Meal Delivery Service Subscriptions

Give a budding chef or a busy couple a smart shortcut to healthy meals. In our recent review of meal delivery service plans that bring preportioned recipe ingredients to your door, two especially stood out.

The meals we evaluated from HelloFresh ($69 for three meals per week for two people; $276 for one month; received very good taste scores. On average, the dishes were lower in calories, fat, and sodium than those from the other services we tested, and step-by-step photos made them easy to prepare.

With all organic ingredients, the recipes from Green Chef ($72 for three meals per week for two people; $288 for one month; earned some of the best taste scores in our tests. We reviewed the company’s omnivore plan, but more selective eaters may prefer diet-specific options, such as carnivore, gluten-free, Paleo, and vegetarian.

A photo of healthy ingredients included in a meal delivery service, one of the many recommended holiday gifts for foodies on your shopping list.

A photo of a selection of SideHill Farm Jams, a holiday gift suggestion for the foodie on your shopping list. Maxine Siegel, registered dietician and head of food testing at Consumer Reports says, I love the bold, real fruit flavors and the simple ingredients in SideHill Farm Jams ($6 for 9 ounces, plus shipping; This year, I’m pairing the blueberry jam with a jar of Justin’s Classic Almond Butter ($11 for 16 ounces; grocery stores), which was a top pick in our recent nut butter tasting.

Mail-Order Mixed Nuts

When you’re shelling out premium prices, you want these healthy gifts for foodies to look (and taste) as though you’ve done more than just grab it off the grocery store shelf. CR’s experts conducted a blind taste test of several mail-order mixed nut offerings. Some were disappointing—small sizes, broken pieces, even a rancid taste. But in the end, our tests revealed three options that looked and tasted special—and shipping is included in the prices.

A photo of the Superior Trio Gift Tray of nuts, one of Consumer Reports' suggested holiday gifts for foodies.

Superior Quattro Gift Tray, $40/24 ounces
Large, whole, salted, fresh-tasting roasted nuts—almonds, cashews, pistachios—and macadamias, which made this assortment extra special.

Superior Trio Gift Tray, $25/20 ounces (shown)
Similar in quality to the Quattro, the Trio Gift Tray features the same selection of nuts, minus the macadamias.

Oh Nuts 4-Section Wooden Nut Gift Tray, $30/16 ounces
A winning combination of lightly salted almonds, cashews, pistachios, and mixed nuts.

A photo of a bottle of McEnvoy Ranch Tradition Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a holiday gift idea chosen by the experts at Consumer Reports for the foodies on your gift list. Says  Trisha Calvo, Health and Food Editor for Consumer Reports: Cooks will appreciate a high-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar pairing. Drizzle them on cheeses, vegetables, grilled meats, pasta, and bread. McEvoy Ranch Traditional Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($27 for 12.7 fluid ounces, plus shipping; was No. 1 in our tests from previous years, but the 2016 vintage is just as tasty. Pair it with Rubio Aceto Balsamic Vinegar of Modena ($31 for 8.5 fluid ounces, plus shipping; Thick and rich, it’s pricey but tastes like some of the more expensive balsamics I’ve tried.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the December 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.