipe, so is not ideal for single users

Sunbasket

Now, there’s a lot to love about this meal delivery service!

Sunbasket‘s meals are planned out by award-winning chefs, and you get the best quality ingredients, all organic fresh produce, and making the most of the foods that are in peak season.

You can choose from easy to make meal kits, which come with easy to follow directions that are ready to eat within 40 minutes at the max, or you can have meals that are already prepared for you, that can be reheated in as little as 3 minutes.

What’s particularly notable about Sunbasket, is just how well they cater to different dietary requirements. This includes not only vegetarian meal delivery plans, but a whole lot more besides…

Here’s the full list of plans: Paleo, Vegetarian, Lean & Clean, Gluten-Free, Carb-Conscious, Mediterranean, Diabetes-Friendly, Pescatarian, Chef’s Choice, Fresh & Ready. Or you can mix and match from the full menu.

You can book your delivery at a time to suit your busy schedule, and the subscription is pretty flexible.

If you’re still not sure if it’s for you, why not take advantage of the opportunity to check out the recipes before you sign up by heading over to their website, and having a little browse through.

Pros:

  • Perfect for those with specific dietary requirements!
  • Uses only the best quality ingredients, and all organic
  • Option to choose meals that are  already prepared

Cons:

  • They don’t appear to offer a student discount (at least when this article was written)
  • Dinners starting at $8.99 per serving

Buying Guide

As promised, here’s your buying guide. Here, we’re going to walk you through some of the main points to consider when choosing which meal delivery service to best suit your needs.

Variety of Meals

Any student who is new to cooking and doesn’t know too many dishes, knows full well what it’s like to end up eating the same meals all the time. You get fed up and in need of change. 

A good meal delivery service can put an end to that, and you can enjoy entirely different meals every day. This way, you can look forward to really enjoying your meals, rather than seeing them as just a means to an end.

Quick to Prepare

One of the main reasons to subscribe to a meal delivery service is to save yourself some valuable time. So all the meals you receive should either be ready-made and simply require a little heating up, or be very quick to put together and come with easy to follow instructions.

Achieve a Balanced and Nutritious Diet

When you’re new to cooking, or simply don’t have time to cook, it can be way too tempting to make simple, boil in the bag or add boiling water ready meals. And sadly these can often lack nutritional value, and sometimes you could even end up omitting whole food groups from your diet altogether. Do you even remember the last time you cooked yourself any vegetables?

A good quality meal delivery service should have all the main food groups covered. Carbohydrates for energy, protein to keep those muscles working, fats for flavor, and lots of what we call micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, which are crucial for proper functioning. Not to mention fish foods to feed those hungry brain cells.

While you don’t need to worry about every single meal being well-balanced and nutritious, your meals for the week will need to feature all the major food groups to keep you in top form.

Special Requirements

It is important that your meal delivery service caters to your specific needs. This means that if you have any food allergies, for example, that when you are choosing your meals, you can see at a glance whether the meal you are looking at contains anything that you’re allergic to. And if it does, there should be some delicious alternatives to opt for instead.

Similarly, if you have decided to omit certain foods from your diet, such as animal meat, then your meal delivery service should provide you with alternative meals that you can really enjoy. Meal delivery services for vegans and vegetarians are a little harder to come by, but they do exist.

Value for Money

Last but not least, your meal delivery service should also be good value for money. With so much of your money going towards tuition fees and accommodation, you don’t have a lot of money to splash out on exotic, fancy meals.

So, to ensure that each meal delivery service you’re considering is within your budget, we recommend that you check the prices as you go along. Because while there are some that cost as little as $2 per meal, there are also ones that cost over $10 per serving, which we would argue aren’t good value for money and are more likely to be out of your budget range.

You may also want to look out for meal delivery services that offer student discounts.

We always want to be transparent and honest about our article content. From time to time, we may link to products and services that compensate us for the referral. This does not affect your cost, but it does help us fund future content for this site.

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