Choosing a vegan meal delivery service
If you have a lack of experience planning and preparing vegan cuisine, and little time to cook, it’s easy to get frustrated at meal times if you’re trying to eat more plant-based food.
Fortunately, there are a few convenient ways to incorporate more vegan meals into your eating routine. (Here’s how to do vegetarian and vegan meal prep.)
Some restaurant delivery apps now have a vegan search category which can help you scope out vegan restaurants in your area. According to the industry publication Total Food Service, there were 1,474 exclusively vegan restaurants in the United States in 2020, and that number is likely to grow. (Try these plant-based fast food options.)
Another great option: a meal delivery service. The number of vegan meal delivery services has skyrocketed recently, with several options for ready-to-eat, or heat-and-eat meals.
As a registered dietitian, my top priority is nutrition and quality ingredients. But, from a practical standpoint, taste and variety are two key factors that predict sustainability, or stick-with-it-ness.
I get it. It’s important to look forward to each meal, feel both nourished and satisfied, and enjoy different types of cuisine to keep your taste buds enticed. A meal delivery service can check all of these boxes, and offer bonus benefits.
Why you should eat more vegan meals
Even if you don’t intend to go fully vegan, there are important reasons to incorporate more vegan meals into your eating regimen. A 2015 study, published in the journal Nutrition, compared five diets: vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, semi-vegetarian, and pescatarian.
At the six-month mark, the vegan eaters lost significantly more weight than those following the other diets.
A 100 percent plant-based diet fared better than an American Heart Association–recommended diet in an eight-week study published in 2018 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Researchers found that a vegan diet led to 32 percent lower levels of high‐sensitivity C‐reactive protein, a blood marker for inflammation and heart disease risk.
Eating vegan more often is also good for the planet. A 2019 study, published in the journal Sustainability, found that meatless meals have more than a 40 percent reduction in environmental impacts, including carbon footprint, water use, resource consumption, health impacts of pollution, and ecosystem quality.
The DASH diet, which was developed with funds from the National Institutes of Health, is recommended for anyone with high blood pressure or a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke. That said, following it—or even incorporating some of its principles—can be good for almost anyone since it’s a healthy lifestyle choice, not a fad diet. After all, if you’re regularly eating out or eating a lot of processed foods, you’re likely consuming too much sodium. And research indicates that aside from the obvious health problems, a sodium-heavy diet could lead to overeating and weight gain.
Ready-to-eat vegan meal delivery options
If you’re convinced or curious about going vegan, even for a brief period or part-time, check out my top eight picks for vegan meals brought to your door. These meals also deliver on both nutrition and taste. Each is available within the continental United States, unless otherwise indicated. I’ve included notes on menu options, prices, and unique features.
Try one to get started, or order a few to mix things up. Ready-to-eat meals can meet all of your needs, or can supplement homemade and takeout meals. They can also spark creativity, and inspire you to begin whipping up your own vegan creations at home!
Daily Harvest offers a range of thoughtfully sourced, chef-crafted meals, which are all vegan and gluten-free. The majority of recipes are also soy-free, except for those that use fermented soy products, such as miso and tamari.
Options include smoothies, oat and chia bowls, savory harvest bowls, flatbreads, soups, and treats, including ice cream and bites (think energy balls), like hazelnut chocolate, coconut lemon, and espresso bean tahini.
You can choose from three different plans—9, 14, or 24 items, with each item ranging from $5.99 to $8.99. Shipping is free, and you’ll receive a discount on your first box of $20-35 off.
I appreciate that you can mix-and-match from any of the meal categories. For example, in a 14-item order, you can select something like 2 smoothies, 2 chia bowls, 3 soups, 2 flatbreads, 3 harvest bowls, and 2 bites.
The ingredients are stellar, and I love that all of Daily Harvest’s fruits and vegetables are frozen on the farm within 24 hours of picking, at their peak nutritional value and flavor.
The meals are also beautiful, 95 percent of the ingredients are organic, and last year the company began rolling out 100 percent compostable and recyclable packaging that breaks down naturally, instead of sitting in a landfill. It’s one of the go-to services I recommend to my clients.
(Here are the gluten-free foods nutritionists love.)
As a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, I work with athletes in numerous sports, so I was excited to discover Fire Road. What sets this brand’s meals apart is they are higher in protein compared to most vegan delivery options.
Each frozen entree provides between 27 and 39 grams of protein, with choices that include a southwest harvest grain bowl and sweet potato mac n’ cheese. They also offer smoothies, and power breakfast overnight oats.
In addition to listing ingredients and nutrition facts, each meal’s performance benefits are also highlighted. For example, the pea protein found in the smoothies provides branched chain amino acids, which help with muscle building and repair.
Allergens can also easily be identified before ordering, and you can preview each meal’s heating instructions.
Customers can select 8, 12, or 16 meals per week, which range from $76 to $136. Fire Road uses recyclable, biodegradable packaging, and meals will keep in the freezer for a month.
Unfortunately, the service isn’t available nationwide, but they do deliver to all or parts of 28 states and Washington, D.C..
(These are the best vegan protein sources.)
Nutrition for Longevity
This brand offers both pescatarian and vegan ready-to-eat meals, inspired by the principles of The Longevity Diet, created by Dr. Valter Longo, director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California.
Nutrition for Longevity has its own farm, and uses organic farming practices to produce nutrient-dense non-GMO food (no genetically modified organisms) that’s delivered to your door less than 48 hours from harvest.
The entrees are curated by two Michelin Star chefs, and I’m thrilled that each meal plan comes with a complimentary consult with a registered dietitian.
You can choose from a 1,600- or 2,000-calorie per day plan, and receive breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack, either three, four, or five days per week. A day’s worth of meals includes an impressive six or more servings of produce, and at least 25 grams of fiber.
The three-day per week plan is $108, but you may catch a flash sale for as much as 30 percent off. Meals options include golden chia pudding with mango topping, Okinawan cold ramen noodle salad, and Nicoyan pinto bean ceviche.
They also sell fresh produce boxes, organic coffee, dark chocolate, and premium extra virgin olive oil.
Go Buddha, an Ohio-based company, was voted the No. 1 best new meal service in 2021 by VegNews’s annual Veggie Awards. A custom box, which allows you to select six meals and two desserts, costs $130, with free next-day air shipping via UPS nationwide.
Meal options include: burgers (like the Greek burger, made from tofu, whole grains, veggies, and hemp hearts on a gluten-free, seeded bun), sofritas and lentil bean chili, and Kung Pao cauliflower and broccoli. The dessert selections sound downright delicious, including dark chocolate date fudge brownies, vegan cheesecakes, and more.
Soy-free meals are also available, including the option to order a bundle of eight soy-free meals for $100.
(Try these 5 tasty vegan burgers.)
Mama Sezz will deliver a vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO box to you via FedEx every two weeks that includes 24-28 servings for $169. Options include high protein breakfast bars, tuna-ish salad, jerk lentils, Moroccan stew, and treats like rice pudding and cornbread.
Customers can view each item’s ingredients and nutrition facts before selecting, and find no soy choices by using the website’s soy-free filter.
The brand works with local farmers, and substitutes with conventional ingredients only when organic is not available. All meals are delivered fresh and fully prepared, but can be frozen for up to two months (with the exception of the cornbread, which they say doesn’t freeze well).
Instructions for how to re-heat if needed are provided, and if you want to recycle the packaging, each box comes with a return shipping label. Just place your empty packaging materials back into the box, add the return-shipping label, and schedule a FedEx pickup. I love that perk!
(Have time to go to the supermarket? These are the best vegan foods at Costco to stock up on.)
Purple Carrot offers both meal kits and prepared meals. The latter provides a rotating menu, with current selections that include chickpea pineapple curry, a stuffed pepper bowl, and creamy miso ginger noodles.
Ready-to-eat meals are $12.99 each with a first week $20 discount, and available at six, eight, or 10 items per week. If you’re looking for more options, including breakfast and snacks, check out their meal kit choices. Gluten-free options are available, and you can view ingredients, nutrition facts, and allergen info before selecting.
(Here’s a dairy-free vegan sour cream recipe to try.)
Splendid Spoon is a meal delivery brand that offers low-sugar smoothies, bowls, soups, noodle dishes, and wellness shots. All are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and ready-to-eat, and plans range from one meal occasion per day (such as breakfast only or just lunch) to three daily meals, plus a “reset,” which is a day’s worth of soups.
The full package includes five of each menu item for $185 with free shipping, delivered to the lower 48 states.
Choices include mint chip and chocolate cherry smoothies, a Cuban black bean bowl, red curry noodles, butternut turmeric soup, and ginger lemon wellness shots. Ingredients and nutrition facts are visible for each item before selecting, and the product packaging is 100 percent recyclable.
(Try this protein-rich coffee smoothie as a meal.)
Veestro offers fully prepared, 100 percent plant-based meals made from organic ingredients, with either an a la carte or weight loss-focused option. The latter provides three daily meals with about 1,200 total calories. Customers can also select meals that are kosher, high protein, nut-free, gluten-free, and soy-free.
A five-day weight loss box that contains 15 meals is $175.50, with 15 percent off the first box. This plan offers some enticing comfort food choices, like enchilada casserole, pasta Bolognese, and southwest BBQ chick’n.
Ingredients and nutrition facts for each are easily accessible, and a la carte options include vegan pizzas, quesadillas, and baked mac & cheez.
If you’re looking for plant-based versions of your favorite can’t-live-without dishes, Veestro is a great fit. They ship within the United States except for Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico via complimentary FedEx delivery.
Items can be kept up in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, or stored in the freezer for 8-10 weeks.
Next, check out the plant-based food trends for 2021.
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