Maintaining a healthy diet with the fragile food systems of today is like an extreme sport, and with so many people working from home at least part of the time, it’s even more difficult to manage your meals and develop healthy eating habits. That’s especially true when you consider the long hours we work.
Meal prepping can be a wonderful solution, but if you lack the skills, don't have the time, or simply can't stand eating "leftovers," it's not a viable option. Takeout is not the solution. Fast food and ultra-processed fare are laden with sugars, trans fats, and unhealthful additives and preservatives. They can be tasty, but they're often filled with calories and devoid of crucial nutrients. Your best bet is to find a healthy-meal delivery service.
To help you choose the best meal delivery service for your nutritional needs, we took a close-up look at the popular Freshly meals. Check out our Freshly meals review and see for yourself if they are a good option for you.
By clicking on the product links in this article, we may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Sponsorships and affiliate commissions help support our research so we can help you find the best products. Read full affiliate disclosure here.
Why Trust Us?
ACTIVE.com's editorial team relies on the knowledge and experience of fitness and wellness experts including competitive athletes, coaches, physical therapists, nutritionists, and certified trainers. This helps us ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. Collectively, the team has spent countless hours researching equipment, gear, and recovery tools in order to create the most accurate, authentic content for our readers. Customer satisfaction is also a key part of our review process, which is why we only feature products that are highly rated. More importantly, each member of our team is a fitness enthusiast. Fitness may be our job, but it is also our passion. Therefore, we strive to bring you products that we trust and would personally use.
A Quick Look at Freshly Meals
Freshly is a meal delivery service that delivers fresh, nutritious, cooked meals right to your door. They're known for crafting clean meals from whole foods that are free of artificial ingredients, chemical preservatives, and excess sugar. In fact, Freshly meals contain approximately 8 grams of sugar per meal, a 60 percent-plus reduction of sugar over the standard American diet. Freshly meals offer an affordable, convenient way to improve your diet and your health without slaving away in the kitchen.
The flexible subscription model enables you to skip or change your weekly order whenever you need. Plus, Freshly prides itself on creating meals that leave the smallest environmental footprint possible, with minimal waste.
Started in 2012 by Michael Wystrach and Carter Comstock, Freshly has grown tremendously, and today the company delivers more than 1 million meals a week across the continental U.S. The company has since been acquired by Nestle and is now catering to fitness enthusiasts with new high-protein and low-carb meals.
How Does Freshly Work?
Freshly’s convenient sign-up process makes it easy to get started. You simply enter your email address and ZIP code on the homepage, select your meal plan, pick your delivery day, and choose your meals. Once you add your contact information, payment details, and delivery address, Freshly sets up your account and begins delivering delicious meals to your door. The service is subscription-based and you have the option to skip, unskip, or change up the meal plan every week. You can do everything via the Freshly app, which you download from the Apple or Google Play store. Once you receive your order, just refrigerate your meals and heat them up as you need them. The meals remain fresh for three to five days, but you can extend the shelf life by freezing them. The meals also have an expiration date on the package so you can be sure that you eat them when they’re fresh.
- Menu options: Over 50 meal options to choose from, including plant-based, dairy-free, low-carb, low-calorie, and gluten-free meals
- Cost per meal: $8.99 to $11.79 per meal depending on the size of your order
- Packaging: Recyclable and biodegradable packaging that keeps the meals fresh for up to 60 hours
- Delivery: Delivery available 7 days a week
Freshly offers a wide range of meals to choose from, which makes it simple to enjoy healthy, home-cooked food without picking up a knife or a chopping board. Whether you're looking for plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, carb-smart, or calorie-conscious meals, you’ll find something to suit your dietary needs.
The Carb Smart options offer delightful, nutrient-rich meals that are ideal for anyone who wants to cut down on carbs. The chef-crafted dishes feature whole-food ingredients and 20 grams of carbs or less. They are also rich in dietary fiber, which helps you feel satisfied longer and prevents overeating. Whether you're cutting carbs for weight loss or simply trying to eat better, the Carb Smart meals are a savvy choice. Freshly also offers Calorie Conscious meals with 550 or fewer calories. With the online and app-based sorting options, it's easy to find the ideal meals for your needs.
If you have problems with dairy, Freshly’s dairy-free meals are a fantastic option. Their chefs have found ingenious ways of creating sauces that are creamy, full of flavor, and loaded with nutrients. Using dairy substitutes like coconut milk, plant-based butters, squash, and cauliflower, they whip up wholesome meals without sacrificing taste or quality, and they use honey and coconut sap as sweeteners instead of artificial sweeteners like corn syrup.
Do you have gluten sensitivities? No problem! Freshly is certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group, which means they know how to cook appetizing and nutritious gluten-free meals. Whether you're in the mood for gluten-free pasta or a nice juicy steak, you’ll dine happy.
Finally, if you're on a plant-based diet, you'll find plenty of meal choices. From hearty gluten-free pastas to dairy-free "cheese" sauce, the food will leave you feeling satisfied and energized. Their plant-based meals are filled with whole-food ingredients like veggies, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains, plus a signature plant-protein blend for a boost of clean energy. The best part is, the meals are packed with 10 grams of protein per serving, so you can get your protein fix every time.
Whatever plan you choose, with over 50 different meals on the menu, including Steak Peppercorn, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Veggie Loaded Burrito Bake, you're bound to find some favorites.
Cost Per Meal
The satisfaction you get from cooking a scrumptious meal at home is wonderful, but you may not always have the time or energy to do it. Takeout is an expensive alternative that simply can't beat an exquisite homemade meal—not to mention all the added sugars and unhealthy ingredients that are included.
With Freshly affordable pricing, you select from a variety of meal options, with discounts based on how many meals you order. Prices start at $8.99 per meal when you purchase 12 meals for the week, but if you opt for the smaller packages, you can expect to pay up to $11.79 per meal. In addition, breakfast items are priced individually and cost between $7.99 and $8.99.
These prices exclude sales tax and shipping. Here is a breakdown of the pricing based on which meal plan your order:
- 4-5 meals a week costs $11.79 per meal
- 6-7 meals a week costs $9.99 per meal
- 8-9 meals a week costs $9.49 per meal
- 10-11 meals a week costs $9.29 per meal
- 12 meals a week costs $8.99 per meal.
- Shipping is based on the size of your order, but you can expect to pay between $8.99 and $11.99 per order
Convenience and reliability are a must in a meal-delivery service. After all, no one wants to get stuck with an empty refrigerator. This is where Freshly shines. Delivery is available seven days a week, so you can select a day that works for you. The deliveries don’t require a signature, which means you don't need to be at home to receive your order. And with Freshly’s innovative packaging, your food stays fresh and cool for up to 60 hours, which covers 48 hours of transit time and 12 hours at your door if you aren't home to receive it. Your full weekly order comes in one shipment, and we like that they deliver across the continental U.S. and to most ZIP codes, so virtually anyone can order Freshly meals.
Trying to balance low environmental impact with preserving food freshness is a challenge, but Freshly has achieved it. The meals come in modified atmospheric packaging, which changes the internal atmosphere of the parcels to retard the growth of aerobic organisms and oxidation reactions. This innovative method keeps the meals fresh for 60 hours without the use of preservatives. The packages are insulated with recyclable denim that is biodegradable at about 85 percent, and the prepared meals are kept fresh with non-toxic gel packs that can be recycled or reused. You get meals you can heat and eat without thawing or risking food poisoning.
Plus, Freshly’s Go-Green plastic containers are microwavable and made with a 30 percent cleaner plastic manufacturing process—and they don't release BPA when heated. All meals are sealed tightly with a light plastic coating to ensure they arrive in excellent condition.
The Freshly App and Meal Experts
If you're not a fan of shopping on your browser, you'll enjoy using the Freshly app. The app makes it easy to manage your upcoming delivery, skip a week if you need to, and track your delivery so you know when your food will arrive. It also allows you to browse through all the scrumptious meals available, see what changes have been made to the menu, and customize your order. Plus, you can check out the nutritional content of everything, including ingredients, nutrient profiles, and how the Freshly chefs make the meals delicious, and set your dietary preferences in the app. What’s more, you can contact the customer care team—via live chat, email, or phone—right from the app.
Another useful feature of the Freshly subscription is access to meal experts, who are available seven days a week to help you choose meals that suit your dietary needs and preferences.
What We Like
- The Freshly app is a convenient way to order and manage your subscription anywhere, anytime
- They offer meals to suit a variety of diets, including gluten-free, dairy-free, and plant-based
- They use innovative cooking methods to create dairy-free meals that are creamy and tasty, which means dairy-free diners aren't saddled with bland, dry food
- The meals–excluding plant-based options–contain about 30 grams of protein, making them good for anyone who wants to lose weight or build muscle
- The packaging is reusable and recyclable, and the food is produced with minimal waste
What We Don't Like
- The maximum order is 12 meals a week, which is not enough to cover three meals a day for a week
- No free delivery
- They don't deliver to Alaska or Hawaii
Who Should Buy Freshly Meals?
Freshly meals are a fantastic option for anyone who wants to save time on meal prep and cooking without sacrificing taste or nutrition. The meals are healthy and enjoyable, with a focus on whole-food ingredients, complex carbs, and high-quality fats. They're also an excellent choice if you lack the culinary skills to create homemade meals, never know what to cook, or want a balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients without the work. Freshly's prepared meals are fantastic if you'd like to add more plant-based meals to your diet, and their gluten-free and dairy-free choices are great for anyone who has food sensitivities and struggles to find ready meals that won't make them sick. Whatever your dietary needs, Freshly is an excellent choice.
FAQs About Freshly Meals
Are Freshly meals a good value?
Yes, Freshly meals are reasonably priced, especially when you consider the time and effort that goes into each dish. Plus, their subscription plans offer even more savings; for example, the four-meal plan starts at $11.79 per meal, and the 12-meal plan starts at $8.99. The meals are packed with nutrients and high in protein and quality dietary fats, which trumps any meal you can get from your local fast-food place. And because their meals are delivered fresh, you'll never have to worry about waste or food poisoning.
What is the average cost of Freshly meals?
The average cost of the meals depends on the plan you choose. The 12-meal package costs $8.99 per meal; however, the price increases when you choose smaller meal options.
Do Freshly meals come frozen?
No, the meals are never frozen. Freshly chefs hand-select the freshest ingredients and cook each meal from scratch, and the meals are shipped to you in special packaging to ensure that you receive fresh, cooked food that is ready to eat.
Where do Freshly meals come from?
Freshly meals are created in state-of-the-art kitchens in Phoenix, Arizona; Linden, New Jersey; and Savage, Maryland.