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These celiac-friendly meal kits make weeknight dinners easy.
Since their start more than a decade ago, meal delivery services have come a long way in delivering delicious food for a variety of dietary needs. Whether you’re looking for affordable meal delivery to fit your budget, healthy meal kits focused on more whole foods or pre-prepared meal delivery so you don’t have to touch a frying pan, there is something out there for everyone — including those who eat gluten-free. At the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab, our registered dietitians believe flavor and pleasure should never be sacrificed, so we set out to find the best gluten-free products and meal kits that are both tasty and accessible. Over a three-month span, we had over 200 home cooks and industry experts taste-test more than 40 meal kits and delivery services to find the best ones that kicked gluten to the curb.
Gluten is simply a naturally occurring protein found in grains like many breads, cereals, baked goods and crackers. For an estimated 2 million people in the U.S. and roughly 1% of the world’s population who have celiac disease, a chronic digestive and immune disorder, a gluten-free diet is an absolute necessity. An even larger group of people lives with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) which causes symptoms like fatigue, nausea and bloating after eating or drinking gluten-containing foods or beverages. So, if you live with celiac disease, NCGS or even a wheat allergy, and are looking for flavorful, innovative and convenient ways to cook and eat, a gluten-free meal delivery service might just be your golden ticket.
At the end of this guide, stick around to learn more about how we tested meal delivery services, as well as tips for choosing the best meal delivery service for you.
Epicured offers meals that are both 100% gluten-free and 100% low-FODMAP which stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols — a type of carbohydrate resistant to digestion found in foods like garlic, onions, several types of grains and certain fruits, veggies and beans.
One might wonder how meals so specifically adjusted for certain dietary needs can be so flavorful. But Epicured has it figured out: Its menu is designed by Michelin-star chef Daniel Chavez-Bello and the brand has enlisted a team of doctors and dietitians to strike the perfect balance. Epicured also places a heavy emphasis on ensuring there is no gluten cross-contamination in its kitchens. The menu includes gluten-free versions of all the carbs we love like pasta and rolls, along with a variety of protein sources like fish and steak.
How it works: First, create a subscription and decide if you want to pick your food from an a la carte menu or order curated meal bundles. After you select from the menu of more than 50 meals with filters for main dishes, sides, soups, salads and snacks, schedule your weekly deliveries with options to change or cancel deliveries before each Friday. Epicured meals come to your door fresh and ready to eat on the date of your choice. Meals are delivered weekly, and you can plan up to four weeks in advance. Simply reheat each meal in the microwave or oven, or on the stovetop before enjoying.
Lab lowdown: Epicured came in as best overall with our testers because of the wide variety of options, satisfaction, convenience and great flavor. One tester commented, “We were hesitant about whether a low-FODMAP meal would be bland, but this was surprisingly flavorful and filling.”Another said: “There was so much variety included in the week’s meals compared to other services I’ve tried in the past.” But some testers said certain foods had texture issues, such as the lasagna, which was described as “soggy” by one and “chewy” by another.
Freshly offers ready-to-eat gluten-free meals made in kitchens that are 100 percent gluten-free and certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group. Although Freshly offers gluten-containing meals for their other programs, they are cooked in separate kitchens. Their menu items include classic choices like steak, mashed potatoes and green beans plus vegetarian options like red lentil dal. The service offers interesting breakfast options, such as Rise and Shine Huevos Colorados, their rendition of the Mexican classic.
How it works: Start by choosing the gluten-free plan, and choose anywhere from four to 12 meals of fresh food per week. You can change your number of meals from week to week. Then, choose from your menu options, including Homestyle Chicken and Beef Bolognese. Once the food comes, it needs to be heated in the microwave for a few minutes, or in the oven for longer. It can last in the refrigerator for about three to five days.
Lab lowdown: Our testers loved Freshly’s hearty portions and simple preparation process. “The kit contained a nice variety of meals that satisfied for lunch or dinner,” one tester said. “Preparation was a breeze — only three minutes in the microwave and the meal was ready.” However, some testers found that flavor was lacking in some specific side dishes and meals and opted to add their own spices.
Sakara Life is a plant-based, gluten-free and organic meal delivery service offering ready-to-eat meals. The Signature Nutrition Program is one of their programs, which includes meals, herbal teas and a probiotic supplement. Each program comes with a customizable weekly schedule and access to Sakara’s in-house wellness coaches to support your experience.
Meal options include breakfasts like banana pudding parfaits and chai coconut protein waffles, lunches like burrito bowls and Margherita flatbreads and dinners like root veggie enchiladas and roasted peach chana masala.
How it works: Start by choosing your program and selecting the number of days you would like your meals — two or three meals per day, three or five days per week. At this stage, you can also add an optional daily green smoothie to your order. Choose a one-time program or a weekly recurring subscription to save a bit on your order, and pick your start date. Keep in mind their menus are preset. Their fresh food comes to your doorstep ready to be heated and enjoyed.
Lab lowdown: Our testers enjoyed the satiety they experienced with Sakara Life’s meals, as well as the fact they left calories off their food labeling. And although plant-based eating wasn’t for everyone, a few of our testers even said Sakara Life’s food made them consider converting. “I was pleasantly surprised about these meals as I did not know what to expect from whole plant-based meals,” one tester said. “I did not think that I would enjoy the foods, but they were delicious.”
Green Chef, an organic meal kit company, prides itself on being the first of its kind to receive an official gluten-free certification through the the Gluten Intolerance Group’s Gluten-Free Food Service Program. It means they have shown they will apply the necessary rigorous processes to eliminate cross-contamination for the safety of gluten-free customers. Plus, Green Chef makes it clear they strive to make gluten-free options as varied and flavorful as possible with options like Boom Boom Chicken with honey-glazed sesame carrots and cashews and Pecan-Crusted Trout with lemon aioli and roasted butternut squash.
How it works: Start by selecting the gluten-free plan and choosing your box size to feed from two to six people for three to four meals per week. You select meals each week and can skip meals as needed. Then, you can view your menu options and make your menu picks. Once the food comes, follow the recipe card which is conveniently color-coded with its kit bag and enjoy. Most meals require around half an hour to prepare and are accessible to all skill levels.
Lab lowdown: “Fresh” was the common word among testers of Green Chef. Testers also loved the clear instructions and satisfying portions. “I hate cooking meat (pork and chicken) because I have a fear of undercooking it and tend to overcook it,” one tester said. “The directions were spot on with the meat cooking time. Both the pork and chicken were perfectly cooked.” Another tester enjoyed the combination of balance and flavor of Green Chef’s meals with a pesto chicken dish at the top of their favorites. “I felt meals were balanced to include greens and each dish had a distinct flavor profile, providing a variety of flavors,” they said.
Remember the Easy Bake Oven for kids? Tovala offers an adult version for all of its meals, called the Tovala Smart Oven — and the meals taste great and couldn’t be easier to prepare. The unique concept starts with Tovala’s chefs creating and preparing meals, and the oven finishes the process once they’re shipped to you. The company uses innovative technology to provide customers with a simple and quick way to get meals on the table. If you are wondering if you have to buy the oven to get their meals, the answer is yes. However, you can cancel your meal service at any time and continue to use the oven as a regular toaster oven.
Tovala’s gluten-friendly menu items include options like a ground turkey and rice burrito bowl, garlic herb salmon with Tuscan quinoa and tandoori-spiced chicken thighs. It’s a great option for singles, as the oven is designed to cook one meal at a time.
How it works: Start by purchasing an oven and choosing from gluten-friendly meal options for weekly deliveries (from four to 16 fresh meals). They typically offer between a half dozen to a dozen gluten-friendly meal selections to choose from each week. Once your oven and food arrive, it’s a snap to start prepping your meals. To cook, you scan the meal card’s barcode, and the oven registers the necessary time, temperature and cooking mode as dictated by the chefs. Note that the oven has to connect to your WiFi network and you must use a smartphone with the Tovala app downloaded.
Lab lowdown: Our testers loved the ease and convenience of Tovala, especially for a party of one. One tester says, “It’s a great mix between wanting to prepare food and not wanting to put in all the effort that is typically involved. You don’t have to wash any pots or pans, everything is pre-portioned for one, and honestly, the meals I received were delicious.” And another says, “It feels like takeout but I like that you make it yourself at home. Instructions are really easy to follow too.”
BistroMD, created by Dr. Caroline Cederquist, offers a variety of programs including a heart-healthy and menopause program, aside from their gluten-free program. Cederquist believes “food is medicine,” according to their website, and she has a team of chefs and dietitians helping to merge flavor and science into a medically-driven meal service.
The service has all of their gluten-free meals tested to the FDA gluten-free standard, which means they will never contain rye, wheat or barley. BistroMD uses natural ingredients and never synthetic gluten substitutes.
Please note that since BistroMD’s programs are low-calorie, including their gluten-free program, supplementing with snacks, other sides or caloric beverages at meals may be necessary to meet your energy needs. Weight loss, health and body image are complex subjects — before deciding to go on a diet, we invite you to gain a broader perspective with our exploration into the hazards of diet culture.
How it works: Start by selecting a five- or seven-day plan, choosing the number of meals and snacks you’d like to add. Next, you will log in to view the menu and adjust your meal selections as you wish. Then, wait for your order to arrive and choose if you’d like extra email support by joining BistroMD’s member community. Meals come ready to eat with simple microwave heating instructions.
Their dinner options in the gluten-free program include choices like hickory smoked BBQ pork with broccoli and chicken, rice and cheddar casserole. Lunch options include BBQ beef and cheddar sliders and chicken pad Thai. For breakfast, BistroMD offers things like waffles with eggs and a mozzarella roasted tomato basil frittata. Adding gluten-free snacks to your plan is also an option.
Lab lowdown: Many of our testers highlighted the high quality of ingredients and flavor of the food. “The taste is restaurant quality and frozen so it will keep longer if needed,” one tester says. “The green beans were tender, not stringy and cooked just right. I loved that the breakfasts had a fruit portion to the side of the main dish, like peaches, oats, apples, nuts and cherries.”
SunBasket offers a vast range of meals and snacks across the dietary requirement spectrum, including vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options. Uniquely, the service lets you choose if you want your meals fully prepared, as a meal kit or a combination of the two.
Their eclectic gluten-free menu items include meals like Mayan butter bean and quinoa bowls, Indian-spiced chicken and Peruvian fried rice. Breakfast items include choices like a chili verde breakfast burrito and a cornmeal-crust hand pie, Snacks include options like energy bites, bars and a selection of cheeses and crackers.
How it works: Start by selecting your gluten-free plan: meal kits with two to five meals of two or four servings each or single-serve prepared meals ready to heat up and eat. Select your meals from the menu and choose whether or not you’d like to add “market items” like breakfast, snacks and/or grab-and-go lunches to your order. Then, wait for your food to arrive. You can cancel or skip a week at any time. SunBasket’s fresh and ready-to-eat meals can be heated in the microwave or oven in as little as 4 minutes, and meal kits typically take around 15 to 20 minutes from start to finish.
Lab lowdown: Common themes we heard from our testers of SunBasket were the creativity in menu items, variety of preparation times and the sustainability of packaging. “I enjoyed that recipes included in this meal kit were not things in regular rotation in my household,” one tester says. “Some nights, when I had NO time, I could just use a ready-to-heat meal and be done. That was unique and very helpful.” They also loved that breakfast options were available. “That was very helpful for days when I wanted something different than my usual cereal,” said one tester.
Over a period of three months, we had more than 200 home cooks and industry experts test gluten-free meal delivery services to figure out which ones came out on top. They tested more than 40 services, ranging from traditional meal kits to ready-to-eat meals.
To choose our gluten-free favorites, we took into account combined expert and tester feedback, the number and variety of gluten-free options, preparation safety, reach of availability and sustainability of packaging.
As a result of our testing, we believe the companies spotlighted above deserve recognition for their performance in their categories. That said, this is a fast-growing segment in the food industry and we’re likely to see more new entrants emerging in the near future. We are always testing new offerings in this category to keep readers up-to-date. If these choices are above your budget, check out our cheap meal delivery services or for a more comprehensive guide, our best meal delivery services.
As a dietitian who sees food as both fuel and pleasure, Caroline Young values simplicity and enjoyment when it comes to cooking and eating. She believes all people, regardless of medical condition, deserve to eat with joy and ease. She appreciates meal delivery services for providing options for such a wide range of preferences and needs. Caroline recommends gluten-free meal delivery services to any of her clients who have celiac disease or NCGS and are looking for reliable, varied and nourishing options. She is the owner of Whole Self Nutrition, an online business that helps people develop healthy relationships to food, body and exercise, through counseling, media and yoga.
As a dietitian and working mother, Stefani Sassos is passionate about putting healthy meals on the table for her and her family without having to spend a ton of time in the kitchen. She herself relies on prepared meal delivery services a few times a week, especially frozen options that she can keep on hand for busy weeknights. Having closely worked with patients with celiac disease in the past, Stefani understands the importance of ample and convenient gluten-free food options. She stays up to date with the current meal delivery landscape and leads category testing efforts for Good Housekeeping.