- Healthy, convenient and good for the planet — it's a win all round

Ready meals used to conjure images of gross, preservative-loaded dishes that you zapped in the microwave until they were totally tasteless. But meal delivery services are changing all that.

These services are the perfect option if you’re short on time during the working week and aren’t able to whip up dinner from scratch, or want to save money buying lunch out every day. Plus they’re delicious, so you don’t have to sacrifice on taste for the convenience factor.

Now there are a whole bunch of companies that will bring healthy *and* delicious plant-based meals straight to your door. Whether you’re vegan, flexitarian or just trying to eat a little less meat, these are a great convenient way to stay healthy.

Here are the ones we think you should know about…

1) Thistle

With Thistle you get fully prepared meals that are ready to eat - either salads you can eat straight from the (recyclable) container, or bowls, curries and stews that just need a couple of minutes in the skillet. Delivery is free and you can customize the plans to fit your life.

Thistle deliver to the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Davis, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County. They also ship to across California and parts of Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

To get an idea of the kind of meals Thistle offer, this week’s menu features a pumpkin and butter bean curry and a Balinese gado gado salad. The grub tastes fresh and delicious, too — not like any ready meal we’ve ever tasted.

2) Sakara

Sakara is aimed at the clean-eating, yoga tribe. Sakara offer organic, plant-based meals. They use ingredients from sustainable, organic farms and superfoods for dishes like chickpea pasta, brown rice bibimbap and banana superfood muffins.

3) Territory

Territory has a whole crew of nutritionists and food experts on board to make sure they offer healthy meals. Responsibly sourced and free of refined sugar, dairy and gluten, Territory delivers meals that have been cooked by a network of local chefs. The company also helps to fight food waste and hunger through the Feeding America program. It delivers meals in DC, NYC, Philadelphia, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Dallas. They have a bunch of filters on their meals so you can highly adapt them to fit your diet and lifestyle. They do offer meat meals as well.

4) Veestro

Veestro delivers meals that are vegan and organic - you just heat them up in the microwave or oven. They’re tasty and affordable, at around $9 per meal. Enjoy dishes like jackfruit pozole, soba noodles in peanut sauce and mushroom stroganoff.

5) Epicured

If you’re struggling with digestive issues, Epicured might be the one for you. It’s a subscription meal delivery services that specialises in low FODMAP meals. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. They’re a group of natural sugars that can be difficult for some people to digest — and can cause IBS. Epicured makes meals that are designed to support gut health and are approved by a dietician. They’re not exclusively vegan and they deliver across the North East.

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