Food, Glorious Food, at Your Doorstep
by Vickey Kalambakal
August 11, 2021
Where do your meals come from, if you don’t cook them yourself?
You can stock your freezer with frozen food, but those meals aren’t fresh. You can phone your favorite bistro and have them deliver – as an everyday practice, though, that gets expensive (and may not be so healthy).
But we all have to eat! So what are your other options?
Pretty vast, actually. These days, a wide range of meal delivery services stand ready to ensure that you get nutritious food when you need it. All sorts of companies are willing to send you prepared meals that you just heat and eat, and some are quite inexpensive.We’ll list the not-for-profit services first.
Meals on Wheels sets the standard, delivering meals to those who are homebound. A nationwide network with affiliates in almost every community, Meals on Wheels delivers two meals a day, Monday through Friday. Prices vary, but because Meals on Wheels depends on volunteers to get the meals out, most charge around only $7 to $9 a day for both meals.
Most Meals on Wheels branches operate independently. Some can accommodate special diets, for diabetics or vegetarians, for example. Some have strict criteria to qualify their customers, some don’t. Thanks to donations and grants, some (not all) serve customers who can’t afford to pay.
Other groups offer a similar service. In Los Angeles County, Project Angel Food brings meals to those with serious illnesses at no charge. In some areas the Salvation Army or local Senior Centers deliver meals.
To find out what’s available in your community, search the web (Google, DuckDuckGo, Bing, etc) or call your local Senior Center or Chamber of Commerce. Check with your Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C) or other insurers as well, because they may cover part of the cost of a meal service – at least on a temporary basis.
A pricier option is Chefs for Seniors, which sends a chef to your home once a week to prepare your meals. They’ll shop for ingredients, prepare up to 12 servings, and leave them in your freezer. Chefs for Seniors serves the South Bay and Westside areas of Los Angeles, northern San Diego, and Contra Costa County. Their costs vary, depending on the meals you want, but plan to spend at least $12 to $15 for each meal, more if you prefer steak and lobster.
Commercially, there are lots of companies that will send out meals to subscribers for a range of prices. You’ve probably seen ads for some of these. They deliver to seniors, but also to working professionals who don’t have time to cook and are sick of fast food. All emphasize nutrition.
Here’s a very short list with links, but the field is growing all the time. These companies deliver freshly prepared meals once or twice a week to your home: meal that will keep in your refrigerator for several days. And most offer very generous discounts for your first orders.
- Freshly sends 4 meals for $11.50 each, and the prices drop the more meals you purchase each week, all the way down to $8.50 for 12 meals. Meal options include “purely plant” and gluten-free. Plenty of veggies are swapped in. Freshly doesn’t note their shipping fee up front so we checked for you. Shipping is $5.99 for the 4 or 6 meal plan, $7.99 for 8, $9.99 for 10 and $11.99 for 12.There’s a contact page noted in their footer and a call to their listed phone, 844-FRESHLY, explains very well and lets you speak to a friendly, helpful person. They also have an app. You can go all the signup without placing an order. If you have any problems or need assistance, a real person at customer service can walk you through.
- Factor75 offers meals (including vegetarian), snacks, and drinks. Prices vary depending on the number of meals in your plan. For example, 4 meals are $15 each, 12 are $11.50 each, down to 18 for $11 per meal. (15% discount for licensed caregivers.) Delivery is free. This is a Chicago-based company, so for California meals come via Federal Express.If you’re met with a box that wants your email, ignore it and visit all around the site. You can also speak to them at 888.573.5727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, both listed in their footer, for details or help getting started or making changes.They also have an app.
- Sunbasket Fresh & Ready meals, which include various dietary options such as vegetarian, are $12 for 4, as low as $9 each when ordering 10. There is a 4 meal minimum for each order, and freight is a flat $10. Sunbasket also sells meal kits.You’ll find their contact info on this page. Their number is 866-786-2758 and of course they’ll help you get started or make changes. They also have an app.
- Everytable delivers meals, as well as wraps, snacks and drinks, to Los Angeles County as well as parts of adjoining areas. They are expanding rapidly to cover most of Southern CA. Most meals are $8.50. Delivery is $7 per delivery (waived on orders of $65). Their meals are guaranteed for four days, and they will deliver twice a week to you. If you need help setting up your account, there’s a chat or call 213-444-5524. As with each service, if the team is busy it may take a day (worst case, two) for them to return your call.
Everytable also has several walk-in casual eateries called storefronts, with more opening soon, so anyone can come in and purchase the same meals to eat there or take home.
- Sprinly sends vegan, plant-based, meals each week. They are gluten-free, without refined sugars or artificial preservatives, and are typically organic. Although not certified kosher (yet), their equipment is 100% vegan. Choose 6 meals for $109, 12 for $199, or 18 for $289. There’s no deliver fee. They have limited availability in California at this time so give it a try and try again later. Their contact info is right in their site’s footer.
- Little Green Forks is a health and wellness driven food delivery and catering service. They make hearty and delicious 100% whole-food, plant-based, low-fat entrees, soups and salads from hand-selected produce. Thet do not cook with or use animal products or byproducts. Additionally, to keep the food low-fat, they do not use coconut, avocado, nuts (except for small amounts in almond milk), or peanuts. Occasionally, they use small amounts of seeds, but only as a garnish or condiment, never as the main substrate of our dish. Some dishes contain gluten. They deliver to the west or central San Gabriel Valley and throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Pick up at their Duarte office is free. Cost is about $5-7 for a typical lunch portion and $8-10 for a typical dinner portion. Delivery is $8 for local delivery, $15 for other areas. See this FAQ page. You can call them at (626) 387-FORK (3675).
Little Green Forks founder John Tanner, PhD also founded Nutrition Science (NuSci.org), to help people prevent and reverse disease.
If you like ethnic food, Sunbasket and Everytable should really entice you.
All the services we checked allow you to skip weeks, switch the menu or delivery day, and make other changes as long as you give them sufficient notice (for most, that’s 5-7 days before the delivery date). Be sure to ask how, because once you set up a subscription, those meals will be delivered!
Vickey Kalambakal is a long-time Meals on Wheels volunteer.
This article is brought to you by LA Elder Law: Joe Girard, Esq. & Walt Whitaker JD, MBA
Joe & Walt wish you happy eating
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