Top Plant-Based Diet Meal Delivery Services

Of the many different ways there are to eat, a diet that focuses on plants is among the healthiest. Various studies over the years have demonstrated that plant-based diets can cut cardiovascular disease risk, prevent and better manage Type 2 diabetes and generally improve your life expectancy. These diets may also present fewer environmental concerns and may be less expensive than meat-centric diets.

What Does Plant-Based Mean?

“A plant-forward diet, as plant-based diets are also known, is made up primarily of plant foods,” says Cathy Leman, a registered dietitian nutritionist and founder of Dam. Mad. About Breast Cancer, a nutritional consulting firm aimed at helping breast cancer patients and survivors. “Choosing a plant-based diet doesn’t mean only eating a vegan or vegetarian diet, nor does it mean completely avoiding meat, fish, seafood, poultry, eggs or dairy.”

Many plant-based diets allow a little bit of everything. “It’s a pattern of eating where plant foods take center-stage, and animal protein plays a smaller supporting role. Plant-based diets are built from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, peas and lentils and soy,” Leman explains.

Lindsey Kane, a registered dietitian and in-house dietitian and director of nutrition for Sunbasket, a meal delivery service based in San Francisco, says that “a plant-based diet is exactly how it sounds: A diet in which the base of the diet is composed of plants.” Though it bears similarities to the vegan diet, it’s different in that the plant-based diet “does not require abandoning animal products altogether, whereas a vegan diet requires complete elimination,” she explains.

This focus on plants provides a “nutritional edge,” Kane says, because “it encourages a strong emphasis on nutrient-rich, whole foods, while keeping processed foods to a minimum. In contrast, a vegan diet does not take into account the level of processing. The term only considers whether or not a food contains ingredients derived from animals.”

One reason why Kane likes the plant-based approach is that “it focuses on what you can have, rather than what you can’t. Instead of saying ‘eat less meat,’ the plant-based motto is ‘just eat more plants.’ ”

[SEE: Plant-Based Diet Ideas.]

Plant-Based Health Benefits

A plant-based approach is superior to the standard American (or Western) diet (SAD), Leman says. The SAD is “defined by a high intake of processed and red meat, high-fat dairy products, butter, eggs, French fries, high-calorie drinks, refined grains, sweets convenience foods and sauces.”

While some of these items may fit the technical definition of being vegetables or vegan, they don’t fit the plant-based approach, Kane says. For example, “a plate of French fries, while technically vegan, is not a prime example of a plant-based way of eating because they do not embrace the nutrient-rich, minimally processed attribute of plant-based eating.”

Leman adds that the plant-based diet can be a great alternative to the SAD “when approached with health in mind, and planned deliberately.” And “because no single food group is eliminated on a plant-based diet, it’s appropriate for everyone.”

Kane agrees that anyone can follow a plant-based diet. “The beauty of this way of eating is that it’s not rigid. It offers plenty of freedom and flexibility for each individual to find their spot along the plant-based spectrum and slowly shift towards more plants at whatever pace feels comfortable, enjoyable and sustainable .”

That said, Leman still recommends “meeting with a registered dietitian to ensure all nutrient requirements are being met, and for guidance in making a smooth transition to a new dietary pattern.”

There are different interpretations of what it means to eat a plant-based diet, and some, such as the DASH diet, might be a better fit for people with hypertension or certain other medical conditions. A dietitian or doctor can help you navigate these finer points in deciding what to eat.

Samantha Cochrane, a registered dietitian with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, agrees that if you’re looking to switch to a plant-based diet, it’s always wise to speak with a dietitian first to make sure you’re covering all your nutritional bases.

“I always recommend whole plant foods rather than processed foods,” Cochrane notes. I like to tell my patients to make every plate half vegetables,” which will provide lots of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, that may help lower the risk of many chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Foods that are high in fiber, such as leafy greens and crunchy vegetables, can also help you feel fuller longer, which may lead to weight loss and the health benefits associated with a trimmer waistline. She also says adding plant-based protein sources, such as tofu, can help you adopt a more plant-based diet.

[See: 11 Cheap Plant-Based Meals.]

Using a Meal Delivery Service

Using a meal delivery kit to help you move into a plant-based eating pattern or to stick with it can be a good option. “You can’t beat doorstep delivery convenience,” Leman says. “However, on non-delivery days or when you’re no longer using a delivery service, it’s important to get the right balance of food on your plate. If you can do that, a meal delivery service can certainly make it easier to enjoy a nourishing meal.”

Kane notes that when starting a new diet, the first steps can “feel unfamiliar and intimidating. If you aren’t currently eating a lot of plants, you’re likely not cooking with a lot of plants, either,” and figuring out how to prepare them correctly and in delicious ways may require a little effort. “A meal-delivery service can be a great strategy to break down some of the most common perceived barriers to plant-based eating. If you find yourself thinking, I don’t know what to eat or how to prepare it… meal kits can help bring peace and confidence.”

Compare the Most Popular Plant-Based Meal Delivery Services:

Meal plan options Average cost per meal Shipping costs Average prep time
Purple Carrot For meal kits, you can choose between three or four meals per week and two or four servings of each meal. For prepared meals, you can select six, eight or 10 meals per week. Meal kits are $11.00 to $13.25. Prepared meals are $13.00 per serving. Free. 30 to 45 minutes for meal kits.
Sunbasket Meal kits can be ordered for two to five dinners per week, each serving two or four people per week. Anywhere from 4 to 10 prepared meals can be ordered each week. Meal kits start at $11.49 per serving, and ready-to-eat meals are $9.99 per serving. $7.99 per order. 20-45 minutes.
Green Chef Meal kits can be purchased for 3 or 4 meals each week with 2, 4 or 6 servings each. Meal kits are $11.99 to $13.49 per serving. $9.99 per box 30 minutes.
Splendid Spoon Order a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 28 items weekly. $8.80 to $13.50 $12.99 per box Ready-made meals, including smoothies, soups and grain bowls.
Veestro You can choose from 6-15 meals in a box, depending on where you live. $11.03 to $12.82. Shipping ranges from $7.95 to $12.95 per box. Freshly-made meals, just heat and eat or freeze for later use.
Hungryroot Weekly subscription, with multiple plans offering a customizable number of meals, snacks and sweets to be delivered. $8.50 to $13.00. Free shipping for orders over $70; $6.99 for smaller orders. 10 minutes.
Fresh n’ Lean Choose one to three meals daily, five or seven days per week. $9.99 to $15.49. Free, excluding AK and HI. Ready-made meals, just heat and eat
Blue Apron Choose 2 or 4 servings for each of 2, 3 or 4 meal kits per week or 6, 8, or 10 prepared meals (each with one serving). $7.99 to 11.99 per serving for meal kits. $13 per serving for prepared meals. $9.99 shipping. Meal kits take an average of 35 minutes to prepare, and prepared meals can be heated and ready to eat within two minutes.

Top Companies That Deliver Plant-Based Meals

While she doesn’t endorse a specific service, Leman says, “there are many plant-based meal delivery services available. Choosing one is simply a matter of finding which best fits your budget and dietary preferences.”

Cochrane adds that these services vary in what they offer, so you should do your research to make sure you’re getting the right fit for your needs. “Most of them give you a lot of fresh food options that you can cook yourself. That can be a good way to add vegetables more easily.”

Top Plant-Based Meal Delivery Services:

— Purple Carrot.

— Sunbasket.

— Green Chef.

— Splendid Spoon.

— Veestro.

— Hungryroot.

— Fresh n’ Lean.

— Blue Apron.

[READ: Tips to Adjust to a Plant-Based Diet.]

Purple Carrot

— Cook fresh meals from ingredients delivered to your door.

— All plant-based and vegan meals.

— Easy-to-cook meals, and extras come with step-by-step instructions.

Founded by a former pharmaceutical executive who developed Crohn’s disease, Purple Carrot offers plant-based, vegetarian and vegan meals for people who want the convenience of ingredients and recipes shipped to their door. Some basic cooking skills and utensils are necessary to enjoy Purple Carrot meals, and most meals take 30 to 45 minutes on average to prepare.

Purple Carrot labels its plant-based meals as high-protein, nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free, “quick and easy” meals and options with fewer than 600 calories per serving. Two-serving plans are available. This plan is “ideal for singles or small families” and costs $13.25 per serving. Subscribers can mix and match three or four plant-based dinners from a variety of options each week. Prepared meals are another great option for individuals tasked with feeding one or two people. With this plan, six, eight or 10 individual meals each week are delivered and ready to eat within minutes.

Sample meal: tempeh vegetable korma with basmati rice and mango chutney.

— Calories: 770.

— Total fat: 21 grams.

— Carbohydrates: 106 grams (8 grams dietary fiber, 30 grams sugar including 8 grams added sugar).

— Protein: 28 grams.

— Cholesterol: 0 milligrams.

— Sodium 660 milligrams.

Sunbasket

— Organic produce and clean ingredients.

— Most meals contain between 400 and 800 calories.

Sunbasket offers a wide range of meal kit options in its subscription-based delivery programs. The Vegetarian Meal Plan offers organic produce, eggs and tofu made from non-GMO soy. It touts “plenty of protein” from “plant-based proteins” and organic eggs. Other plan options include pescatarian and Mediterranean.

Their vegetarian meals are “perfectly portioned” to clock in at about 400 to 800 calories per serving and contain at least 10 grams of protein and five grams of fiber per serving. The vegetarian plan is also “rich in omega-3s and good fats sourced from olives, nuts, seeds and avocados.

Most meal kits can be prepared in about 30 minutes and require basic cooking skills and utensils. Fresh & Ready meals can be microwaved or baked in mere minutes. The packaging is recyclable and compostable.

Sample meal: Roman orecchiette and chickpeas with spinach.

— Prep time: 20 minutes.

— Calories: 610.

— Total fat: 23 grams.

— Carbohydrates: 81 grams (9 grams dietary fiber, 8 grams sugar).

— Protein: 20 grams.

— Cholesterol: 10 milligrams.

— Sodium: 350 milligrams.

Green Chef

— Fresh, organic premeasured ingredients delivered to your door.

— Step-by-step recipes and instructions.

— Most meals are ready in about 30 minutes.

Green Chef offers vegetarian and vegan meals (in addition to keto + paleo, Mediterranean, Fast & Fit and gluten-free meals) as part of its subscription program options. Vegetarian meals start at $12.99 per meal for the two-person plan — one box contains four dinners for two people, or eight servings total, per box. Two servings each of three meals per week costs slightly more per serving, $13.49. Plans are also offered with four to six servings of three or four meals weekly.

Green Chef delivers to almost all of the continental U.S. but is currently unable to deliver to Alaska and Hawaii. Shipping is $9.99.

Sample meal: Moroccan sweet potato with tahini and quinoa with sautéed peppers and currants, red beet and carrot slaw

— Calories: 670.

— Total fat: 27 grams.

— Carbohydrates: 96 grams (17 grams dietary fiber, 30 grams sugar).

— Protein: 19 grams.

— Cholesterol: 0 milligrams.

— Sodium: 920 milligrams.

Splendid Spoon

— Choose from a variety of plant-based smoothies for breakfast, soups and grain bowls for lunch and noodle bowls for dinner.

— All items are free of gluten, GMO and animal products.

A former research biologist and graduate of the French Culinary Institute founded Splendid Spoon. The company offers “ready-to-eat, nourishing, plant-based smoothies, soups and grain bowls.” The program is designed for “everyone else sick of fad diets and ready to improve their relationships with food.”

Splendid Spoon’s products contain fresh, plant-based, gluten-free and GMO-free ingredients. There are four plans available. The company ships nationally.

— Breakfast: seven smoothies for $82.92.

— Lunch: seven bowls delivered weekly for $100.42

— Breakfast + Lunch: 7 smoothies and seven soups and grains bowls delivered weekly, for $147.36per week

— The Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner plan consists of seven smoothies, seven soup and grain bowls and seven noodle bowls for $226.79.

Bundles and reset+ plans are also available on the website as one-time purchases.

Sample meal: Moroccan spiced buckwheat bowl with butternut squash and currants.

— Calories: 180.

— Carbohydrates: 28 grams (6 grams dietary fiber, 9 grams sugar).

— Protein: 5 grams.

— Total fat: 5 grams.

— Cholesterol: 0 milligrams.

— Sodium: 200 milligrams.

Veestro

— Meals are delivered fresh — just heat and eat, or freeze for later.

— All meals are free of meat, chicken, fish, dairy and honey.

— No preservatives.

Aimed at busy people who want to eat healthily, Veestro offers premade plant-based and vegan meals delivered to your door. Part of the company’s “plantifesto” explains that, “we believe busy people deserve it all: flavorful, healthy, easy fast.” And that “we believe plants are the greatest food on earth.”

Since moving from a frozen meal to a fresh business model, Veestro no longer has as large of a delivery area. Check the website to see if delivery is offered where you live. . Shipping ranges from $7.95 to $12.95 per delivery. You can choose to have meals shipped in quantities of 6-15, depending on where you live. Packaging is 100% recyclable or compostable.

Sample meal: carrot osso bucco (blend of organic mushrooms, carrots and onions in red wine vegetable bouillon).

— Calories: 210.

— Total fat: 11 grams.

— Carbohydrates: 22 grams (6 grams dietary fiber, 7 grams sugars).

— Protein: 6 grams.

— Cholesterol: 0 milligrams.

— Sodium: 550 milligrams.

Hungryroot

— Variety of fresh, plant-based foods.

— Tailor to personal preferences.

— Part grocery delivery, part meal kit program.

Hungryroot is part grocery delivery service, part meal kit plan. Subscribers get all the ingredients and instructions necessary to make quick and delicious meals. The company takes the pain out of meal planning — just input your preferences and food restrictions and they send groceries and recipes for you to cook fresh at home. Most recipes are quick to make and ready to eat in 10 minutes. You can even add healthy snacks and pantry staples to your shipments.

The company offers multiple plan sizese. The small plan is a weekly subscription that’s “great for one” person and costs $69 weekly. It contains enough groceries to make three to four two-serving meals plus snacks. Other plan sizes and costs depend on how many breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and sweets you elect each week. Hungry Root does not currently deliver to Hawaii or Alaska. Delivery is $6.99 for small plans and free for larger plans.

Fresh n’ Lean

— Ready-made meals, just heat and eat.

— New menus are offered weekly.

— Vegan meals include no gluten or GMOs and contain no added sugar, processed ingredients or artificial flavors.

— Offers meals for a full day.

Fresh n’ Lean offers organic, 100% vegan,low-carb vegan or Mediterranean diet meals ready to heat and eat. Recipes feature organic, seasonal ingredients and are free from GMOs, gluten, dairy and “anything bad whatsoever. Always.”

Vegan meal plans include your choice of breakfasts, lunches and dinners for five or seven days per week and start at $14.99 each, while Mediterranean meals start at $15.49. Packaging is BPA-free and fully recyclable.

— 43 grams of protein.

— 144 grams of carbohydrates.

— 35 grams of fat.

— 1,225 calories.

Subscribers can order additional meals and snacks a la carte. The company provides breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Shipping is free (excluding Hawaii and Alaska), and meals are delivered nationwide.

Blue Apron

— Chef-designed recipes are quick and easy to make.

— Responsibly sourced quality ingredients.

— All ingredients are perfectly portioned to eliminate waste.

Blue Apron is one of the biggest names in meal kit delivery services. The company offers many vegetarian and plant-based meal options. These meat-free dishes “celebrate the best of seasonal produce.”

The two-serving vegetarian plan offers two, three or four recipes per week. The four-recipe plan serving two people costs $9.49 per serving plus $9.99 shipping for a weekly total of $85.91. The vegetarian four-serving plan is great for families or people who want to meal plan for the entire week. It offers two, three or four recipes per week, and each recipe serves four. The per-serving cost ranges from $7.99 to $9.49, depending on the number of recipes per week.

The vegetarian four-serving plan is great for families or people who want to meal plan for the entire week. It offers two, three or four recipes per week and each recipe serves four. The per-serving cost ranges from $7.99 to $9.49, depending on the number of recipes per week.

The company also offers wine pairing suggestions for all its meals. Each 500 ml bottle of wine, which is smaller than a standard bottle of 750 ml, costs $11.00.

Sample meal: zucchini and ricotta sandwiches with butter lettuce and cucumber salad.

— Prep time: 35 minutes.

— Calories: 630 calories.

— Total fat: 16 grams.

— Carbohydrates: 58 grams (6 grams dietary fiber, 7 grams sugar).

— Protein: 20 grams.

— Cholesterol: 30 milligrams.

— Sodium: 970 milligrams.

The Takeaway

However you decide to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, Leman wants people interested in adopting a plant-based diet to know a few things:

— Following a plant-based diet doesn’t mean automatic weight loss.

— A plant-based diet is not a guarantee against getting cancer of any type.

— Healthy, nourishing, plant-based diets include high-quality whole foods.

To make the process easier and to help ensure it lasts long term, Leman suggests making small, incremental changes. She also recommends getting a plant-based cookbook that isn’t too intimidating. And lastly, be open to “lots of experimentation!”

More from U.S. News

Top Plant-Based Proteins

11 Cheap Plant-Based Meals

12 Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Top Plant-Based Diet Meal Delivery Services originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 12/02/22: This story was previously published and has been updated with new information.

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