Best Senior Meal Delivery Service in 2020
- Freshology – Best Overall Meal Delivery
- Diet-To-Go – Best Healthy Meal Delivery
- Silver Cuisine – Best Weekly Specials
- Magic Kitchen – Best No Contract
Good nutrition is important at any age, and never more so than in later years. A healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meat or fish, and starches such as brown rice or whole-grain pasta helps provide seniors with the nutrients they need.
However, staying healthy and eating well isn’t always easy for seniors. Caregivers may find themselves responsible for food shopping and preparation, and perhaps struggling to keep on top of it all.
Nutrition And Cooking Aren’t Always Easy For Seniors
Eating a nutritious, balanced diet can be challenging for seniors. There are many reasons older adults might struggle with preparing and eating food at home:
- Physical mobility or balance issues make it hard to chop meat or vegetables, manage a hot pan, or lift things in and out of the oven.
- Memory issues make it unsafe for seniors to cook because there is a risk of them leaving something to burn or even starting a fire
- Low moods, depression, fatigue or other health issues make it hard for seniors to feel motivated to cook
Without a caregiver present to prepare each meal, seniors might skip meals, or reach for easy but nutritionally weak options like processed foods.
What Should Seniors Look For In A Meal Delivery Service?
Knowing what you need from your meal delivery service makes it easier to choose the best one for you. Here are some things we recommend thinking about:
Your budget. Meal delivery services vary, but in general, expect to pay around $12 per meal. That means getting a single main meal for one person daily, six days a week, will cost around $72. Of course, the cost will rise if you add in lunches and snacks. Knowing your budget helps you figure out if a service is a good fit.
Your diet. If you have a special dietary requirement such as eating vegetarian or following a diabetic-friendly diet, be sure to check that the meal service caters for your needs.
How many meals you need. Not every senior needs every meal covered by their service. Perhaps you can cook some meals but can’t cope with doing it daily. Or perhaps you have a family member who can assist with meal prep, or help prepare meals for the freezer.
Delivery schedules. Every meal service has its own schedule, so make sure to find out how long delivery takes and the cut off time for orders.
Delivery costs. Is delivery fixed or variable? Is it free if you order a certain amount?
Reviews. The only real way to know if you like the food and service from a meal delivery company is to try them. However, online reviews can give you some idea of how other people are liking them.
The Best Meal Delivery Services For Seniors
We’ve done some research, so you don’t have to! Here is our roundup of the best meal delivery services out there for seniors.
#1 Freshology - Best Overall Meal Delivery
What We Like Most:
- Convenient and delicious
- $80 off ($20 for 4 weeks)
- Access to health coaching and advice.
- Nutritionally packed and portion-controlled
Freshology makes it much easier to eat a healthy diet. Their menus are designed to be nutritious, delicious, and healthy. Each dietician-designed meal comes packed and ready to heat and eat. You can manage your account online easily, and you’re welcome to change plans or pause and restart your service whenever you like.
Cost: A typical plan of two meals a day, five days a week, costs around $12.20/Meal.
Diets: Freshology customers can choose from four plans. Balance is a heart-healthy calorie-controlled plan that offers balanced nutrition for everyone. Vegetarian and no-seafood options are available. Diabetes is designed to make it easier to manage diabetes, by providing heart-healthy options that are also designed to keep blood sugar in check. Keto-Carb30 was designed for those who prefer a low-carb option and is fully keto-friendly. Finally, Freshology offers a vegetarian option that eliminates meat in favor of beans, pulses, dairy, and a little soy.
Ordering: Start by entering your zip code to find out if delivery is available in your area. Then simply pick your plan and how many meals you want to be delivered. The site will let you know how many days your delivery will take to arrive.
Delivery: It depends on your location. When you enter your zip code, you’ll see your delivery options. Some locations also offer a pick-up option.
- Excellent for those looking to eat healthy.
- Offers a specific plan for people with diabetes.
- Easy to control, customize, and even pause.
- Ordering is straightforward.
- Not as much scope to choose your own meals compared to some providers.
- No standard delivery fee, depends on location.
Diet-To-Go is all about healthy eating. Their meal delivery service makes it easy to enjoy healthy meals that can help with weight management. And all straight to your door! Their meals are portion-controlled to help support getting to and staying at a healthy weight. Customers also get free access to a health coach via phone or email for ongoing support. You can pause and resume the service at any time.
Cost: A typical plan of two meals a day, five days a week, costs around $12.20/Meal.
Diets: Diet-To-Go offers four main plans, with some flexibility to choose your favorite meals or swap plans as you go. Balance is a weight control diet that’s heart-healthy and low sodium, with controlled fat, sodium, carbs, and cholesterol. Vegetarian and no seafood options are available. Balance Diabetes offers the same heart-healthy nutrition as Balance, with an extra emphasis on controlling blood sugar. Keto-Carb30 is designed for those who are trying to control carbs and includes meat, cheese, and eggs. Finally, Vegetarian offers all the nutrition of Balance, but with protein from eggs, dairy, beans, and a little soy, instead of meat or seafood.
Ordering: Enter your zip code to check available delivery, then choose your preferred menu, and how many meals you would like. There are options for five days or seven days, and two or three meals daily.
Delivery: Delivery days and prices vary depending on your location. Enter your zip code on the site to see your options. Some areas also offer a pick-up location so you can pick your food up (or ask someone to get it for you), to save on delivery costs.
- Designed for weight loss and management
- Offers an appetizing and interesting range of meals
- Portion-controlled meals
- Not as flexible or customizable as some plans
- Delivery fee varies by area
Silver Cuisine is a meal delivery service specially designed for seniors. Their meals were created to offer balanced nutrition for those age 50 plus.
Cost: Expect to pay around $9 for a breakfast and $12 for a lunch or main course.
Diets: Silver Cuisine offers meals for several specialty diets. Customers can choose from gluten-free, low carb, low sodium, heart-healthy, diabetic, menopause friendly, dairy-free, vegetarian, or Mediterranean inspired.
Ordering: Choose the meals you’d like online, or call to place an order.
Delivery: Orders are shipped Monday – Wednesday and arrive in two-five business days, depending on your location. Shipping is $19.95 for all orders.
- No contracts
- No minimum orders
- Fixed delivery rates
- AARP discounts
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks offered
- Restricted shipping days
- Flat shipping fee of $19.95 on every order
Magic Kitchen offers a wide variety of nutritious meals, free of artificial preservatives. Customers can choose from an A La Carte menu, which means you can mix and match as you please, or from complete meal bundles which include mains and sides. Customers can also set up a meal plan – and start and stop at any time – to get regular deliveries. Magic Kitchen will choose your meal plan menu based on your preferences.
Cost: Expect to pay around $9 – $12 for a breakfast and $13 – $16 for the main course. Please note many options are sold in two-serving pairs, so in reality, you pay around $30 for each main course ordered. According to their site, customers on a meal plan can expect to pay around $246 to $275 every seven days, for three meals a day.
Diets: The Magic Kitchen caters to diabetic, dairy-free, gluten-free, low card, low fat, low sodium, and vegetarian diets, and also offers Weight Watchers compatible options. They also offer a senior-specific meal plan designed to provide the right nutrition to older adults.
Ordering: Order online, by phone, or via email.
Delivery: Shipping cost is determined by the weight of your order and your location. Packages generally arrive within four business days, but customers can opt for a FedEx air delivery option for quicker service. You can also select your exact delivery date if you prefer.
- Wide range of special diets
- Options specifically for seniors
- Flexible ordering and shipping options
- Ships to Alaska and Hawaii
- No vegan menu
- No salt-free meals available (low sodium is available)
- Shipping costs range from $18-$20
Meal Delivery Service: Would it Work for Your Loved One?
That’s where the right meal delivery service comes in. Having meals delivered makes life easier for seniors and their caregivers, and ensures seniors get a good, balanced diet.
There are many senior meal delivery options, but most fall into two main categories: Ready to cook, and ready to heat. Let’s compare them.
Ready To Cook: Meal Kits
Ready to cook services, also known as “meal kits” send out packages of fresh, tasty ingredients, with instructions on how to turn them into a delicious meal. Meal kit services offer an alternative to the more typical senior meal delivery companies that deliver pre-cooked meals.
Some popular meal kit options that cater to older adults include Diet-to-Go, Silver Cuisine, Magic Kitchen, Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Green Chef, and Plated to name a few.
How it works: Once an account is opened, these services send out all the ingredients to make meals, along with recipe cards explaining what to do.
Ideal for: Seniors who are still independent, active and well enough to enjoy cooking daily meals, or who live with a partner who is healthy and active enough to cook on a daily basis. Meal kits are also great for seniors who have no issue cooking but find getting groceries a challenge. Everything they need comes right to them.
May not suit: Meal kits still involve a certain amount of cooking and prep, so they’re not ideal for seniors who struggle with cooking. Most meal kit options only cover 3 – 4 meals in a week, so they’re not suitable for seniors who need every meal taken care of.
Cost: Prices vary, but expect to pay around $12 for a box covering three meals for two people each week.
Ready To Heat: Meal Delivery
Ready to heat meal delivery services offer pre-prepped meals that are ready to go in the oven or microwave. Fresh, healthy delivered meals take the stress out of grocery shopping, meal prep and cooking, taking a lot of pressure off both seniors and caregivers.
Many of these services are designed especially for seniors or offer seniors’ options on their website. Popular choices include Fresh ‘n Lean, Martha’s Senior Gourmet and Healthy Chef Creations. Most services also cater to different dietary needs or have specific programs that focus on nutrition, weight loss, or other specific dietary goals.
How it works: Once an account is created, you select how many meals a day you want to be delivered (most services can cover all three meals plus snacks), and the meals are shipped out once or twice a week. Some need to be kept refrigerated, others need to be kept frozen. Then it’s simply a case of heat up the delivered meals, and enjoy!
Ideal for: Seniors who find it difficult to shop and cook, and who might not be safe in the kitchen, or simply are not able to source and prepare a properly balanced diet without help. Ready to heat senior meal delivery means they can have every meal covered if needed, with no stress or fuss.
May not suit: Seniors who still enjoy cooking and/or shopping. Those on a tight budget, as meal delivery services can run a little pricey, especially if several meals are being covered.
Cost: Prices vary, but expect to pay upwards of $30 daily for a full senior meal delivery service that covers three meals plus a snack.
If the senior in your life is struggling with healthy eating, or you are finding food preparation a strain, a meal delivery service or meal kit takes the pressure off and helps ensure a healthy, nutritious diet for older adults.
Why Should Seniors Use Meal Delivery?
Many seniors struggle to cook healthy meals for themselves. There are a host of challenges associated with meal planning and preparation. Getting to the grocery store or carrying groceries home is difficult for people with mobility issues.
Food preparation is challenging for seniors who struggle with issues such as vision or balance problems, or arthritic hands.
As a result of these challenges, it’s not always easy for seniors to eat regular, healthy meals. This is a cause for concern among carers who want to be sure their senior eats well, but don’t have the time and resources to see to all their meals.
For many, a senior meal delivery service is the answer to these problems.
A Senior Meal Delivery Service Can Reduce Stress
A senior meal delivery service takes the stress out of meal times. Older adults can relax knowing that delicious, nutritious meals are on their way. Caregivers feel at ease knowing their loved one is taken care of.
It’s clear that a meal delivery service is a great option for some seniors. In fact, having support with meal preparation might even make a difference to whether someone can stay in their home or not.
Tips to Choosing the Best Meal Delivery for Seniors
How do you go about choosing a meal delivery company? Here are some questions to help you decide.
Do You Need Ready to Heat or Ready to Cook?
Ready to heat and ready to cook are very different services.
Ready to heat means all delivered meals are ready-prepared, and simply need to be heated up in the oven or microwave before eating. This is the best service for people who find it hard to cook.
Ready to cook, on the other hand, means you will receive all the ingredients for your meals, plus recipe cards with instructions. These services may not be suitable for all, but they are good for those who still enjoy cooking but struggle with meal planning and grocery shopping.
How Many Meals Need to Be Covered?
If your loved one is capable of cooking sometimes or has family or caregivers able to prepare some meals or stock the freezer, you won’t need every meal covered. However, seniors who cannot cook for themselves and don’t have anyone on hand to prepare meals may need all meals covered.
What’s Your Budget?
Having meals delivered varies in cost. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay around $30 per day and up for a meal delivery service that covers three meals a day, plus snacks. We recommend comparing a few different services to find out which offers the best value for money.
Ready to cook services start around $11/serving for a box (about $52/box including shipping) covering three main meals for two people. This option is cheaper, but may not suitable for everyone.
Which Services Deliver in Your Area?
Some services, such as Diet-to-Go, Silver Bistro MD and Magic Kitchen deliver across the continental United States. Meals On Wheels delivers to most urban and rural areas.
There are also several local delivery services out there, such as Martha’s Senior Gourmet, which delivers in the Los Angeles area, so it’s worth running a search for local meal delivery services on Google.
What About Specific Dietary Requirements?
It’s easier than ever to have meals delivered that meet specific dietary requirements. For example, Diet-to-Go offers heart-healthy, diabetic, heart-healthy, Keto and vegetarian options.
Silver Cuisine offers a selection of different dietary options, including low sodium, low carb, diabetic and heart-healthy.
No matter what you or your loved ones’ dietary requirements, you are bound to find a meal service that caters to them.
Does the Meal Delivery Cater Specifically to Older Adults?
Some delivered meals, such as those from Diet-to-Go, Silver Bistro MD and Magic Kitchen are created especially with seniors in mind.
Some services, such as Healthy Chef Creations, offer a special senior option. Other services might cater to a wider audience, but still cover your any specific dietary needs.
There is no right or wrong here, as long as you choose an option that covers any dietary needs your loved one has, and that delivers meals they enjoy. Many services offer a short trial or have a cancel-at-any-time policy, so you can try more than one if you like.
Are There Reviews Online?
It’s a good idea to look around at reviews. With so many review sites and message boards online, you’ll normally find at least a handful of reviews and testimonials for each service. Seeing what other people are saying about them can help you make your decision.
With so many senior meal delivery options, and with the industry not going anywhere in the near future, there’s no need for you and your loved one to struggle with getting healthy meals on the table. Of course, budget may be a constraint, but even having one or two meals a week taken care of can make a big difference.
Start checking out options today and take the stress out of senior meals.