Healthy Meal Delivery for Busy Family

Hello! I'm in the market for someone to help with meal preparation or meal deliveries. I have two very little kids and a full-time job that makes cooking almost impossible.  Delivery every night feels indulgent and unhealthy. Has anyone had good luck with a meal plan or service (a personal chef even...) in the East Bay?

Thank you!


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Dear Elizabeth, in a situation similar to yours, over the years I have tried many of the meal preparation companies. Some involve less prep, with more "basic" meals, and some ask you to do more prep, and you get more interesting meals, recipes you might not have tried yourself. Some are organic, others are not. There is probably something to suit you. Here's the thing. I have always stopped using them because of the waste generated by such a service. All the boxes have to be kept cold so usually there are ice packs that then go in the garbage. Most items in the box, including sauces, meat, vegetables, etc., are in plastic bags or containers, and those containers are inside bigger plastic bags. Getting rid of it all as responsible as possible is a job in and of itself. I would like to recommend you try, if you aren't too far away, Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley on University Avenue. They make organic, local, free-range foods and put them in glass jars. You pick it up or can pay extra to have it delivered. The jars go back and are re-used. It is as healthful and as ethical as it possibly could be. Of course, you have to like their style of cooking. In the end it's not more expensive than a delivery service.  

Hi Elizabeth,

There is a home-made food delivery service called Tiffin Bay ( that delivers home-cooked Indian food that is pretty tasty and varied. The key is to get on their texting database so you receive their bi-weekly menus and can place orders whenever you feel like. (No subscriptions etc.) They text us the menu every Wednesday (for Sunday delivery) and Saturday (for Wednesday delivery), where we make choices on what entrees we want, and have hardly had any repeats. They are pretty healthy and tasty, not oily etc. either and well spiced. Delivery is free. I think it is $60 for: 5 16 oz containers of main entrees (of your choice from the menu), 10 rotis (Indian whole wheat flatbread), and 2 16 oz rice containers. You can also get lesser/more food or less frequent delivery. 

We also tried personal chefs but honestly this was much easier for our lifestyle, and we don't have to worry about groceries, post cooking clean-up, etc.

Hope this helps!

We have been ordering prepared meals for delivery from Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley. All very delicious and healthy, has made our life much easier! Highly recommended!

Totally get this! I’m not sure if she is still doing this but our family used to love having meals made by Chef Traci, so good and healthy too:

Now that the kids are a little older what gets us through is focusing on simple but tasty/healthy meals we cook for Sunday-Tuesday or Wednesday (sometimes it’s a crock pot meal, sometimes meatballs, rotisserie chicken, fish or pork chops we minimally prep the night before). We usually have staples like bread, rice, egg noddles or pasta to have on hand and easy lettuce-carrot/cucumber salads or something easy like green beans or broccoli. 

By Wednesday it’s simple like breakfast for dinner, quesadillas and fruit/cut up veggies, we like the Rao’s soups in a jar. By Thursday it’s kids choice which is always “Mac and cheese and hot dogs” kind of boring but whatever, we made it to Thursday! Alternatively sometimes that night we do taco take out or rice and beans. Friday usually pizza/salad, Saturday take out or dinner out. 

it has helped me greatly to prep (simply!) the night before so I can literally just let heat an oven and throw the pan in and to focus on making a few “bigger” meals like this and being ok with something like scrambled eggs and toast for dinner. If you have room, we got a small overflow freezer and put things like quarts of favorite take out soup, stews, etc in there so it’s easy and available. 

Hope this helps!

Olive.  Tuesday dinners, yum!

They are a husband/wife biz based in Richmond that did catering pre-Covid and they have been doing meal delivery in the East Bay once or twice a week during Covid, currently on Tuesdays only.   My family of 5 has been enjoying their meals every week for a year now. They specialize in Mediterranean/Middle Eastern fare, with many kid-friendly offerings such as meatballs and pasta dishes, and plenty of vege cooked in create ways. You can order online and choose what you want. My picky family loves everything they make!

I’m in the same boat. I use Jessie and Laurent meal delivery a couple times a month (expensive so I don’t do it every week) and also rely heavily on the Rockridge Market Hall (very good value for the quality). I do parking lot pickup at Market Hall, but they also do home delivery for an extra fee. 

We use Greenleaf Provisions. They are a gourmet meal delivery company. Their food is high quality, delicious and they have healthy options. Everything arrives ready to eat and there is plenty for leftovers. You can order through their website. If you have any dietary restrictions just reach out to them and they will work with you.

Hi Elizabeth,

We're in the same boat as you and have tried a few different meal delivery services. Check out freshly. That's the best we could find, within our budget. Good luck. 

We’ve ordered from Shef about 30 times in the last year. The meals arrive cold and you need to reheat but that’s never a problem for us. Also we order at least 3 days in advance. Incredible quality food and good prices. Our kiddo likes the empanadas and middle eastern foods.

Wow these are some incredible recommendations.

Looking forward to checking out so many of these!!! Particularly the Tiffin service. Brilliant. 

My family has been LOVING a meal delivery service called Alab SF.  The chef behind it is Mikki Bunag. He's incredibly talented as well as being a toddler dad who manages to make things that taste incredible but also kiddo friendly.  It's 5-6 nights' worth of food for our family of 3.5.  He uses glass containers which he picks up Tuesdays and drops off Thursdays. Can't really say enough good things about MIkki's food and the calm and camaraderie our cooking-free evenings have created for the family.

Here are more details and his contact:

I second Greenleaf Provisions. I started using them during the pandemic when they pivoted to doing home deliveries (previously they were only a catering company and restaurants). The prepared food is very good, and the customer service is top notch. I don't know what your budget is, but for us it was a once a week indulgence kind of thing (Thursday or Friday night, with some leftovers for next day). Their fried chicken is the best. At our house we used to call it "fried chickenmergency" when we really wanted one...