By Jamey Powell
Jamey Powell is a writer, editor, and actor living in Brooklyn, NY. Previously the senior market editor at Healthline.com, she has years of experience scouring endless product reviews and testing out the latest and greatest products in the sleep, fitness, and nutrition markets.
Image by Charday Penn / iStock
Image by Charday Penn / iStock
July 31, 2022
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Premade meals and meal kits are an easy way to buy back some precious time and energy throughout your week. And if you're someone with diabetes, it can also take the guesswork out of meal planning.
"When it comes to meals for folks with diabetes, the two most important things to consider are timing (eating regularly) and the pairing of nutrients," says Shana Minei Spence, M.S., RDN, CDN. "Diabetes can be managed without a premade meal or kit, but for some it might make things easier—especially if the amount of carbs, fat, and protein are listed out."
Luckily, there are several meal delivery services out there that prioritize diabetic-friendly diets, such as low-carb, paleo, or keto, which are suggested to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. If you're looking for a little help with the prep and planning of your meals, read on for our picks of the best meal delivery services for diabetics.
What to consider with prepared meals for diabetics.
Recent studies have found that diets like low-carb, paleo, and keto may help folks with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. Several meal delivery services prioritize these diets, which makes meal planning a little easier for diabetics.
"It's important to look for meals that are balanced," says Spence. "Does your plate have a good amount of carbs, fat, and protein? Conscious pairing of carbohydrates with fat and protein will help prevent a sudden spike in sugars."
"Many times people are hyper-focused on work and other activities and they go hours without eating," says Spence. "Eating regularly throughout the day is extremely important in order to keep blood sugars stabilized." Premade meals can help even the busiest people make time to sit down and enjoy a meal. And if you're someone who doesn't mind spending 15 to 40 minutes pulling a meal together, meal kits cut out the shopping and chopping of cooking for you.
How much do diabetic meal delivery services cost?
The cost of a meal delivery subscription will often vary depending on the subscription size or how many servings you receive each week. Some plans can drop as low as $5 a serving with larger subscription sizes, while others start significantly higher up at $14 to $15 per serving.
Of course, shipping can also play a big part in the overall cost of your meal delivery. Some services offer free shipping with larger orders, while others have flat-rate shipping. Don't worry: We'll go over the shipping costs of each brand below!
How we picked:
We prioritized brands that use organic or sustainably sourced ingredients and recyclable packaging.
Each featured brand offer paleo, keto, low-carb, or plant-based meals, all of which are suited for people with diabetes.
Everyone's budget is different, so we selected a variety of price points to fit your lifestyle.
We stuck to brands that offer a wide range of cuisines—who says premade meals have to be boring?
mbg's picks for the best diabetic-friendly meal delivery services of 2022:
- Designed specifically for diabetes
- Sustainably sourced ingredients
- Expensive shipping
- Designed specifically for diabetes
Dietary considerations: Diabetes, Weight management, Low-carb, Gluten-free, Heart-healthy, Menopause-friendly
Max meals per week: 21
Shipping fee: $19.95
Type: Frozen single-serve entrées, Snacks
As you'll notice from the website, BistroMD is catered heavily toward weight loss. However they do have an extensive menu that's designed specifically for folks with diabetes, too. All of the meals on BistroMD's Diabetic Friendly Program contain 25 grams or less of net carbohydrates, which is designed to help manage blood glucose levels. They're single-serving meals, but a lot of reviewers praise the generous portion sizes.
BistroMD offers a 5- or 7-day diabetic meal plan that includes lunches and dinners with the option to tag on breakfast. Once you've selected, you can further customize your plan to meet your schedule and choose from 150 dietitian-designed entrées each week.
And if you want to take a break or cancel, you can at any time. However, the biggest negative for this service is the shipping costs; you'll likely get the shipping fee waived on your first order thanks to promos, but it'll cost you around $20 per shipment after that.
-Pork tenderloin with whole grain mustard sauce
-Roasted tofu and ancient grain salad bowl
Sustainability Quality: While they don't have a focus on organic ingredients, BistroMD partners with local, family-owned farms whenever they can, and sources environmentally responsible seafood and hormone-free chicken and beef. They also provide a full list of banned ingredients, which are mostly artificial ingredients and preservatives. Almost all of BistroMD's packaging is curbside recyclable) and they offer suggestions about how to repurpose anything that isn't).
Cost: From $10 per serving with 7-day subscription
- Customizable menu, wide variety
- Responsibly sourced meat, organic produce
- Shipping costs can add up
- No single-serve option for meal kits
Dietary considerations: Low-carb, Gluten-free, Diabetic-friendly, Vegetarian, Paleo, Clean-eating, Pescatarian, Mediterranean
Max meals per week: 5
Shipping fee: $9.99
Type: Meal kit, Fresh entrée, Pantry items
Sunbasket is a great option for folks who want to prioritize sustainably sourced, organic ingredients. Both its fresh, premade meals and meal kits are available in a wide range of dietary preferences, including a diabetic-friendly filter for maximum ease.
If you're someone who enjoys spending some time in the kitchen, the meal kits will take you anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes to prepare (all of the ingredients come pre-portioned). One of the best parts about Sunbasket is that you can mix and match meal kits and premade meals under one subscription, just not in the same box. They even have a few pantry items that you can pop in your box each week so you can take one less trip to the grocery store.
-Indian fish curry with tamarind and onions over cauliflower rice
-Sichuan glass noodle bowl with pork, cabbage, and carrots
Sustainability Quality: Sunbasket uses organic produce, eggs, yogurt, and tofu, as well as responsibly sourced, hormone-free meat and seafood. Plus, all of Sunbasket's packaging is made from recycled materials like paper and denim, so it's easy to recycle or compost. Like BistroMD, Sunbasket has a how-to page dedicated to recycling their packaging.
Cost: Dinners start at $10 per serving
- CCOF-certified organic
- Easy to follow, creative recipes
- Average 30-min time commitment
- No diabetes-specific filter
Dietary considerations: Vegetarian, Paleo, Mediterranean, Keto, Vegan
Max meals per week: 4
Shipping fee: $9.99
Type: Meal kit
Meal kits are an excellent way for anyone looking to hone their culinary skills to gain some easy experience. Cooking a Green Chef meal can take anywhere between 15 and 40 minutes, but all of the portioning (and most of the chopping) is already handled for you.
The meals are creative but accessible, so there are bound to be several items on the menu that call to you each week. Green Chef doesn't have a specific filter on its menu for diabetics (or a filter to weed out potential allergens), but they do call out paleo and keto recipes. Plus, all ingredients are clearly marked on the recipe cards, so you can always leave out something that's not a fit for your diet.
-Thai coconut chicken soup with carrots, red bell pepper, shiitakes, and black sesame seeds
-Roasted curry pork chops with cauliflower rice, kale, mango chutney, and almonds
Sustainability Quality: As the name suggests, Green Chef puts an emphasis on using sustainably sourced ingredients and partnering with smaller farms. They are a certified business by the California Certified Organic Farmers Foundation (CCOF), and Green Chef's kits are both carbon and plastic offset.
Cost: $13 per serving
- Affordable meals
- Sustainably sourced ingredients
- Not as many low-carb options
- Doesn't ship everywhere
Dietary considerations: Vegetarian, Vegan, High-protein
Max meals per week: 18
Type: Frozen single-serve entrées
Mosaic Foods is a plant-based meal delivery service that offers smoothies, plant-crust pizzas, veggie bowls, and family-style vegetarian and vegan meals. The menu isn't catered to low-carb diets, but it does clearly list the nutrition facts on each item. Plus, the system uses tags on each meal to highlight high-protein recipes, as well as meals without added sugar.
Mosaic Foods' subscription model is based on items (you can mix-and-match smoothies, pizzas, full meals, etc.), so the total cost varies by what you choose to pop in your box each week. But shipping is free for boxes with 12 and 18 items, which helps make them a more affordable option than a lot of other delivery services. Another great perk: For every box sold, Mosaic donates two pounds of food to City Harvest, a New York City nonprofit that helps feed families in need.
-Curried lentil shepherd's pie
-Pepper, feta olive ragout
Sustainability Quality: All of Mosaic Foods' meals are frozen to extend shelf life and reduce food waste—both during manufacturing and at customers' homes. Its recipes are always free of preservatives and artificial ingredients, and the company sources fruit, veggies, and grains from small, local farms. What's more, all of Mosaic Foods' packaging is curbside recyclable, from the foil tins and paper cups to the box your meals arrive in.
Cost: From $5 per serving for family meals
- Relatively affordable
- Extensive filter for dietary preferences
- Less flexible plan
- Doesn't deliver to every city
Dietary considerations: Low-carb, Gluten-free, Paleo, Keto, Whole30, Soy-free, Dairy-free
Max meals per week: 12
Shipping fee: Free
Type: Fresh entrée
Snap Kitchen offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals designed by a registered dietitian. All meals are free of gluten, soy, artificial preservatives, and artificial sweeteners. While it's not an extensive menu, it does have paleo, keto, and low-carb-specific recipes that suit diabetics. Plus, meals rotate often, so you can try new things each month.
We picked Snap Kitchen as a budget-friendly option because the 12-meal subscription comes to $11 per serving, which is significantly more affordable than other premade meal delivery services. On the downside, it has only two subscription plans available (6 or 12 meals) and doesn't ship everywhere (yet!).
-Buffalo ranch burger with loaded roasted cauliflower
-Baja shrimp taco salad with pickled slaw and mango salsa
Snap Kitchen uses organic ingredients where possible, and sources meat and produce from farmers that practice mindful, sustainable farming. It also uses curbside recyclable materials for the packaging.
Cost: From $11 per serving
What makes diabetic-friendly meals different?
Diabetic-friendly meals take the breakdown of carbohydrates, fat, and protein into account to provide a balance that will help manage your blood glucose levels.
Are there premade meals for diabetes?
Several services provide specific premade menus for diabetes-friendly diets like paleo, keto, low-carb, and plant-based—however, some services like BistroMD cater its premade meals specifically to diabetics.
How much do meal delivery services cost?
Meal delivery services range anywhere from $5 to $15 per serving, depending on your subscription size, portion size, and meal type (premade meals or meal kits).
Does HelloFresh offer diabetes-friendly meals?
HelloFresh doesn't have a diabetes-specific menu, but it offers low-carb meal kits, which might be a fit—you're likely better off with its sister brand, Green Chef, which has keto and paleo meal kit options.
Does Blue Apron?
Blue Apron doesn't have a diabetes-specific menu, but they offer low-carb meals and WW-approved meals, which might be a fit—just be sure to read the nutrition facts.
Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is key for diabetics—but shopping and prepping a week's worth of meals can be tough. Whether you're looking for a diabetic-specific plan like BistroMD or are following a diabetes-friendly diet like paleo, there are several brands out there that aim to make mealtime a little easier.
And if there wasn't a fit for you on this list, take a peek at our lists of the best keto and best paleo meal delivery services.