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Online Meal Delivery Services: Gourmet Variety

If you're just too busy to cook, or prefer not to cook, you'll find a wide range of online companies willing to do the cooking for you. Among them: Bistro MD, DineWise, Magic Kitchen, Personal Chef To Go, Good Measure Meals, and others. Whether you're celebrating a special occasion, or want meals on a weekly basis, chances are you can find a company to provide you meals that will fit your taste and budget -- delivered right to your doorstep.

Some of these companies specialize in gourmet food or special-occasion meals, while others focus on special dietary needs or weight loss. Most of the food arrives frozen, but a few companies ship food fresh.

Prices generally start at about $10 a meal, not including delivery, and go up from there. Some offer senior discounts, or provide deeper discounts when you order in bulk. But, as with anything you purchase online, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the company and their products before you buy.

"Home-delivered meals are a great alternative to cooking," says Zelman. "But it’s important to make sure the menus offer good nutrition." She suggests checking the nutritional content of the food before you order.

Most companies post nutrition information for all of their meals right on their web site. And some companies offer several meal options geared especially to meet dietary guidelines for seniors. Many of the sites also offer options for a host of dietary and medical needs, such as low-sodium and low-carb meals, diabetic meals, gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian options.

Whatever company you use, you’ll want to make sure that you like the food. "Find out if you can try a meal or two before making a larger order," says Zelman. Although many of the companies sell meals in packs of seven or more, some will allow you to purchase individual meals. Try sampling the food from a few different companies to see which you like best.

Local Meal Delivery Options: Supermarkets and Restaurants

Another option is your local grocery store. "Many grocery stores offer home delivery service," says Zelman. "And some of these stores offer a selection of pre-cooked meals and foods," including roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and fresh soups and salads.