Jumpstart your plant-based diet with these tools.
By Ellie Erlich, The Better Nutrition Program intern
Resolving to eat more plants in 2019? Awesome plant sauce! If you’re thinking about starting or progressing to a more plant-based diet for 2019, your head may be dizzy with questions of what is better to eat, to buy and to prepare. Oh and what will taste as good as your current choices?
Here are two better nutrition tools to help:
- Grab the better plant-based nutrition guide
- Consider a better plant-based diet “training wheels” option like meal kit delivery services.
Meal kits can be a support system for your endeavor – teaching better portion sizes, nutrient balance, and how to enjoy better flavor – and give you a glimpse into the tools you need to build your better plant based nutrition plan.
Here are our thoughts on three popular services: Sakara Life, Purple Carrot, and Urban Remedy.
Our reviews can help you pick the better meal kit for you.
3 Popular Plant Based Diet Services reviewed by The Better Nutrition Program team
For the busy, on-the-go type:
Sakara Life is a vegan meal delivery service that provides fresh, already prepared options.
- Provides up to three plant-based meals per day, functional waters and Detox tea.
- Program can last from 3 to 5 days.
- Prices range from $119 to $410 per week.
Sakara relays nutrition information related to each meal you are receiving so you learn where to get nutrients, micronutrients, and antioxidants. But does it really deliver on better nutrition?
- Meals are packed with nutrient-dense veggies such as salad greens, sweet potato, eggplant, chickpeas and more.
- Dressings are low in sugar, free of refined sugar, gluten and dairy free.
- Meals totally delivered on flavor (favorites included a spicy Ethiopian plate with injera flatbread and turmeric spiced lentils, and kimchi and buckwheat soba bowl with sesame bok choy – yum!)
- Low in calories.
- Zero prep work – just grab a fork and go!
- Tote bags and reusable ice packs are provided.
- Depending on your size and activity level, you may need to supplement snacks outside of the Sakara Life meal kit.
- Teas and beauty chocolates did little to satisfy hunger between meals (but did add a tasty dose of magnesium!)
- Pricey for the amount of nutrition being delivered.
Pleasantly surprised by how good the food was and how much I looked forward to eating it! This is a great kick-start for those looking to go more plant-based in the New Year – you’ll be able to taste how delicious these ingredients can be and get inspired to incorporate them into your own cooking or use them to make better lunch choices when eating out.
For the at-home cook:
Purple Carrot is a different kind of meal kit as it does require some time in the kitchen. Some quick facts:
- The $72 plan delivers three unique meals for the week which feed up to 2 people.
- Each box comes with portioned vegetables, grains, condiments and more
- Each ingredient is individually wrapped and labeled according to the corresponding recipe
Before we the kit game, I received an email with all of the food I would be cooking that week: Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas, Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprout Stir Fry with Quinoa and Sweet Potato Noodles with Za’atar Roasted Chickpeas. Sounds delicious, but complicated…
…and it was. Each recipe took around 45 minutes and used up pretty much every piece of equipment in my kitchen – blender, oven, up to two pans or pots, peelers, knives, oh man! By the end of the cooking process I was wiped out, but there were some great aspects of Purple Carrot:
- Food tasted delicious, and instilled a sense of pride (who knew I could whip up a mole sauce or make brussels sprouts rival a restaurant quality dish?)
- Meals fed me AND two other people – leftovers were always available
- Great way to learn how to eat a rainbow daily
- Incorporates complex carbs from seeds, nuts, vegetables and legumes
- Filling! Plants can definitely leave you feeling fully satisfied
- Not low in calories (around 500 – 800 per servings)
- Nutrient balance was an issue – to get in protein and healthy fat amounts meant too many carbs for me (at each meal)
- Time consuming
- Use of added sugars to make sauces
- Dressings and condiments were high in fat and sodium
Purple Carrot is great for those who love to cook or those who learn by doing. That time I spent in the kitchen felt like a cooking lesson where I adapted new techniques to bring vegetables to life and make plant-based taste so much more exciting. Nothing makes a nutrition tune-up more miserable than bland food, and Purple Carrot is a crash course in how to turn plants into five-star meals you actually want to eat.
Recover better from blowing your sugar budget :
Urban Remedy focuses on providing a reset from sugar with meals that are low-glycemic and supportive of your body’s natural detoxification process. If you’re looking to curb post-holiday cravings and jumpstart your metabolism, these low sugar juices, salads and teas may be right for you:
- Programs range from $115 to $210Several ready-to-eat plant-based meals categorized into these plans:
- Immune Bundle
- Keto Meal Plan* (includes animal protein)
- Cindy Crawford’s Essentials
- Organic, colorful meal & snack options
- Delicious variety of meals that require no prep
- Includes delicious liquids (juices, smoothies, soups) that are low in sugar
- Plans include 2 snacks daily so you have 5 pit stops
- Plans customized to your health goals
- May not be making it to your ‘hood just yet. Urban Remedy is based in California, so check if the delivery makes its way to your neighborhood on the website. They also sell ready made meals, nut milks and more at Whole Foods Market – an easy way to test the waters before you commit to a plan!
- Weather and travel conditions can impact delivery so plan ahead as you don’t want to be without breakfast!