Even though I’m ride-or-die for Sakara, there’s no denying that their meal delivery program is expensive. I wish the US had a better system for making healthy food accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status. Eating high quality food in the United States may be costly, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be inconvenient. For those who are willing to spend the money on quality food but don’t have time to prepare healthy meals, this post is for you.
I tested out three different companies who deliver healthy food right to your door. Keep reading to learn about my experience with all three.
***This post may contain affiliate links. As a Sakara and Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no cost to you but helps me run my website.***
First up was Daily Harvest. I’d heard about Daily Harvest for years, but I’ve always dismissed them as just being ready-to-blend smoothies. I’ve spoken about this at length, but the bottom line is I’m more into chewing than drinking my meals.
Then one day, I was listening to a podcast where the host mentioned she liked their flatbreads. Flatbreads didn’t sound like smoothies to me! Of course, big brother is watching, so I got a flyer in the mail shortly afterwards, featuring food you chew.
I decided to try out a box of their items, selecting a mix of flatbreads, harvest bowls and soups. They have other options too (including smoothies), but I chose what was best for eating lunch at my desk. Basically, something healthy and delicious that only requires a microwave.
Daily Harvest far exceeded my expectations. The harvest bowls, in particular, are delightful. I love being able to choose what I want. I also love that I can freeze the meals until I’m ready to eat them.
The other thing I like, which is something I don’t like about Sakara (gasp, I know, but no one’s perfect), is that I can see the fiber and sugar content. Sakara encourages body intelligence, and so they want to shift focus away from counting calories. For this reason, they don’t share any nutritional information for their meals. Since I’m sensitive to high glycemic foods, it was nice being able to choose options that were unlikely to spike my blood sugar.
As with all of these programs, new customers buy their first box at a serious discount. Full price items cost $9 each for the harvest bowls and flatbreads, and $8 for the soups. For $25 off your first order, use this link to order.
Final Grade: A
I kept my subscription and plan to order a box every month or so to stock my work freezer.
Fresh N’ Lean
Not everyone in my life is 100% plant-based, including me. I wanted an option that offered animal protein on the menu but at a quality I’d be willing to eat. There were two companies who seemed to fit the bill. I picked the one with the better website: Fresh N’ Lean.
They offered different meal selections based on dietary choices. I tried two options: low-carb vegan and paleo. While I’m definitely not low-carb (give me oatmeal and bread and sweet potatoes any day), the regular vegan menu was too grainy-heavy for me.
I got off to a rough start with Fresh N’ Lean. I froze everything in the first box because I didn’t realize I was supposed to refrigerate the meals. This meant when I followed the heating instructions, I was confused as to why my food was still partially frozen. Most definitely my bad.
The meals come vacuum-sealed, which allows them to stay fresh in the refrigerator, even those meals containing meat. This vacuum seal is very difficult to take off, requiring a sharp knife, followed by a digging of my fingers into the food to pull it off, followed by washing my hands. In other words, the packaging was annoying.
The Fresh N’ Lean meals themselves were hit or miss. When they missed, they tasted like airplane food. When they hit, they tasted fine but not great. My husband tried a few, and he agreed.
Final Grade: D
I canceled my subscription and would not order again.
Last up was Greenchef. Originally, I planned to get their ready-made meals, which they now offer. However, my husband and I rotate through the same 10 dishes, and I thought it would be a nice change. I specifically chose Greenchef because they’re certified organic.
Greenchef offers different categories of meal kits based on dietary and lifestyle preferences. I selected the “fast and fit” plan because I wanted healthier meals ready in 30 minutes or less. My strategy for choosing the 3 meals for the week was to pick one sea, one land and one plant option.
What I didn’t realize is that the proteins would arrive frozen. My husband absolutely detests frozen fish. I wish I could say that the tilapia we received made a believer out of him, but I can’t. My daughter said it perfectly when she said, “This fish tastes like nothing.” The only happy one that night was our dog.
Our next meal, a chicken dish, was an improvement but not by much. I liked it because I went all in on the spices while everyone else tolerated it. The third meal, the vegan dish, was the only one everyone ate without complaining, and only because I went off script and put my own spin on it. One benefit of this meal kit experience was appreciating our own home cooking again.
While the meals were all supposed to take 30 minutes or less to make, in reality, they took closer to 45 minutes, except for the vegan one. Since Greenchef offers meals for 2 people or 4 people, each night consisted of 2 bags of identical ingredients. I didn’t mind the mental math of doubling the recipe, but I didn’t love the additional packaging waste. Also, when I checked the ingredients, I noticed that some of the ingredients used weren’t totally up to my standards. Just because something’s organic doesn’t automatically make it healthy. I found the sauces and stocks to be too reliant on added sugar and subsituted a lot of my own items.
Final Grade: B-/C+
It wasn’t a great fit for us. I could see this being a great option for an adult couple or for someone who lives alone. I canceled our subscription, but I wouldn’t completely rule out ordering from them again one day.
Photo courtesy of Daily Harvest.