If you’re looking for cooking inspiration, look no further than the ­proliferation of meal-kit services in recent years. These offer recipes ­created by chefs and nutritionists…step-by-step cooking instructions…recyclable packaging…and farm-fresh ingredients delivered straight to your door.

Most of these services have low-cost introductory prices so you can try them out. You specify how many meals you want to order per week…for how many people…what day of the week you want them delivered…and what dishes you would like to prepare (menus change weekly). And they save you the hassle of hunting down individual or obscure ingredients. Note: You also can find meal-prep kits at many supermarkets and Target, no subscription required.

Downsides: Many of the meals are labor-intensive since you’re preparing them from scratch. And you need to be diligent about managing your subscription so that meal kits aren’t delivered while you’re away from home.

Popular services…

Blue Apron offers fresh produce and high-quality meats, poultry and fish, and menus that can be customized for vegetarian, WW-approved and diabetes-friendly diets. Starts at $7.49 per serving plus shipping. BlueApron.com

HelloFresh is comparable to Blue Apron, but in addition to dinner, it also offers lunch and breakfast meals, 20-minute recipes and one-pot dishes. Starts at $7.99 per serving plus shipping. HelloFresh.com

Green Chef focuses on ingredients that are certified organic. It offers meal plans such as a Keto + Paleo plan with ­gluten- and grain-free dishes for people who are watching their carbs…Plant-Powered meals for vegetarians and vegans…and a Balanced Living plan featuring a mix of meat- and seafood-based meals and vegetarian options. Starts at $11.99
per serving plus shipping. GreenChef.com

Purple Carrot provides healthy vegetarian meal kits and prepared foods for breakfast, lunch and dinners. Dinners start at $9.99 per serving, and shipping is free. PurpleCarrot.com


You also can try one of the new ­prepared-food services (including Purple Carrot above)…

Freshly serves up meals that you can heat in three minutes. Meals are low in sugar and processed ingredients and high in nutrition. Options include plant-based, gluten-free and low-calorie meals. Starts at $8.99 per serving plus shipping. Freshly.com

Daily Harvest delivers organic, fruit- and vegetable-based smoothies, soups, bowls, ice cream, flat breads and energy bites that you heat, blend or eat straight from the container. All items come frozen, so be sure you have room in your freezer to store them. Minimum order of nine items for free shipping. Starts at $5.99 per item. DailyHarvest.com

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