I hate to cook for my family. There, I said it. My kid survives on a steady rotation of tacos, pizza, pasta, and quesadillas, and it’s pretty much all my fault.
While I do believe in encouraging kids to try new things, I work full time, volunteer at my son’s school, and I’m also the primary extra-curricular chauffeur and homework helper in our family. I only have so much determination to push my child outside of his culinary comfort zone when he basically looks at meals as an inconvenience that comes between scooter rides and Minecraft.
When my editor asked that we try Yumble, a Shark Tank-winning meal delivery service created expressly for kids, I was excited at the prospect of having no-brainer dinners that I could zap and serve between homework and soccer practice. Our son wasn’t excited to try them, but I told him if he wanted to continue to test water guns for Mommy’s job, he needed to play ball.
What is Yumble?
There are lots of family-style meal delivery services, but most require a bit of prep. Yumble is one of only a handful of microwave-and-serve options that arrives in kid-sized portions. Where Yumble really stands out, however, is its meals are fresh, rather than frozen, and all can be reheated in two minutes max.
Yumble’s claim to fame is that they have “less sodium and more vitamin and mineral-packed veggies than frozen meals, while being just as easy to prepare.” The meals claim to deliver “carefully sourced fruits and veggies” that are “perfectly balanced” and “nutritionist-approved.”
In all of the meals we tried, Yumble used organic vegetables (hitting on the “carefully sourced” promise) and chicken, as well as antibiotic-free beef. Not knowing anything about the nutritionist who gave them the approval, we were a bit wary of the “nutritionist-approved” label, so we reached out to see what a registered dietician thought. As it turns out, the professionals do, indeed, approve of Yumble.
“As a registered dietitian and mom of three, I am a big fan of Yumble,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, a New Jersey-based dietician, who says she uses Yumble and recommends it as a nutritious option for busy families. “The meals are well-rounded nutritionally, while being kid-friendly in appearance and flavor.”
It’s true. The meals do seem to be generally well-rounded. The meals we ordered all came with a main dish and a side, and most sides were vegetables, some of which came in kid-appealing sauces while others were steamed.
How to order Yumble—and how much it costs
Subscriptions are broken down into price structures that are as expensive as $9.99 a meal, for four meals, all the way to $5.99 a meal for 12 or 16 meals. We selected a plan in the middle, six meals for $7.99 each.
You can select meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and there are no-heat, picky eater, and “top rated” options to choose from. Oddly, when choosing your meals you can’t filter your searches by any of those options; instead you need to scroll through and look for badges that mark meals as falling into those three categories.You can, however, filter your search by age ranges: 1 to 3, 4 to 8, and 9 to 13. This seemed like an odd specific to home in on, especially since the actual meals and portions didn’t seem to change much with that filter. What is nice, however, is that you can filter and make selections based on dietary needs, with Yumble providing gluten-free, milk-free, soy-free, egg-free, and vegetarian options.
What does Yumble include?
Our week’s worth of Yumble arrived in a recyclable box with ice packs and an insulated bag to keep everything cold. We weren’t home when our Yumble order arrived, but when we brought it in a few hours later everything in it was still nice and cold.
The meals come wrapped in a colorful label with nutritional information and microwave instructions. The starter kit also comes with a cute hot pad to put the freshly microwaved plates on, a deck of mealtime conversation-starter cards, and stickers—which were a nice touch that my son loved. If we were to stay with the subscription, the first four weeks would have more starter gifts, including kid-friendly cutlery and an insulated lunchbox.
Meals come in microwave-safe containers that have two segments, which is just right for kids who don’t like their food to touch. Each meal takes one to two minutes to heat, and you’re ready to go. All meals should be consumed within seven days of receiving your kit; it isn’t recommended that you freeze the meals. (The inability to freeze and heat turned into a problem for us. We were invited out for dinner three times in our first week and had to decline two of the meals so we could be sure to eat our Yumble meals before their expiration date.)
Yumble portion sizes
It’s worth noting that the portions are small. These are probably best suited to kids under 8 years old. Our son is 7 and doesn’t have a very hearty appetite for most things, but on some nights he needed a snack before bed when we served him the Yumble meals. Depending on the kid, you may need to supplement with an extra side dish or, much to our son’s delight, a dessert.
What we ordered
Day 1: Pizza Pocket & Broccoli Parm
Our son liked this meal, but he didn’t love it. Still, he ate it all without complaint. The inside was sort of like an Amy’s frozen cheese pizza snack pocket, but it still stretched him out of his comfort zone a bit, which I appreciated. The pocket would have been tastier if cooked in our air fryer, but he liked the broccoli in a parmesan cheese sauce, which was actually pretty good. Since he never allows sauces on his veggies, I saw this as a major win. I was also happy that he gave the pizza pocket a try, opening our family up to possibly getting him to try things like dumplings and samosas in the future.
Day 2: Finger Food Flower Ravioli
I was honestly the most skeptical of this dish, but it turned out to be the favorite. It wasn’t a particularly exciting meal, but it included two things that I can never get our son to try: ravioli and meatballs. This dish came with plain flower shaped ravioli and NAE (No Antibiotics Ever) beef meatballs; both were sauce-free. The texture and taste of both parts of this meal were actually pretty good, so I can understand why our son was on board. If Yumble offered frozen meals I would buy a bunch of these and throw them in the freezer for emergencies.
Day 3: Cheesy Veggie Casserole
He ate this, but wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about it. My kid loves broccoli, but he hates corn. He wasn’t too excited about the veggie casserole, either. We take pasta pretty seriously in our house, so he’s been raised to like his pasta al dente, and there’s no way a microwavable pasta is going to have a good, toothy texture. Still, he ate it and said it was “fine” but asked me to make him dinner afterwards, so it wasn’t particularly filling either.
Day 4: Mac 'n' Cheese & Nuggets Please
Oof. This was a disappointment. If there are two things our kid loves, it’s macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. It honestly seemed pointless to order this when both are so easy to make at home, but I wanted to order the stuff I thought our son would be most likely to eat. Sadly, both portions of this meal failed. My kid is conditioned to like his chicken nuggets out of the air fryer and crispy; these nuggets lacked a satisfying crispness to their coating, which caused our son to turn up his nose.
The macaroni and cheese didn’t fare much better. This was “gluten-free and veggie-packed”, which may have been the problem. While many families may appreciate the hidden veggies, if you are a macaroni and cheese purist, this dish tasted a bit off. I ended up having to eat this for dinner, while I made him macaroni and cheese from a box and chicken nuggets from the freezer.
Day 5: Chicken Marinara & Alfredo
I was really excited to see if I could get our son to enjoy red sauce with this dish that boasts “organic veggie-packed tomato and cheese sauces.” Chicken nuggets were bathed in a not-too-bad marinara with a light layer of cheese. Our son wouldn’t touch it, so I ate it! I do think this would generally be enjoyed by kids overall, and, for the right kid, this dish would probably be a winner. He did like the alfredo, which was basically a slightly elevated macaroni and cheese made with fusilli. Like the other pasta dish, you’re not going to get a good al dente pasta here, but the cheese sauce had just enough boundary-pushing flavor to be a success.
Day 6: Ham 'n' Cheese Pocket & Trees
It’s hard to say if this one was a failure because of the meal itself, or if it was because we used it on the very last day it could be consumed. While I didn’t personally like the flavor of this, our son said it was “fine," but the pocket itself was too soggy to appeal to him. The pizza pocket he ate on his first day had some structure to it; this pocket, however, was floppy and unappealing and the plain broccoli lacked flavor. Our son generally loves roasted broccoli with olive oil and salt, so to eat a plain tree without any seasoning was a disappointment. He snuck into the kitchen and made himself some toast while I wasn’t paying attention.
Should you sign up for Yumble?
It depends. If you only have two minutes to get dinner on the table, or if you’re someone who orders pre-made, microwavable meal services for yourself (like Freshly), you’ll probably love having a kid-friendly version to accompany your own quick dinner.
For us, while the “fresh” idea is novel, I would have actually far preferred this subscription if it was frozen. I liked the ease of the meals and that they edged our son out of his comfort zone, but the “consume within seven days” restriction was problematic for our lifestyle. It’s hard feeling restricted to a microwave meal when a dinner invite comes your way.
Overall, the food definitely was well-sourced and kid-friendly, and it will certainly be a saving grace for busy families who need to get food on the table. But, if you do decide to go with Yumble, we recommend going with the four-meal plan. While these meals make dinnertime a breeze, they are more of a “keep in the fridge, just in case” option than a meal that’s worth rushing home for.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.