For the Girl on the Go: Healthy Meal Delivery Programs Reviewed.
Is it just me or do you all also feel like you’re racing against the clock each day attempting to balance work, social life, and self care all while getting enough sleep? Getting the proper fuel I need to keep me sharp and energized can sometimes be difficult to plan. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the meal prep. But it’s not every Sunday that I want to brave Whole Foods prime time, and to then come home to prep and cook for two hours. As for those weeks when I buy breakfast and lunch, sometimes I just don’t feel like waiting at the end of Sweetgreen’s 50 person peak hour lunch line, nah’ mean? (Note: Nothing against you Sweetgreen, you're just so popular). Knowing the source of the ingredients that go into my food is extremely important to me, which can limit many of the grab and go lunch options that don’t align with my dietary preferences.
With all of this in mind, a food delivery program is VERY appealing. Pre-prepared fresh food that's delivered to my DOOR? Um, Yes please?! I decided to try three different meal delivery services based off the following criteria: gluten free and dairy free options, plant based, preservative free, pre-prepared, and hopefully tasty.
For each meal service I tried 3 days worth of breakfast and lunch (B + L). Dinner is always up in the air for me given what I have scheduled for the evening, so it was not included.
3 days B+L= $139 ($46.33/day)
Signature programs (3-5 days, breakfast, lunch, dinner in whatever combination suits your needs), detox programs (8-10 days), and subscriptions. A la carte items available in their "clean boutique" like their detox bar, superfood granola (shipped separately), and the detox + beauty waters that I love.
Per their website: “The Sakara Life organic meal delivery program is based on a whole-food, plant-rich diet that includes fresh, nutrient-dense, and delicious ingredients.”.. “100% plant based, organic, ready to eat meals that align with their 9 Pillars of nutrition- no calorie counting, plant protein, eat your water, greens, good fats,eat the rainbow, nutrient density, sulfur rich veggies, and body intelligence.”
- INGREDIENTS| Source all ingredients from trusted suppliers and sustainable organic farmers that use sustainable farming practices.
- DELIVERY| Insulated bag with ice packs, 3 days of food delivered in 2 deliveries within preferred time window.
- AVAILABLE| Continental US
- No options for meals, set menu
- No nutritional information provided, just ingredients
- See menu in advance
- Include functional beauty and detox concentrates
- Cater to food allergies for a fee
- Innovative use of plant based ingredient
Overall the plant based food was creative and delicious. Given that this is a plant based program and I am an omnivore- I sometimes felt like I was lacking in protein. Overall I felt satiated. I have to hand it to the chefs at Sakara, they really know how to create unique delectable plant based goods out of whole foods as exemplified by their breakfasts. Yoga bunny breakfast muffins, pancakes, upside down pineapple protein breakfast- it almost tasted too delicious to be nutritious (like, is this allowed?). The lunches were some iteration of a large salad with some sort of vegetable or plant based mix-in. It was good, but not $20 for a salad- good. I will say that their salad dressing is incredible. Sakara has mastered the art of creamy vegan dressing. Which is easier said than done when you take gluten and dairy out of the mix. All around I would say that the breakfast was worth every penny. I’d love to see them impart the same creativity to the lunches they provide.
Check out Sakara here.
3 days B+L: $125.70 ($41.9/day) *Given the option to choose individual meals, I chose 3 days worth of breakfast, lunch, snacks, and juice.
Urban remedy offers meal plans and cleanses that support a variety of dietary preferences and goals. You can pick meals individually or pick a set meal plan with a fixed menu. Prices are around $11.75 for the meals (for paleo folk, add animal protein for ~$7), desserts/ snacks $4-8, juices ~$11, meal replacement smoothie ~$12
- Meal plans offered: Fixed menu. You do not get to choose which meals to include/omit. (3 days for $165-$210, avg $187.5= ~$62.5/day). Meal plans offered: keto, paleo, anti-inflammation, metabolism, Cindy Crawford's essentials, and bridal.
- Cleanses: ($75/day) low glycemic, purify, refresh, super green, and warming soup cleanse.
Per their website “strive to make each offering low glycemic, anti-inflammatory, and food that truly nourishes every cell in your body. Everything we make is organic, plant-based, gluten-free, non-GMO, and dairy-free.”...“ Infuse your cells with the power of plant foods, and experience the cleanest organic, non-GMO, fresh vegetables, roots, nuts, seeds, oils and superfoods.”
- INGREDIENTS| Source all ingredients from trusted suppliers and organic farmers that use sustainable agriculture (proteins are non-gmo, organic, free-range, sustainably raised)
- DELIVERY| Insulated packaging in a box with ice packs
- AVAILABLE| Nationwide in the US.
- No distinct breakfast options for those who don't want a smoothie for breakfast.
- Meals a la carte in addition to meal plans
- Juices/snacks/desserts offered
- Nutritional information offered
Urban remedy offers meal plans and cleanses that support a variety of dietary preferences and goals. What I liked most about this program is my ability to purchase meals a la carte. It was nice having more control over which meals I would be receiving. I also liked that they had meal plans that catered to different dietary preferences. The breakfast options were minimal (or at least it felt like so after being spoiled by Sakara), but they do offer meal replacement smoothies, granola, and homemade bars that suffice. I got the paleo plant based protein matcha energy bar (7 bar bundle) with green juices for my breakfast. The bars were meh- the pea protein flavor was a little overpowering for me, but the green juices were PERFECT. For lunch my favorite option was the vegan caesar salad. Apparently meal service programs have creamy vegan salad dressing all figured out, because like Sakara, the vegan caesar dressing was incredible….creamy, tangy, and filling. Although Urban Remedy is not as creative as Sakara, they make up for it with the array of snacks and plant based raw dessert a la carte. Of course sugar is still sugar, so exercise with caution. I got the vegan tiramisu and oh. my. god.- decadence is an understatement. The serving size is ½ slice, but because of the high fat content the texture is so rich that half a slice is more than enough. For Urban Remedy, the juices and additions really shine.
Check out Urban Remedy here.
3 days B+L: $114.98 ($38.32/day)
Meal plans and subscriptions. You can pick the number of days and meal types (anywhere from 2-7 days- breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner). When selecting the meals you are able to choose from ~ 3 options per category (B,L,D, and snack) available for that day's menu.
Per their website: "Everything we make at Provenance is designed to transform your health, deliciously! Our nutrient-dense, balanced meals are always gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free."
- INGREDIENTS| Per their website “Using local seasonal vegetables, pasture-raised meats, and sustainably sourced seafood, we make it easy and convenient for you to eat clean every day of the week.”
- DELIVERY| In insulated bags with ice packs.
- AVAILABLE| Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and parts of Staten Island.
- No nutritional information, just ingredients
- They provide options that you can select for each meal
- Cater to food allergy and sensitivity
Full disclosure: Because of a delivery snafu- I had to throw out one of the lunches (a thai chicken coconut noodle soup) because it had gone bad.... The good: Like Sakara, Provenance meals has mastered the healthy gluten free dairy free breakfast. I have to say, I did not expect meal delivery services to have perfected the art of the gluten free dairy free breakfast, but they sure know how to do mornings! The pistachio paleo muffins were sinfully good. They must have been packed with fiber (again, no nutritional info offered so I couldn't tell) because I was very full after just one. Snacks are great, but having a good snack when you didn't anticipate it, like a pistachio paleo muffin for instance, makes snacking THAT MUCH BETTER. The lunches were relatively underwhelming. Like the other meal service programs I tried, the lunches consisted primarily of salad. The kale caesar with roasted brussells sprouts was okay...but it lacked lemon or something acidic in order to break down the raw vegetables and kale in the salad. Provenance meals NAILED the breakfast, but left much to be desired on the lunch end.
Check out Provenance Meals here.
Overall, I would say that for ~$40/a day for breakfast and lunch from a meal delivery service program was a bit much. I know the price factors in everything from delivery cost to high quality ingredients, but thinking about paying ~$20 for a breakfast or lunch daily makes my wallet cringe. THAT being said- I am FLOORED with the sophistication and taste of the breakfast options. Not to mention, the convenience factor is hard to beat. If you are able to afford the steep price tag, or have a week where you have no time to spare- these meal delivery programs are a viable option! I could see myself ordering a week of meal deliveries when I know that I'm going have a hectic week. But at this point, I'm not THAT important (I'm being generous)... So for me, meal delivery programs will be reserved for "special occasions" as they come.
Have you tried meal delivery services before? What has been your experience?