There are tons of meal delivery programs that have been gaining popularity recently – and many of them offer gluten free options. A meal delivery program can be great for someone who is transitioning to a gluten free lifestyle or anyone who wants the convenience of not having to grocery shop, plan, and cook all of their meals. These programs can help to take the guesswork out of going gluten free and can add more variety for anyone who is overwhelmed by gluten free cooking. But are they any good? I wanted to find out for myself so I tested out 4 different companies: Sakara, Freshly, Veestro, and Splendid Spoon.
I will post my thoughts on these in the order that I tried them, starting with Sakara –
*I was not compensated for these reviews, all opinions expressed are my own*
sakara.com (Disclaimer: If you purchase through this link you will get $50 off your order and so will I)
Sakara offers a 3 day per week program and a 5 day per week program of breakfast, lunch and dinner. I chose the 3 day per week program which was delivered by mail on Tuesday afternoons. They deliver throughout the US by mail(you get all 3 days of food in one delivery) but if you live in NYC or LA I believe they deliver your food daily. The total cost per meal with shipping comes out to about $46 per meal(the most expensive of the programs I tried). However, the food is all vegan, gluten free, and organic – so I know they are using high quality ingredients. You can skip a week or cancel your subscription at any time, otherwise you are “opted-in” automatically to receive the meals each week. Their website does have a calendar feature that allows you to schedule a skip week a few weeks in advance.
The big positive feature of this program for me was that there were a lot of unique flavor combinations and they utilized ingredients that I wouldn’t have thought to purchase. There were a lot of leafy greens and the menu changes weekly so I definitely got the variety I was looking for. I found most other meal services do not change their menus weekly so this set Sakara apart. Some meals are repeated within a season(especially if you do the 5 day program) but I did not have many repeat meals. Sakara also includes some products with your subscription in addition to the meals; for each day that you have meals ordered you also receive their detox tea(2 tea bags), beauty water, and detox water. The beauty water has rose and silica and is meant to start off your morning; the detox water has chlorella and is supposed to aid with sleep. The detox tea is caffeine free and intended to help with digestion after lunch. I enjoyed the bonus products although I found it difficult to get in the habit of drinking all 3 every day and often missed at least one(I now have a stockpile of their tea bags and water concentrates). I also ordered some of their other snack products including their trio of popcorns(sea salt, kettle corn, and cheezy) and beauty chocolates; the cheezy popcorn was my favorite but I felt it was overpriced so I have started making my own. Another bonus of this program is that they really cater to social media; their packaging is beautiful and they often include “swag” with your subscription delivery.
I felt Sakara started off strong but then I noticed a decline in the quality as time went on, particularly after they were featured on a large platform. This makes me think they might have grown too quickly and couldn’t keep up. One issue I had with this program was that the meals would get rather soggy by the 3rd day since they had been prepared 4-5 days in advance. Salads are not particularly suited to sit for days at a time especially with the components already assembled, so this made some of the meals unappetizing. This is a difficult problem to solve with meal delivery programs, particularly with so many leafy greens involved. However I felt they made some avoidable mistakes and I wasn’t fully satisfied with how they were handled. For example, one of my deliveries arrived with the interior covered in chili and upon further inspection I realized the lid of the soup container just hadn’t been screwed on properly. When I emailed Sakara about this they only offered to refund that one meal, even though the rest of my meals for the week had been soaked with chili. I also wasn’t a fan of how they prepared avocado – the avocado was covered in seeds to try to cover up the browning, I found this gross and would have preferred the avocado be left out. Another issue I had with this program was that they don’t allow you to choose any of your meals, you just get whatever is on the menu. If you don’t like the menu your only option is to skip that week entirely, so it’s a “take it or leave it” system. I also was disappointed that the best breakfast items(ie. Cinnamon rolls) seemed to always fall on the weekend so only the 5 day per week subscribers got to try them. Additionally, the ingredients are listed on the packaging but no calorie/nutritional information is provided for the meals. While at least 1 meal per day was a salad, often breakfast or dinner would need to be heated up(or vastly improved by heating) and Sakara does not provide specific instructions for the best way to do this so I was often left guessing about how long I should heat something and what temperature to set my oven/wok etc.
Pros: All GF vegan and organic, lots of variety and interesting combinations, leafy greens and fresh vegetables
Cons: dominated by salads, many meals were soggy, can’t choose your meals, calories not listed, confusing to heat up different meals
1. A wok is useful for heating up many of the meals
2. For nearly all of the dishes too much dressing is provided, to the point where your meal gets very soggy if you use all of it, so have some extra greens on hand in case you over-dress.
3. If you live in the NYC or LA delivery areas you will probably be happier with the freshness of these meals
Favorite Meals: Zen Zucchini Muffin, Sakara Bibimbap, margherita flatbread, and patatas mas bravas(a savory breakfast dish)
Summary: This program kept me motivated for the first few weeks but seemed to decline in quality after that. I would consider ordering again for a detox/reset but I don’t think I would do it long-term again.
My reviews of other meal delivery programs in this series will be available at the following links: