The Best Meal Delivery Services for Aging Adults

Updated March 2022
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From 2020 to present, while in the midst of a global pandemic, there was an exponential growth in online meal delivery. Caregivers and seniors were unable to shop due to quarantine or sickness and were left with relying on online meal delivery services to fill that gap.

Social isolation, even before the pandemic results in poor dietary habits and poor nutrition. Worse yet, lack of appetite and skipping meals is fairly common in socially isolated seniors. There have been numerous studies on how loneliness and isolation affect health and food choices. Technologies, such as Zoom and video calls have proven to help fill that gap when loved ones are unable to visit in person. Some families have even set up “dinnertime” meals with their parents in which they schedule a Zoom call and can eat a meal together, talk and socialize.

The Explosion of Senior Meal Delivery

According to a report by US News and Reports, prepared meal delivery for seniors in New York City has exploded.* This is only one report of many. For instance, in senior meal delivery, Orange County saw a 40% increase since the start of the pandemic. There is a silver lining to this all. It has brought attention to the plight of many seniors who live with food insecurity, and the available but not accessed programs available to them.

A report on hunger in older adults revealed*:

  • About 33% of older adults admitted to hospital may be malnourished
  • 50% of those residing at home may be malnourished
  • They are 50% more likely to have diabetes
  • They are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression
  • They are 60% more likely to have congestive heart failure or suffer a heart attack.

Should You Use a Meal Delivery Service?

Using a meal delivery service can be fun, fast, and easy, and can provide independence and autonomy for older adults aging in place either at their home or in yours. The types of services available include ready-made meals or meal kits that are delivered directly to your home. Meal plan options include something for every dietary requirement and come in proper portion sizes.

How Should You Evaluate Meal Delivery Services?

As you think about the best meal delivery service for your aging parent, consider some of the following services offered:

  1. What kind of a la carte meal plan can you subscribe to?
  2. Are the orders complete meals or do you add supplements?
  3. Does your grocery store offer meal delivery or pick-up options?
  4. Does your food need to be diabetic-friendly? Dairy-Free? Do you have other dietary restrictions?
  5. How often can you change your requested meals?
  6. Do you have to cook the food or is it ready to eat?
  7. What is the price of the subscription service?
  8. How does the subscription service work? Is it a weekly, monthly or annual charge?

Selecting the meal service you need will require a good understanding of your nutritional needs. Do a daily journal of what you are currently eating, and your favorite foods and discuss with your physician to evaluate the most appropriate meals for you.

What Are The Top Meal Delivery Services For Seniors?

The following is a snapshot of some of the best senior meal delivery programs. The charts below will help you select the best service for you based on your dietary considerations, budget, and personal preferences. We've also included additional information below about each company including details about food preparation, shipping and packaging, and sample menus. Let's dive in!

Mom’s Meals

What started as a local family-owned business in 1999, Mom’s Meals has been nationally recognized as a leader in the meal delivery service for seniors arena. Clients can choose every meal when placing their order, or have staff do it for them. Their menu and attention to special dietary needs are truly impressive. (See comparison chart above.) Menus vary state by state and by program type. They work with over 500 health plans, managed care organizations, governments, and agencies to provide access to meals for people covered under Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the opportunity for individuals to order meals on their own. The programs consist of chronic care, long-term care, post-discharge care, and self-pay. They have Registered Dietitians available to discuss any questions about nutrition and/or ingredients.

They have received a 99% customer satisfaction rating over the past 8 years. For individuals or caregivers who want to purchase meals directly, the self-pay program offers packages of 10, 14, or 21 meals starting at $7.99 per meal.

In addition to meal delivery, Mom’s meals also have exercise videos and other general wellness topics on their website.

Food Preparation: Their food is refrigerated but can be put in the freezer to extend shelf life if needed. Heat directly from the refrigerator in 2 minutes or less

Shipping & Packaging: The packaging is a custom-designed cooler designed in such a way to minimize damage and to ensure safe, cool temperatures throughout transit.

Sample Menu Items

Breakfast: Colby Cheese Omelet, French Toast Sticks and Turkey Sausage Link, Syrup, Mandarin Orange Cup, Gelatin and Apple Juice.

Lunch: Curry Vegetables with Pineapple and Brown Rice, String Cheese and
Vanilla Pudding (from their international menu).

Dinner: BBQ Chicken with Potato Medley and Seasoned Green Beans
and Fudge Round

What We Liked:

  • Deliver to any address nationwide (in lower 48), from New York City to Los Angeles and everywhere in between.
  • Covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and over 500 health plans.
  • If self-pay, affordable at $7.99-8.99 per meal.

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • More information about how ingredients are sourced
  • A flat rate for shipping
  • A la cart options

Silver Cuisine

Silver Cuisine's parent company, bistroMD was founded by Dr. Caroline Cederquist, a board-certified in bariatric medicine, which is the study of how the food we eat is broken down by our bodies and turned into fuel. Meals are doctor-designed; chef-prepared balanced meals. Silver Cuisine has 150 alternating meal options; however, no ala carte options. They routinely test their gluten-free products for gluten, ensuring no contamination. They also offer heart-healthy, low sodium, menopause, diabetic, and other specialty menu options. Silver Cuisine ships in the contiguous United States. Shipping is a flat rate of 19.95

If you are looking for a weight loss meal delivery, supervised by dieticians and doctor developed you may want to check out bistroMD, they offer ala carte and can substitute ingredients.

Food Preparation: Fresh food flash frozen.

Shipping & Packaging: Every box is packed with dry ice and is insulated.

Sample Menu Items

Breakfast: Bacon and Potato Egg Scramble

Lunch: Moroccan Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew

Dinner: Meatloaf with Honey Bourbon Glaze

Snack & Desserts: Decadent Chocolate Cherry Bar, Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake

What We Like:

  • 25% off first order plus free shipping if AARP member and 10% off all orders after that.
  • Free shipping on orders $99/more
  • No minimum order, no commitment

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • The ability to substitute or replace individual ingredients
  • Delivery to Hawaii and Alaska

Top Chef Meals

With over 300 combinations with 70 different entries, Top Chef Meals has a great selection of high-quality meal options. With locally sourced ingredients, no trans fats, GMOs, or high fructose corn syrup their commitment to quality doesn’t stop with the ingredients. Their meals are made fresh to order, then flash-frozen to retain their nutrition and taste. The meals are developed by dieticians, and meals are ready from box to table in 3 minutes.

No subscription or commitment is required. You have the option of trying out their most popular meal selection, 4 meals to choose from in a specially curated section for $49.96, which includes shipping.

Food Preparation: Each meal comes with specific instructions on how to heat, using a microwave or oven.

Shipping & Packaging: The meals are packed with Cardboard, jute, plastic bags with gel paks and dry ice.

Sample Menu Items

Breakfast: Sausage, Egg, and Smoked Gouda Sandwich

Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup and Blueberry Banana Protein Smoothie

Dinner: Asian Seared Salmon, Mashed Yukon Potatoes and Spinach

Snacks & Desserts: Key Lime Pie, Tiramisu, Low-Calorie Snack Truffles

What We Like:

  • Contracted with various agencies in New York that manage long-term care programs.
  • Keto, paleo, and kids’ meals are also offered.
  • Customizable, no commitments, and no subscriptions.
  • 10% discount for seniors if not covered by NY long-term care programs. And 5% discount based on the number of meals ordered. (Cannot combine discounts)

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • Gluten-free certification would be great for clients with celiac disease.
  • Lower shipping for Zone 3. (Their website lists 3 zones for delivery. Zones 1 and 2 are free, while Zone 3 has a 19.95 delivery charge.)

Meals on Wheels

The first American home-delivered meal program known now as Meals on Wheels began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in January of 1954. At the request of the Philadelphia Health & Welfare Council and funded by a grant from the Henrietta Tower Wurtz Foundation, Margaret Toy, a social worker in Philadelphia’s Lighthouse Community Center, pioneered a program to provide nourishment that met the dietary needs of homebound seniors and other “shut-ins” in the area who otherwise would have to go hungry. Meals on wheels serves 2.4 million seniors annually. Their service to seniors goes beyond meals.

Socialization and wellness checks are part of the meals on wheels program, which alerts loved ones, caregivers, and community caseworkers to any problems that may arise.

Food Preparation: Food is prepared at the local sites and is usually frozen. Some are cooked and hot, ready to eat when delivered.

Shipping & Packaging: Each Meals on Wheels site has its own packaging. The meals are delivered by volunteers to the client’s homes.

Sample Menu Items

Breakfast: French toast and chicken sausage

Lunch: Hearty Beef Barley or Garden Minestrone Soup

Dinner: Roast Beef or Turkey Dinner

Snacks & Desserts: Peach Crisp or Key Lime Cookies

What We Like:

  • Sliding scale or no fee for meals
  • Wellness check when meal delivered
  • Some community programs offer pet food delivery for clients' pets, home repair services, telephone reassurance and transportation services for doctor appointments and other needs.
  • Some programs offer meals to meet special dietary needs, cultural or ethnic preferences, and other programs serve fruits and vegetables right out of their own gardens.

What Could Make Them Even Better: 

  • The availability of specialty diet menus in more locations.

Magic Kitchen

Magic Kitchen has many options to choose from when it comes to dietary menus and meal combinations. You can choose either a la cart or a meal package. Mix & Match Mains, Sides, Soups, and Desserts. Purchase whole meals. Special diet options for both. Delivered frozen on dry ice, heat and eat.

Join their Magic Moula rewards program for additional savings. Points awarded for birthdays, meals ordered, etc. Enroll in a meal program and save money. Enroll in weekly, twice monthly, or monthly delivery and receive an assortment of complete meals right at your door.

You may choose your own meals or have the staff choose based on your dietary needs and preferences.

Food Preparation: Meals are flash-frozen, just heat and eat.

Shipping & Packaging: Environmentally friendly polystyrene reusable coolers are used for packing meals.

Sample Menu Items

Breakfast: Cheese Omelet & Salsa, Broccoli and Hash Browns

Lunch: Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce

Dinner: Breaded Chicken Florentine with Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

What We Like:

  • They offer a large selection of special dietary needs meals
  • You can order a single meal or set up a meal program
  • They offer shelf-stable (prepackaged) meals
  • They have exercise videos for seniors
  • Boil-in-bag meals offered free shipping over $100
  • Sign up for their newsletter and get 10-20% off selected orders
  • They ship to all 50 states.

What Could Make Them Even Better: 

  • Lower cost. They can be on the pricey side if you do not have access to insurance.
  • More robust shipping options. Every 2 weeks or once a month may not be convenient for some if not using the auto-ship feature.

Homestyle Direct

“We make healthy eating easy for everyone!” That is Homestyle Direct's motto, however, they could add that they make healthy eating affordable for everyone. With main dishes starting at $3.95 (Garlic parmesan chicken with broccoli) and most main dishes hoovering around $7.95 their meals offer variety, flavor and are economic. Their menu includes a variety of foods that satisfy special nutritional requirements. (See chart above) They even offer vegetarian and gluten-free options. All dishes are approved by licensed dieticians.
The meals are delivered biweekly or monthly to 24 Medicaid-approved states. If no Medicaid waiver, 12 meals ship for a flat rate of 21.95.

Their customer service representative works with the client’s case manager and places a monthly check-in call to answer any questions, address any concerns and assist with placing their next order.

Meals are delivered to 24 Medicaid-approved states. Clients can choose either bi-monthly or monthly deliveries depending on the member’s preference. (see website for delivery areas)

Food Preparation: Food arrives flash-frozen or refrigerator cold and can be refrozen if needed.

Shipping & Packaging: Bimonthly or monthly deliveries. Contact for packaging information.

Sample Menu Items

Breakfast: Banana Muffin Breakfast

Lunch: Black Bean Burger Bowl with Tropical Fruit

Dinner: Homestyle Cheeseburger

What We Like:

  • Affordable menu
  • Dietician approved meals
  • Monthly call from their customer service department to assist clients and address concerns.

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • Meal delivery for Medicaid clients in all states.
  • A La Cart options


If you are looking for a healthy eating alternative that offers the option of prepared meals or a meal kit where the ingredients are delivered and you prepare and cook, look no further! Sunbasket offers meal prep delivery kits for seniors who enjoy the art of cooking without having to source the ingredients.

They use fresh seasonal organic produce, responsibly raised meats free of antibiotics and hormones, and seafood that’s wild-caught or sustainably raised. Their meals range from Paleo, Vegetarian, Diabetes-Friendly, High Protein, Low Calorie, and more. Clients can always mix & match to customize their delivery from their menus. An added bonus is $90 off the first order plus a free gift, and shipping is free on the first order.

Food Preparation

Meal Kits: Cook with pre-portioned ingredients and easy recipes most are ready in 30 minutes or less.
Fresh & Ready: Prepared meals, ready in minutes.

Shipping & Packaging: Meals arrive cold packed and shipped in recyclable and reusable materials, from the cardboard box to the paper and denim insulation and ice packs, fiber trays, and paper bags.

Sample Menu Items

Breakfast: Gluten-Free Wile Blueberry Waffles (Ready-to-Eat)

Lunch: Portobello & Spinach Empanadas (Ready-to-Eat)

Dinner: Spicy Chipotle Turkey & Sweet Potato Chili with Cabbage Slaw (Meal Kit) or Grilled Pork Chop with Curry Sause Over Roasted Apples & Cauliflower (Ready-to-Eat)

What We Like:

  • Certified organic fresh produce
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • A fresh and ready option if you don’t want to prepare and cook ingredients
  • $90 off first order plus a free gift shipping free on first order.
  • Clients can choose from a ready-to-heat and-eat meal or a meal kit, where the ingredients are shipped, and the client prepares and cooks the meal.

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • It would be great if their plans were covered by insurance or other programs, however, they do donate to Second Harvest Foodbank, Farmers Against Food Hunger and Hope Food Pantry.
  • A more robust dietary restriction menu. They recommend you don't order from them if you have a serious food allergy.

Dietary Needs Comparison

Mom's Meals

Top Chef

Meals on Wheels

Magic Kitchen

Silver Cuisine

Home Style Direct


General / Senior

Heart Healthy

Low Sodium






Low Carb



Note: Scroll right on the table above to view Sunbasket information.

Other Options Comparison

Mom's Meals

Top Chef

Meals on Wheels

Magic Kitchen

Silver Cuisine

Home Style Direct



Can freeze if needed


Fridge / Freezer Life

Lasts up to 14 days

Meal Kit


See below

See below

See below

See below

Medicade waiver in 24 states, or self-pay


A La Cart Options


In some states


$7.99 - $8.99

$9.95 and up

Sliding Scale

$12.00 and up

All entries $7.95

Readymade start at $9.99

Meal Kits start at $11.49 / serving

Customize or Choose Meals

Can choose meals but not customize

Delivery Time

Depends on where you live

Depends on area served

Weekly, twice monthly or monthly

2-3 days after shipped



Note: Scroll right on the table above to view Sunbasket information.

What Are Meal Kit Delivery Services?

Another option is to have the ingredients and instructions delivered to make the meal yourself. This option can be a fun way to maintain a nutritional diet and cook with a friend or family member as well.

According to Consumers Advocates, the best meal kit delivery services are:

If you're considering this option, make sure to look into different services to find the one that works best for you and your loved one.

Where Should You Start When Deciding Which Meal Delivery To Use?

Meal delivery services may offer independence or convenience for caregivers living with an aging loved one. In some cases, they may also be available for free. Do your research by starting with these links and finding all the options available in your area. You can also find additional resources by contacting your Area Agency on Aging specialist and visiting

U.S. News (2020, April): Pandemic Sparks Surge in Demand for Senior Meal Deliveries

Meals of Wheels (2017, February): Hunger in Older Adults

National Council on Aging (2021, March): Facts About Older Adults and SNAP

Brooke worked as a home health and hospice nurse for many years. During her time working with patients and families, she saw the pressures and strain of what caregivers went through while caring for loved ones. Lack of resources to help caregivers prompted her to start a support group for caregivers in her area. Since then Brooke has turned to writing courses for nurses and content writing. In her spare time, she enjoys time with family, her dog and travel.