July 21, 2024


Outstanding health & fitness

Best healthy food subscription boxes 2021: From smoothies to ready meals

The new year tends to bring about a time of reflection and healthy promises. For some that might mean trying to up your veggie intake, or switching to grass-fed meat. For others, cutting calories will be your goal. In short, healthy eating will mean different things to different people.

As Georgia Cummings, founder & CEO of Potage, explains: “Healthy eating is a balance of quality, quantity and frequency, and each person’s diet varies depending on their own activity level, nutritional needs and goals.”

These healthy food subscriptions are designed to help you with that, making it easier than ever to make great choices for your body, whatever your objective. So whether you’re looking to stock the freezer, overhaul your snack habit, or just hand over the prep to somebody else, we’ve found a healthy food subscription to get 2021 off to a great start.

When putting these services to the test, we were looking for boxes packed with a variety of great quality, whole foods, in sensible portions. First and foremost they had to taste fantastic, but they needed to be just as good for our insides as they were on the taste buds.

Delivered nationwide, the following boxes are available on various frequencies, to suit you. Many offer one-off taster boxes too so you can try before committing. So without further ado, these are the boxes we’ll be signing up for, to ensure breakfast, lunch and dinner is as healthy as can be.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Honestly Good smoothie subscription

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so rather than shoving bread in the toaster while sleepily making coffee (again!), we’d suggest signing up for a regular delivery of nutritious smoothie pouches. The flavours are far more exciting than anything we’d manage to come up with – including the seasonal “happy hemp” with lime, mango, cucumber, spinach, almonds, and hemp seeds.

They taste fantastic and couldn’t be easier to make. Just add the frozen contents to your blender, add 270ml liquid of your choice (the brand gives recommendations but we just used almond milk as that’s what we had to hand) and 30 seconds later you’re tucking into at least one of your five a day. Genius! Choose from an all-green box, a fruity box or a variety box for, er, more variety. All the ingredients are certified organic and you can choose from six, 10 or 20 pouches, delivered weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

Grubby recipe box

You’ll probably be familiar with the major recipe kit companies by now, but Grubby is the latest to go nationwide and we reckon you’ll love them. All meals are nutritiously balanced, plant-based and designed to be on the table in under 30 minutes. Delivered with minimal packaging, you’ll also get a Spotify prep-playlist for a kitchen boogie. Portions are really decent, and recipes change each week. You might be tucking into the likes of butternut quesadillas or miso aubergine with sticky coconut rice – yum. Choose from either two or three meals, for two people, delivered each week – and swap between the two depending on your plans.

Potage subscription

Potage delivers deliciously nourishing meals, designed for two people, to your door. The seasonal menu is kept deliberately tight, with recipes handmade and flash-frozen to lock in nutrients and flavour. All the meals contain a minimum of five different vegetables and wherever possible local, British ingredients. We loved the lasagne, classic fish pie and Thai green chicken curry. It’s less about calorie counting here, and more about enjoying fantastic, home-cooked food (with someone else doing the cooking for you!).

You can really taste the love and care that’s gone into every bite. We can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t benefit from a subscription, although they’d make a particularly fantastic gift for new parents. Fill your box with either five or 10 meals and subscribe to save 10 per cent.

The Dorset Meat Company the ketogenic diet meat box

Here at IndyBest, we don’t believe in faddy diets. However, regardless of whether you’re following the keto diet or not (which is based on high fat, adequate-protein and low carbohydrate meals), it’s always a good idea to stock the freezer with top quality meat. For 2021, we’re keen to be more mindful of the meat we eat, choosing high-welfare cuts, which is better for us and the planet. This box, containing the likes of grass-fed rump steaks, meatballs and outdoor-reared pork belly, ensures we never have a “I don’t know what to make for tea” moment again. Choose from a one-off delivery, or subscribe to receive every week, fortnight, or month.

Balance Box

Don’t fancy such a hands-on approach? Balance Box offers three fully prepped meals and two snacks per day, based on either 1,200 calories if you choose the lighter box or about 1,800 in the “market plan”. We got the latter and couldn’t believe how big the portions were – you won’t be going hungry that’s for sure. A typical day might look like banana and blueberry bircher for breakfast, tuna nicoise for lunch and chilli con carne for dinner, with fruit, nuts and bars for snacks. With absolutely no chopping, weighing or measuring required, it’s ideal for those looking for a proper reset, with absolutely no effort. Choose from a three, four or seven-day package, or subscribe to receive the box of your choice each week for four weeks.

Chefly weekly subscription

When working late it can be so tempting to order a takeaway. Instead, we found Chefly’s vac-packed meals handy to have on standby for mid-week munching. They arrive in recyclable packaging, merely requiring you to pop in the microwave for three minutes before tucking in. Meals are delivered each Wednesday and you can select a four, six, nine or 12-week plan. The only slight drawback is that meals don’t change, but there are 20 to choose from. We liked the protein-rich grilled bavette steak with roasted sweet potato, cavolo nero, aduki beans and quinoa.

Tastily subscription

In a similar vein to the above, Tastily ready meals can be heated in the microwave or oven and contain between 400-500 calories (or 600-700 if you upgrade to large). Each one has at least three portions of veggies, the packaging is recyclable and 10 per cent of profits are given to charity. They don’t taste as homemade as Potage, but if you’re short on time, like Chefly, these can be handy to have in the fridge. We tried the festive Christmas turkey steak with roasted veg and pigs in blankets, and the chipotle roast salmon. Meals can be rated, and if you refer a friend you both get £20 credit towards your next delivery.

Treat Trunk subscription

As much as we’d love to pretend we always go for a healthy piece of fruit when the mid-afternoon snack attack strikes, we don’t. This delightful monthly box contains 20-25 healthy snacks across a wide range of exciting brands. We really felt like we got our money’s worth, with the likes of large sharer bags of Proper Chips and Doisy and Dam dark chocolate orange balls. Protein-packed snack bars kept hunger pains at bay and individual tea bags kept us hydrated. It’s like having an unlocked vending machine in your kitchen.

Fiid subscription

With more of us working from home these days, it can be tricky to come up with something cheap, healthy and quick for lunch (sometimes we really miss Pret!). These pouches are ideal for when you’ve had back to back Zoom calls and no time to think about what you’re going to eat. There are just four flavours in the range, for now, all of which are vegan and contain three of your five a day. Ready in just two minutes, they’re high in protein and fibre and have a long shelf life so will wait in your cupboard until you need them. Choose to get one, two or three cases of your favourite flavours (we liked the Italian sun dried tomato and lentil ragu) delivered to your door each month. Each case contains six individually packed meals for one.

Love Free From monthly discovery subscription box

If you or someone you love has recently discovered they have a food intolerance, a regular box full of goodies which are safe to eat will make their day. Each Love Free From box contains around 12 items – it could be sweet, savoury, or even drinks, and the contents will always be worth more than you pay. There are three boxes – gluten-free, gluten and dairy-free or gluten and oat-free – and if you find something you like, discount codes for you to re-purchase. Brands included the likes of Joe & Seph’s, Tribe and new discovery Pip’s hot chocolate.

The Brook subscription

The idea for The Brook was developed when founder Thea, discovered she had an intolerance to dairy. Originating as a restaurant, the brand’s home-cooked, plant-based meals are flash-frozen and delivered in environmentally-friendly packaging. Mix and match from the likes of “seafood” stew, and black bean chilli, as well as cold-pressed juices to make a box of eight items, delivered to your door as often as you’d like.  Just pop them in the oven or microwave for a healthy meal in minutes.

The verdict: Healthy food subscriptions

We love the idea of starting the day with a fun, fruit and veg packed smoothie and was so impressed by the slick offer from Honestly Good. We’ll also be turning to Potage and The Dorset Meat Company to fill the freezer and we’ll be handing two nights of the week over to our new favourite recipe kit, Grubby.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.