Meal delivery services are all the rage. I have several friends who have tried different services, such as Sun Basket, Blue Apron, and Hello Fresh. I decided to try Sun Basket.
I chose Sun Basket because the foods are organic, the meats come from grass fed animals, and the meals are healthy and include gluten-free, Paleo, vegetarian, and other options. Plus the meals come with nutritional information which was helpful since our family has to count carbs for diabetes.
I ordered 3 meals for one week with 2 servings each. I ordered a Pad Thai Shrimp, Shanghai Chicken wings with ginger chile dipping sauce and bokchoy slaw, and salmon with roasted new potatoes and green beans. It was hard to choose from the options because they all looked yummy in the pictures!
All the meals were great tasting and easy. I was able to cook each meal in less than 30 minutes. They were delivered in an insulated box with ice packs and instructions for recycling the materials. The box contains 3 brown bags with all the ingredients, such as eggs, produce and spices/sauces. Under the bags were the meats packed in more ice. Instruction cards for each meal were attached along with an information sheet on winter greens.
Here’s a picture of the Shrimp Pad Thai:
Benefits and Pros of Sun Basket Meal Delivery Service:
Teaches cooking skills.
Meal delivery services are great for those that don’t feel comfortable or knowledgeable cooking. Step by step instructions are included and the ingredients are already measured out so you just add them in according to the directions.
Introduces new foods.
By trying new foods and cooking methods, a meal service can show you how easy cooking at home can be. Home cooked meals have great advantages, such as generally being more healthy than take out, saves money, and helps teach kids how to cook, which can bring families together for an enjoyable activity. I have a friend who orders meal delivery meals to have a meaningful activity to do with her young adult daughter.
In one order, I ordered a Pad Thai Shrimp meal because I had never tried Pad Thai before, especially at home. I had no idea what rice noodles were. By trying the meal which came with everything I needed, I learned how easy and quick rice noodles and Pad Thai are to cook. Plus, rice noodles are gluten-free. I was able to try a new dish without spending extra money on things like fish sauce or tamarind that I had no idea if I would like and use again. Now that I know my family likes the dish, I have found a recipe I like and make it several times a month.
Ease of Preparing a Meal without shopping.
These meals come all ready to go. No shopping trip required. Orders are done online and are very easy. It’s easy to cancel for a week or more if you don’t want to get them every week. Everything comes together so there’s no forgetting something at the grocery store. These are great for busy moms who don’t have as much time to plan a menu and grocery shop. They are also great for college kids. When my son was super busy with exams in college, I sent him a week of meals. He loved it!
Sun Basket uses minimally processed and while food ingredients. There are no preservatives or additives. The recipes didn’t require added salt. They were low-fat. Each meal came with vegetable side dishes to help increase vegetable intake which is important.
The cost per meal can seem high. One thing to keep in mind is that it is less than most meals eaten out. You can plan on ordering a few a week or month, knowing the other days you can prepare something else at home that is less expensive. These meals are usually made in less than 30 minutes, so if you know on certain evenings you tend to eat out because you get home late or your kids have sports activities or lessons, it is much healthier than eating out and less expensive than a family meal out.
Another thing to consider when thinking about cost is the meals include every spice, sauce, herb, lemon/lime etc. with every meal. You have them pre-portioned and ready to add in. When you consider buying the extras like spices or herbs, a meal could add up. This is why when I order, I choose foods I do not normally have the ingredients at home or usually buy.
The meals are made for a certain amount of family members. You choose the size of the meal. I chose servings for two. Although the servings were fine for my husband, daughter, and I, for some that are used to larger portions, they may feel like the food isn’t enough. I would encourage you to learn appropriate portion sizes. Due to so many people eating out, portion sizes have grown tremendously over the last 20 years or so. A Big Mac or Whopper used to be the size of a kids hamburger. A soda used to be 8 ounces and now is 20 or more. This has contributed to the obesity epidemic. We have become accustomed to the larger serving sizes and think that is the correct amount.
This can be a pro as well because it can help teach an appropriate portion size. I opened several meals and thought to myself that the food may not be enough. It was the right amount after we prepared our plates and ate. The only meal that I cooked an extra side was the chicken wings that came with a slaw. I cooked some roasted potatoes as a side. Many meals you could add some bread or fruit if you needed more food.
Nutritional content of some meals:
Some of the meals were higher in sodium that I wanted. The nutritional analysis is available on each meal when choosing your selections, so pay close attention if you are restricting a certain nutrient. Many of them were lower in sodium, but since I chose some Asian foods which I had never tried before, they were higher in sodium than others.
As a dietitian, I would highly recommend this meal service. It was perfect for a busy week and made my life easier. Plus, I was excited each day to try something new. It was also nice to not to have to think about what I was going to cook that night. These meals get high stars for healthy meal that is quick and easy!
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