Services You Need To Know About If You Hate To Cook But Love To Eat

While I actually enjoy cooking, I understand it's not everyone's cup of tea. At the same time, I also understand the feeling when you get home after a long day of work and the last thing you want to do is go through the whole process of making a home-cooked dinner. As a single girl who lives alone, I must admit it's nights like those that often lead me to filling a bowl with cereal, almond milk and tossing in some fruit and calling it good — or walking into Chipotle for the third time in a week to grab a quick and seemingly healthier dinner.

Thankfully, there are services we can use to prevent the cereal or fast food options, whether it's an especially busy week with less time to cook, or you just need one less thing to think about when life is a bit crazy.

Hello Fresh

One great service that's perfect for the busy individual or family is Hello Fresh. There are no fancy techniques or equipment, making this perfect for the at-home cook or busy person just trying to get dinner on the table for their hungry family. The company has an in-house dietician who works to deliver well-balanced and nutritious meals, which you can feel good about eating and serving to your family. They even provide full nutrition information on the recipe card for each meal — along with every ingredient you'll need.

They have a few meal options including the Classic (for 2-4 adults), the Vegetarian, and the Family (2 adults and 2 kids). Sample recipes include balsamic chicken rustico, pork D.I.Y dumplings, crispy chickpea tacos, and one-pan tortelloni pesto gratin.

Blue Apron

If you are someone who finds yourself quickly getting bored of the same old options for dinner, then Blue Apron may be the service for you — the company claims no recipes are repeated in the same year. "We take care of the menu planning and shopping (providing you with fresh, locally sourced ingredients in pre-measured quantities), so all you have to do is cook and enjoy," according to their website. They even have an option to add a monthly wine pairing box to your plan.

Sample meals include chipotle vegetable and farro salad and baked ricotta cannelloni.

Sun Basket

If certified organic, non-GMO and sustainably-sourced meals are your preference, then Sun Basket should be at the top of your meal delivery service list. They work with an award-winning chef and on-staff nutritionist to ensure healthy and delicious meals, while also working to incorporate seasonal ingredients into their weekly meals. You have the option to set paleo, gluten-free or vegetarian preferences.

Some of the delicious meals you can expect with this service include steak and eggs with tomato-cauliflower "rice," orecchiette with Italian sausage and broccoli rabe, and tofu and soba noodles in a miso-ginger broth.

Green Chef

Another USDA certified organic service is Green Chef. According to their website, their foods contain no synthetic pesticides, no artificial ingredients, no growth hormones or antibiotics, and are completely non-GMO. If you're worried about missing the delivery, Green Chef deliveries come in insulated, refrigerated boxes that are also eco-friendly.

Green Chef is "proud to work with only the best producers, including many small family farms. To us, the best means those who operate with respect for the environment and their employees, humane treatment of animals, rigorous quality standards, and sustainable, natural practices."

Some recipes you could expect include orange-balsamic chicken, Italian lamb patties, and kale-mushroom linguine.

Plated

If you've ever found yourself in the struggle of deciding what to eat for dinner, then you'll be excited to hear about Plated. "In less than 5 minutes you can choose recipes, set your delivery day, and find out how delightfully simple meal planning with Plated can be," according to their website. Plated has a variety of meal options to choose from each week, including barbecue turkey meatloaf, tomato poached fish, and green Thai curry.

If you've found a favorite recipe which you want to make again, Plated has what they call "Encore Recipes" which are some of the top-rated recipes that they keep around for the whole month. For the times when your sweet tooth is acting up, Plated has options for that too, with delicious desserts like caramel rocky road bars and chili-dusted frozen hot chocolate.

Purple Carrot

While many other home meal kits do offer a vegetarian menu option, many are rather limited and still contain dairy products, which won't work for the vegans; that's where a service like Purple Carrot comes in. Just like the other meal kits, Purple Carrot sends all of the ingredients you need to prepare delicious meals for the week that will please the whole family — but these ones are all plant-based. They even say a "vast majority of our packaging is reusable, recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable." Perfect for the veggie and environment loving individual or family!

As an added bonus, their website states, "every ingredient comes pre-measured, so there's no guess work and no waste."

Sample recipes include black bean enchiladas with green romesco and cucumber salsa fresca, and winter roasted vegetables over couscous with kalamata olive vinaigrette.

Home Chef

Since we all know weeknights get busy, it's nice to know dinner can come together quickly. One great service that claims their meals come together in about 30 minutes is Home Chef. Their website even says, "say goodbye to long grocery lines, parking lot power-struggles, and Pinterest-induced food fails that leave you ordering takeout at 11 p.m." I think it's safe to say we've all experienced every single one of those things.

One thing that really sets Home Chef apart from the rest is that aside from their 10 dinner options each week, they have add-ons that include breakfast, fruit baskets and even fresh smoothies! Their menu includes a variety of options for everyone who may find their way to your dinner table, including gluten-free, low-carb and seafood options.

Sample menus include Mardi Gras shrimp po'boy, Korean pork noodle bowl, and cremini mushroom and goat cheese tarts.

Freshly

If you like the idea of someone coming up with your menu for you and sending you all the groceries you'll need, but still can't get behind the idea of stepping into your kitchen to do the actual cooking, then you will be happy to hear there are other meal delivery services that will deliver fully prepared and cooked meals right to your door for you. One of these services includes, Freshly, and as their website says, "every Freshly meal saves you at least an hour that you would've spent shopping, cooking and cleaning. Spend more time doing what you love, with people you love."

Freshly meals are "prepared and cooked by our chefs and delivered fresh — never frozen," and are ready for you to reheat in under two minutes. Sample menus include penne bolognese, homestyle meatloaf with creamy potatoes and spinach, and grilled flat iron steak with potato hash and creamed spinach. There are even breakfast options like apple spice breakfast bowl and garden omelette.

Factor 75

If you're following a more strict diet or nutritional protocol, then Factor 75 may be more your style. Factor 75 is another fully-cooked meal delivery service, so once your box arrives, there's no need to do any cooking other than heating up as needed. Their website states, "you'll see new chef-crafted dishes on our menu. Whether you fuel performance like a caveman or pescatarian, we keep things fresh, just like every ingredient we'll ever use. Paleo? No problem. Gluten-free? Done."

Sample menus include beef shepherd's pie, lamb burger with parsnip fries, salmon with avocado sauce, and vegetarian chili. They also have breakfast and dessert add-ons with options like coconut pancakes and coconut and date truffles.

Hire a personal chef

If you're reading this and still nothing about the process of cooking your own meals is sounding appetizing, then you should consider hiring a personal chef. This is going to be a bit more expensive than some of the other options, but it will free up the most time, energy and hassle. With a personal chef you get a customized meal plan to fit your individual tastes, they do the grocery shopping and meal preparation for you, and even handle the storage and clean up. You can find a personal chef in your area and enjoy the delicious and convenient meal without lifting a finger.

Don't store your sweaters in the oven

If you're from the days of Sex and the City, then you likely remember Carrie Bradshaw was not a fan of cooking, nor was she very good at it, even proclaiming that her stove was used to store her sweaters. If that's you, then let me start by asking you to remove the sweaters from the oven and return them to their proper closet location.

Now that we've addressed our safety concerns, I want you to know there is a better way than the daily drive-thru dinner pickup, constant Chinese take-out or your local pizza shop knowing your nightly order. If you've spent your life believing you couldn't cook or didn't enjoy it, I think any of these services are going to bring a whole new life to your kitchen, whether it's one of the options that delivers all of the ingredients and you follow the step-by-step instructions to prepare a delicious and easy meal, or you throw the already prepared meal in the microwave and have dinner ready in less than two minutes, or the addition of your own personal chef. Give one a try, and if that one doesn't work out — try another.