When it comes to healthy eating, it can sometimes feel like choices are limited. That is, “easy” (read: a $15 fast-casual salad) or “affordable” (something involving a lot of labor). But at least one option falls between Sweetgreen and heavy-duty meal prep: meal kits. With pre-selected recipes and perfectly-portioned ingredients, delicious and nutritious food is easier to make for yourself. Or, at least, that’s what the makers of said meal kits purport—particularly ones that provide Mediterranean diet-inspired fare.
The Mediterranean diet is linked to improved overall health, longevity, and life satisfaction. And in 2021, the meal kit industry Statista “Value of the meal-kit delivery service market in the United States in 2021, 2022 and 2024” View Source was estimated at over $6.9 billion in the United States, with estimates showing likely growth in the coming years. In theory, the Mediterranean diet + meal kit marriage should be harmonious. But are these so-called Mediterranean diet meal kits actually healthy and fun to eat? Are they a good way to start a mediterranean diet? We did the research and testing—that is, a lot of ordering, cooking, eating, and clean-up—to find out.
Here’s how the best Mediterranean diet meal kits stack up:
- Sunbasket (Top Pick)
- Green Chef
- HelloFresh (Best Budget Option)
- Home Chef
The Best Mediterranean Diet Meal Kits
- Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or meat-based meals
- $90.93 per week for three meals with two servings
- Best healthy “raw” meal options
- Full nutritional transparency
- Simple cooking process
- Easy to cancel or skip weeks
- Meals can be spare
Sunbasket provided the best Mediterranean diet experience of all the meal kits tested. The ingredients were also the most high-quality of the bunch. Few recipes contained starchy foods, and all were accompanied by tasty sauces like tamarind glazes and cashew cremas.
Unlike many of the other kits we tested, Sunbasket offered full nutritional information for each meal on its recipe cards. This demonstrated transparency about ingredients and nutritional value. The meals we chose from had a designated “Mediterranean diet” stamp as well, although there were usually only three or four options stamped with this designation each week. Sunbasket also has flexible options for anyone with allergies and intolerances. However, it states on its site that its kits are prepared in a facility that handles gluten and all major allergens, so it may not be the best option for anyone with severe allergies or intolerances.
Meals like Peruvian Aji Verde with Cauliflower “Rice” and Pork and Deconstructed Samosas were both filling and not too challenging to make. These meals had a low-carb approach, which isn’t technically in line with a diet that prioritizes whole grains. However, other options like Orzo Bowls with Broccoli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Pistou take a more traditional approach. We also appreciated that the cook times on the instructions were accurate. Even the amateur chefs of the bunch had no trouble putting together these meals.
Ordering meals through Sunbasket often involves choosing a protein, which allows you to customize your dinners. Fully vegan and vegetarian options are available and usually include tofu or mushrooms as the main protein. Most meals we tried were plant-based or pescatarian (and prices vary for each meal based on the protein you pick). As a bonus, Sunbasket focuses on sauces, which add a much-needed flavor punch to what could otherwise just be a protein with veggies on a plate. Plus, Sunbasket’s sauces and ingredients come in recyclable or reusable containers.
Sunbasket’s customer service and online menu was also great. While some other services made it difficult to cancel your subscription or skip a week, Sunbasket was straightforward. It never littered our inboxes with promotions but still kept us informed when we needed to choose our next week’s menu, and made it easy to cancel the service as well.
The true downside of Sunbasket was that sometimes the meals felt spare, and we were a bit hungry later in the evenings. Plus, this option was one of the most expensive of the bunch (albeit with much more high-quality ingredients than other services). But if you don’t mind low-ish calorie meals and are hoping for a tailor-made Mediterranean diet option, Sunbasket most closely fits the bill.
Best Budget Option
- Vegetarian, pescatarian, or meat-based meals
- $69.93 for three meals with two servings
- Extensive menu options
- Wasteful packaging
- Nutrition info lacks detail
HelloFresh is a known big-time player in the meal subscription service market, and for good reason: It provided a steady stream of interesting, “heart healthy” menu options for a moderate cost. Adults and kids in our testing pool loved most of the meals.
One big caveat: Hello Fresh’s menu items are not designated as Mediterranean, just “heart healthy.” (Even though it inevitably pops up upon Googling “Mediterranean diet meal kits.”) This means you need to be educated about what a typical Mediterranean meal includes when you make your menu choices. Hello Fresh also does not accommodate for allergies, but highlights potential allergens when selecting meals and on recipe cards.
But Hello Fresh’s options are extensive enough that you can usually find a few items on each menu that work. We enjoyed soy-glazed carrot and miso edamame bowls and several dishes of roasted fish, all of which were tasty and easy to put together. Portion sizes were just enough to satisfy without providing leftovers. Compared to Sunbasket, Hello Fresh’s meals have more components, and therefore require using and washing more dishes. But all of our chefs could successfully execute the recipes.
Some downsides: there’s a lot of waste (so many plastic bags!) and a general lack of nutritional information beyond calories. We also got a box that contained some moldy items and one box with missing ingredients. Canceling or skipping a week is easy—but you won’t get as many email reminders as you might want when it’s time to pick your menu, so we ended up getting a default menu once during testing.
Is the Mediterranean Diet Actually Healthy?
Studies say: Yes!
But it’s important to clarify what eating a “Mediterranean diet” actually means. The diet is based on traditional eating patterns in countries in the olive tree-rich Mediterranean basin Harvard School of Public Health “Mediterranean Diet Review” View Source , such as Greece (specifically the island of Crete) and southern Italy. These locations were discovered to have lower rates of chronic disease and longer life expectancies in the mid-20th century.
Researchers associate these benefits with the food people in these countries ate at the time. These include plant-based foods (veggies, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, whole grains, and spices), olive oil, fish as the main source of animal protein, dairy and poultry in moderation, and some red wine. Meals rarely feature red meat or sugary sweets. It also features a social aspect that involves gathering with friends and family for meals.
The Mediterranean diet as it’s defined in this review is not necessarily reflective of food eaten in Mediterranean regions today. Globalization in the 1960s and onwards brought more red meat, sweets, and processed foods to the area. As the diet gained popularity as a concept—for better or for worse, it’s the model for the “food pyramid Frontiers in Nutrition “Mediterranean diet: from a healthy diet to a sustainable dietary pattern” View Source ” taught in American schools—it began to fall out of practice in the countries where it originated.
If you try this diet, it’s best not to think of it as a temporary quick fix or list of foods you can and can’t eat. Instead, it’s more of a consistent pattern of eating over a prolonged period of time. “The Mediterraneans didn’t get together [a long time ago] to create a hot diet,” says nutrition consultant Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN. “This diet is more like a lifestyle.”
Studies have shown that eating according to this kind of diet reduces Revista Medica de Chile “Current evidence on health benefits of the mediterranean diet” View Source the incidence of cardiovascular disease, reverses metabolic syndrome, and prevents the development of diabetes and aging-related cognitive decline. It can also protect Journals of Gerontology “Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet: Metabolic and Molecular Mechanisms ” View Source against oxidative stress and inflammation and may help increase healthy gut bacteria.
Overall, people who ate a Mediterranean diet showed a reduced mortality rate BMC Medicine “Definitions and potential health benefits of the Mediterranean diet: views from experts around the world” View Source (in fact, many blue zones—areas where people live the longest—are located in areas where people have traditional diets that align with the Mediterranean Diet). And those who follow this diet report a better overall quality of life and lower BMI Nutrients “Health Benefits of Mediterranean Diet” View Source . The diet may also provide a “protective factor” against the onset of some cancers The 2 Best Mediterranean Diet Meal Kits for Healthy, Easy Food “” View Source , according to a systematic review of studies on the subject over the course of a decade. More study is needed to evaluate how factors including geographical areasm pollution, lifestyle, genetics, and food origin have an effect.
You also don’t have to eat what most of us think of as traditional Mediterranean food while following this diet. (Just don’t let the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding know about that.) It can be adapted to fit any kind of cuisine, including Latin-American, Caribbean, African, and Asian.
As an added bonus, eating in the Mediterranean style brings a focus on community, cooking at home, and spending time with others, Taub-Dix says. This may also be good for the earth. One study argued that following a Mediterranean diet at a larger global scale Environmental Health “Environmental footprints of Mediterranean versus Western dietary patterns: beyond the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet” View Source could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, land use, energy consumption, and even water consumption drastically. (Whether this applies to meal kits, and their required packaging and shipping, is less certain.)
Are Mediterranean Diet Meal Kits Healthy?
Our Rating: Healthy
The Mediterranean diet itself has almost no drawbacks. The health benefits you’ll get from it depends on the foods available to you, and how you prepare it. Simply having exact, pre-portioned cooking supplies sent straight to you to prepare your food at home can have a positive effect on your health. After a while, you may get enough cooking techniques and recipes under your belt that you find you don’t need the delivery service anymore.
But, in general, “don’t assume that everything that says ‘Mediterranean diet’ is healthy,” Taub-Dix advises. “Some companies take advantage of that label, yet may add more sodium, for example, than you might expect. No matter what diet you’re on or what foods you purchase, you should be reading food labels to see which ingredients speak to you and your particular needs.”
How We Got Here
Who Did This Work
I’m Jenni Gritters, a journalist with 10 years of experience covering science, health, and psychology. I’ve written product reviews for publications like Reviewed, Wirecutter and Slate, and you can find my essays and reported stories in the New York Times and the Guardian. I was previously an editor at Wirecutter where I covered parenting gear, outdoor gear, and travel apparel as a writer and editor.
Nutrition consultant Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, also weighed into this guide by providing guidance on the purported nutritional benefits of a Mediterranean diet.
Our Testing Process
We spent 15 total hours researching and testing meal kits. First, we looked at over 20 different Mediterranean meal kit subscriptions to analyze which fit the bill of providing healthy, nutrition-informed options. Then, using customer reviews, we picked the top five options and ordered them for four busy, working, health-conscious families. Each family tried at least two options, cooking three meals from the kit each week and reporting back on taste, ease of experience, quality of ingredients, and overall cook time. I tested all of the options myself and shared the meals with my husband and toddler. Then, each kit was scored across a number of variables to come up with a total comparative score for each service.
To find out more about the Mediterranean diet meal kit testing process, read the test notes.
The Mediterranean Diet Meal Kit Buying Guide
Who should buy a Mediterranean diet meal kit?
Meal delivery kits are perfect for someone who is looking for convenience and wants to eat healthy food—but may not have the time to pick recipes, go shopping, and craft meals from scratch each evening after work. Meal kits also teach amateur home cooks how to combine ingredients that may feel counterintuitive at first.
Which features matter most when buying this product?
When you’re choosing a meal kit service to subscribe to, you should consider:
- Food quality: Are the ingredients fresh, sourced well, and high quality? Do they look nice out of the packaging? Or do they show damage?
- Variety: Can you choose from different meal options each week, or do most of the meals feel similar?
- Subscription ease: Is it easy to set up the service, choose your meals, and adjust your subscription? Do you get random charges? Is customer service available? Is delivery on-point? Perhaps most importantly—can you cancel or pause the service when you need to?
- Nutritional value: What kinds of ingredients come with the subscription? Do the meals actually contain nutrition-focused options with transparent information?
- Price: Is the meal good value? We believe a meal kit dinner should be cheaper than a restaurant, but priced for convenience.
- Cooking experience: Is it relatively easy to put this meal together, even for a novice home cook?
- Taste: This one is simple (if also subjective). Does this food taste good? You can gauge this by sampling it, yes, but also by taking a look at what other reviewers (like us!) say.
Other Mediterranean Diet Meal Kits Worth Considering
We tested these and liked them, but they weren’t our top picks. They might be for you if you want super-speedy meals or don’t want to spend as much money.
- Vegetarian, pescatarian, or meat-based meals
- $90.93 per week for three meals with two servings
- Delicious meals
- Quick to cook
- Poor customer service
- Recipes require multiple dishes
Like Sunbasket, Green Chef offers the option to explicitly choose “Mediterranean” tagged meals up front. The tag sometimes includes menu options with red meat or added dairy. This is fine within Mediterranean diet parameters, but someone looking to avoid it may want to try the pescatarian or vegetarian tags. There are usually only three or four picks with that tag each week, but the options were appealing.
Green Chef does not allow customization based on allergies or intolerances. Meal items came with some basic nutritional information on the recipe card (like calories) but overall, there was less transparency than we would have liked. That said, our testers enjoyed both a salmon dinner in a lemon caper sauce with veggies, and middle eastern beef bowls. They noted that both recipes took under 30 minutes to cook and adults and toddlers alike loved them. Like Sunbasket, Green Chef’s tasty sauces—which include a lemon-basil yogurt sauce and delicious dressings—were a standout.
A few downsides: Green Chef is expensive. Three meals (of two portions each) will set you back just over $90. Yes, this is the same price as our top pick, Sunbasket, but we felt the latter’s ingredients were superior. One tester also noted that the recipes may take longer than their estimated cook time if you have a small kitchen or oven, because they often require using multiple dishes.
And once, when our order was delayed and eventually lost, the customer service experience was subpar. Green Chef refunded us, but failed to turn up any explanation or shipping details, and we had to wait two weeks for our next box. Thankfully, canceling the service and skipping weeks was straightforward.
- Vegetarian, pescatarian, or meat-based meals
- $59.92 before promotions for three, two-person meals
- Less expensive than other meal kits
- Challenging to cook with so-so results
- Wasteful packaging
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, Home Chef is worth considering. While there are no clear “Mediterranean” stamps on the recipes, you can sort for heart-healthy options. Most fit the bill if you know what to look for. However, there are fewer menu options to choose from in general with Home Chef compared to the other kits we tested, and its packaging is wastefully rife with lots of plastic and non-recyclable delivery boxes. Home Chef does not support customization based on allergies.
We also found some of the recipes to be slightly harder to put together compared to the ones in the other subscriptions on this list. You can choose which protein to add when you order your meal, but the menu card doesn’t explain the variation in ingredients well, so following the recipe is more complex than it should be. (To the point where the amateur chefs in the testing pool sometimes had to google techniques.) And the results were…fine.
“This is like nicer airplane food,” said one tester. This was a reference to menu options like mushroom flatbreads and steak risotto. Home Chef is nothing to write home about and less strictly adherent to the Mediterranean diet than many of the other options on this list. Still, the service will do the trick in a pinch, and at a lower price point to boot. With some digging, you can find nutritional information for each menu item online. Thankfully, the service is easy to skip or cancel.
A Mediterranean Diet Meal Kit to Skip
- Vegetarian, pescatarian, or meat-based meals
- $130 for five single-serving lunches and five single-serving dinners
- Easy to prepare
- Lackluster taste
BistroMD has the distinction of being the most expensive option of the bunch—five single-serving lunches and five single-serving dinners, the smallest package you can order, is $130. It’s also our least favorite.
According to BistroMD, nutritionists choose menus based on the customer’s intended goal. This included options like “heart healthy” and “weight loss.” Menu items include delicious-sounding dishes like salmon in a dill mustard sauce and meatloaf with a bourbon glaze. BistroMD has an allergen control program, but cross-contamination is possible based on how food is prepared.
But the Mediterranean options tended to be one-note, with similar fish-and-rice dishes for both meals of the day. Most were pre-packaged and just needed to be rewarmed in the microwave instead of cooked from scratch. Though convenient, this led to tough meat and gelatinous sauces across the board. Nutritional information was not included in deliveries and impossible to find on the hard-to-navigate website.
BistroMD’s online user experience lacked, too. Just like our struggle to find nutritional information, the navigation also made it nearly impossible to cancel the service. It has add-on services that looked ideal (like nutritional consulting) but were largely inaccessible. All in all, BistroMD isn’t worth the cost or effort.
- Interview with Bonnie Taub-Dix on February 25, 2022.
- “Current evidence on health benefits of the mediterranean diet,” Medical Review of Chile (2016).
- “Health benefits of the mediterranean diet: metabolic and molecular mechanisms,” The Journals of Gerontology (March 2018).
- “Definitions and potential health benefits of the Mediterranean diet: views from experts around the world,” BMC Medicine (July 2014).
- “Health Benefits of Mediterranean Diet,” Nutrients (August 2019).
- “Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet: An Update of Research Over the Last 5 Years,” Angiology (2015).
- “Environmental footprints of Mediterranean versus Western dietary patterns: beyond the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet,” Environmental Health (December 2013).
Our research and review process is intended for informational purposes only—never as a substitute for medical treatment, diagnosis, or advice. Recommendations or information found on this site do not infer a doctor-patient relationship. Always consult a healthcare provider if you have questions about how a product, service, or intervention may impact your individual physical or mental health. Our evaluations of products, services, and interventions have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. Information and research about health changes frequently. Therefore, some details or advice on this site may not be up-to-date with current recommendations. The Nessie is an independent publication and is not in any way affiliated with the production or creation of products, providers, services, or interventions featured in reviews or articles on the site.