A meal kit perfect for those who need single-serving only dishes

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short ribs and succotash on a white plate

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Pros and Cons

  • Many dietary meal options

  • "Set up call" to assist with first-time orders

  • Can send meals as gifts

  • Shipping can be expensive

  • Inaccurate heating times provided

Our Take is a frozen meal service that delivers à la carte and single-serving meals for a variety of dietary needs, geared toward older people or hospital discharge patients. The company boasts an impressive customer service program, but the frozen meals can lack flavor.


short ribs and succotash on a white plate

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi is a prepared frozen meal service that caters to seniors, adults, and families with busy lives. The company appeals to many dietary needs, including renal- and dialysis-friendly, low-sodium, and gluten-free. Customers can choose from a variety of à la carte options, such as soups and salads, or complete meals, which are all flash-frozen. may be right for people who have recently been discharged from the hospital and require easy-to-prepare, “heat and eat” meals. These meals also can be given as sympathy gifts or to new parents, college students, and others who might appreciate the ease of this type of meal service. We reviewed by testing several meals to see what this service is all about.

We spent months researching, ordering, testing, eating, and writing about 40 different meal delivery services. Our testers wrote in-depth reviews and filled out detailed surveys about each company, which we used to assign an overall score to each one.

Learn More: Read Our Full Methodology

Company Overview was founded in 2005 in Northern California by CEO Greg Miller. The company was designed to bring healthy, quality meals to seniors and busy families. Today, it's located in Kansas City, KS and has expanded to include mobile apps for both and Magic Skillet Meals.

How It Works: 2 Plans Available offers two types of meal plans: an à la carte option to build the meals you want or need or fully prepared meals. You may enroll in a recurring meal plan or subscription, or do a one-time order for yourself. You can also send a one-time order to a recipient. Older people are encouraged to call and speak to a customer service representative to see if their healthcare plan can help offset the costs of the meals.

The service ships via FedEx or UPS from the company's Kansas City, KS location, and we found shipping to be quite expensive, starting at $18.95 (rates are based on actual weight and shipping distance).

Choosing Meals: Select Whatever You Like

Navigation for selecting the two aforementioned types of meals can be found at the website's header and sidebar. You can also filter by meal type: breakfast, lunch/dinner, snacks, and dessert. You can further filter by a bevy of dietary needs: diabetic, portion-controlled, dialysis-friendly, renal diet, dairy-free, gluten-free, low fat, low sodium, low carb, one serving, and vegetarian.

Additionally, offers a large category of gift package options with curated meals appropriate for a special occasion or need. For example, you could send a bundle of prepared frozen foods as a condolence or sympathy gift package that includes beef bourguignon with magic mashed potatoes; salmon caponata with fresh-cut corn medley; chicken ana luisa, polenta with spinach, and roasted peppers; and smoked boneless pork loin, vegetable stew for two servings. Other gift bundles offered include college meals, birthday meals, corporate gifts, and new parents packages.

When perusing meals on each menu page, small, colorful icons are listed under each recipe to help you select the right dietary choice, such as low sodium, gluten-free, or dialysis-friendly. The company also states whether a particular meal is out of stock, and provides the date when the meal will be available again, which is helpful for those who like to repeatedly order a particular dish.

a prepared meal and a pamphlet from a meal delivery service

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

What We Made

We selected the signature complete meals and chose a mix of vegetarian, seafood, meat, poultry, and a breakfast egg dish. All of the meals were made for one portion, some required a microwave, and some were gluten-free. We tried to order a few bestsellers to get a sense of the popular dishes.

Here is what we made:

  • Cheese tortellini with pesto and mixed vegetables
  • Beef short ribs, chayote black bean succotash, and Oaxacan-inspired mole
  • Chicken breast with mushroom marsala sauce, vegetables, and mashed red potatoes
  • Salmon caponata with orzo and spinach
  • Cheese omelet, broccoli, and cinnamon apples
a graphic for a magic kitchen meal

The Spruce Eats / Amelia Manley

Support Materials: Catalogue for Future Ordering

Our package included a catalog, which was placed on the exterior of the delivery box and wrapped tightly in plastic. The catalog identifies and shows a list of items available to order alongside pricing. Options include homestyle soups, bread, magic skillet dishes, meats, poultry, pasta, sides, desserts, and complete meals.

a catalogue of food items to order

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Packaging: Styrofoam and Lots of Dry Ice

The delivery box arrived via FedEx in a large white styrofoam box plastic-wrapped, which was helpful as our delivery was made on a rainy day. Inside the white styrofoam box was a stapled packet of papers with a packing list and an important reminder printed out, explaining how to remove meals from the cooler; dry ice precautions; reheating instructions; information about the company’s guarantee; and reviews and comments. Below the paper instructions was a cardboard box that was taped shut. Within the cardboard box were packing bubbles and the flash-frozen meals.

Beneath the box containing the food was a piece of brown paper and five bags of dry ice in five plastic bags.

Some meals were placed in black trays with a plastic lid and a sticker label with the title of the meal, cooking instructions, ingredients, and nutritional facts. Others were wrapped in plain white sleeves and placed in papery-plastic trays, sealed in plastic. Stickers were also included with the same information as above.

prepared meals in a styrofoam box

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

The Cooking Process: Mostly Microwave With Uneven Heating

Most of our meals had cooking issues when microwaved. We’d usually start with the minimum heating instructions and then add from there. For example, with the beef short rib dish, we followed the instructions for heating for 3 to 5 minutes. We heated for 3 minutes and some of the sauce had burned, yet most of the dish was cold and the beef was still partially frozen.

When we microwaved the chicken marsala dish, we started with the minimum time, but the meal was still frozen, so we added the additional 2 minutes. After we inspected the dish, parts of the marsala sauce had burned to a crisp as well. The salmon caponata dish also did not heat evenly or thoroughly. And, unfortunately, the apple sauce in the egg omelet also burned during the cooking process.

We did not experience heating issues with the pasta pesto dish.

One other note: We found that, for the meals that were microwaved in the papery-plastic trays, it was difficult to remove the plastic film after they were heated. The heating instructions said to keep the film in place, as the heat of the microwave was supposed to lift the film. However, the corners of the tray kept ripping when we’d try to remove the plastic film, which was frustrating.

pesto tortellini and green beans

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Flavor, Freshness, and Quality: Flash-Frozen, Bland Meals

Overall, our tasting panel found the meals to be unexciting and a bit bland. The first meal our tasting panel tried was a tortellini pesto with mixed vegetables. The vegetables included chopped-up carrots, peas, corn, string beans, and lima beans, similar to the frozen mixed medley you may have grown up with. The vegetables were mushy and overcooked. The pesto was quite mild, and we could barely taste the basil or cheese in the sauce.

Our tasting panel had a difficult time enjoying the short rib meal. The only heating instructions provided were for microwaves (and we don’t love microwaving meat, especially beef). We followed the heating instructions and managed to overcook the sauce in some places and underheat it in others. The dish had an overall unappealing appearance. The beef looked dry, the mole sauce was partially burned and undercooked, and the vegetables looked like another frozen medley. Upon tasting, once the short rib was cooked through, it was tender but the rest of the meal had an off-taste and was a bit unappetizing.

Upon inspecting our chicken marsala out of the freezer, the entire entrée looked freezer-burned. We cooked it in the microwave for 3 minutes as instructed, and most of the meal was cold, so we cooked it for an additional 2 minutes. After it was cooked for a total of 5 minutes, the marsala sauce looked very unappetizing; part of the sauce was burned and had nearly crusted over, and the other part of the sauce looked almost like dried baby food. The chicken had a freezer taste as did the mashed potatoes. This was not one of our favorite dishes.

The salmon caponata had some strengths and weaknesses. The orzo was mushy with a lack of flavoring despite the basil and caper, but the actual caponata sauce was well seasoned. Unfortunately, we found the salmon to be dry as it was heated in the microwave.

The egg omelet we tasted was a bit watery and the cheese was reminiscent of creamy processed cheese. The applesauce had burned in some spots and was very tart, and the broccoli didn’t have any seasoning, so it was quite bland.

All in all, we encountered cooking and flavoring issues with nearly all of our dishes.

We followed the heating instructions and managed to overcook the sauce in some places and underheat it in others.

Nutritional Value: Serves a Variety of Dietary Needs tends to be marketed toward older people or discharged hospital patients who require specific dietary needs. Many of our meals tended to be low in calories, high in protein, and also higher in fat and sodium.

Here is a nutritional breakdown of each of the meals our tasting panel tried:

  • Cheese tortellini with pesto and mixed vegetables: 770 calories, 35g fat, 9g saturated fat, 85g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 30g protein, 6g sugar, 67mg cholesterol, 1000mg sodium
  • Beef short ribs, chayote black bean succotash, and Oaxacan-inspired mole: 520 calories, 34g fat, 12g saturated fat, 38g carbohydrates, 12g fiber, 19g protein, 5g sugar, 50mg cholesterol, 1290mg sodium
  • Chicken breast with mushroom marsala sauce, vegetables, and mashed red potatoes: 320 calories, 9g fat, 4g saturated fat, 37g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 24g protein, 4g sugar, 85mg cholesterol, 1020mg sodium
  • Salmon caponata with orzo and spinach: 280 calories, 14g fat, 2g saturated fat, 7g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 34g protein, 4g sugar, 70mg cholesterol, 240mg sodium
  • Cheese omelet, broccoli, and cinnamon apples: 250 calories, 13g fat, 5g saturated fat, 10g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 13g protein, 12g sugar, 245mg cholesterol, 600mg sodium 
beef short ribs and succotash in a black meal tray

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi Is Good For is good for older people and individuals who may be interested in homestyle, one-serving meals that can be made in minutes, and who may require special diets, such as diabetes- and renal-friendly foods. Is Not Good For is not good for people who enjoy cooking and want spice-forward meals.

Add-ons: À La Carte

Since is essentially a mail-order meal service, you can select any of the à la carte items, such as soups and bread; main courses and sous vide meals; side servings of vegetables and grains; and desserts.

Customer Service: Warm and Friendly offers telephone support, email, and online form assistance. The company also offers a call-back system. On the top navigation header, click on “Meal Programs,” and select “Set Up Call.” After filling out a brief questionnaire about the best time to be reached, a customer service representative will call you to help you get started. We thought that was a nice feature for folks who are new to ordering food services online. An international phone line is also available for customers calling from outside the U.S. We used the online submission form to ask a question about what to do if a meal appears to be frost burned. We sent in our question on a Tuesday and received an automated email that our message was received, but we did not receive an email response.

We also used the direct phone number and were immediately connected to a warm and friendly customer service representative who was kind and helpful. We asked her about the freezer burn and she assured us that meals are flash-frozen when they are warm, so oftentimes crystals appear on the food, but the food itself is not freezer burned.

Making Changes and Canceling: Easy

While does offer a subscription program, you can use the service and order the meals without creating a subscription, which is great, especially if you plan to use the meals to send to a recipient as a gift.

Final Verdict is recommended for seniors, busy adults and families, and people with specific dietary restrictions looking for meals with easy preparation. However, the food can taste bland, and many meals do not heat evenly. Additionally, the containers can be difficult to open (which may be challenging for some users).

Guide to Choosing a Meal Kit

Diet Options offers a large variety of meals for different dietary needs, including diabetic-friendly, portion-controlled, dialysis-friendly, renal diet (CKD 3&4), dairy-free, gluten-free, low-fat, low-sodium, low-carb, senior, and vegetarian programs.


According to, the average cost of a meal is between $12 and $60 plus shipping. The Flex Subscription Plan includes discounts and starts at $200 per month (orders above $100 receive free shipping).


All menu items listed on are made with ingredients that are free of antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides. When choosing which meals to order, the website lists all ingredients for each individual item.


Our testers ordered from and carefully scored the company based on meal selection, the ordering and cooking process, nutritional information, sustainability, and customer service. They considered the flavor, freshness, and quality of each meal and ingredient. was also scored based on the sustainability and recyclability of its packaging and support materials.

Our Spruce Eats tester panel includes dietitians, chefs, and longtime food writers. The one thing they all have in common is their love and knowledge of food.


  • Product Name
  • Lowest Price per Serving $10
  • Number of Diets Served 11
  • Number of Recipes 100+
  • Delivery Area 48 States
  • Serving Sizes Available 1-2