If you didn’t get a chance to read my other meal service reviews, you can find them at these links: Blue Apron, Plated, Hello Fresh, Home Chef and Green Chef.
** Side note: You might have noticed a big gap between my Green Chef review and this one. Since finishing Green Chef, I had to take a break while I was working hard to finish studying for my ACE Personal Trainer exam to become a certified personal trainer. I successfully passed and am now both a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer. I'm in the process of finishing my new business website, Balance 52, and will be transferring the blog over to the new website this weekend! I also finished my Project 333 challenge on May 31st and will be adding a blog post soon about my experience with that. I will continue the blog as I transition into a full time role as a nutrition consultant and worksite wellness coordinator/consultant. I will be accepting both virtual and in person consultations and am working on accepting insurance for nutrition consultations. More to come on the details but let me know if you have any questions in the meantime! **
Now for my Sun Basket review!
Ordering: This meal delivery service, like Green Chef, accommodates special diets including seasonal, paleo, 'lean and clean', vegetarian and 'rise and shine' (2 dinners and 1 breakfast). Meal notes on each meal include gluten free, dairy free, paleo, low calorie, vegetarian and soy free. You have 11 different menu options and can only select 3 regardless of the meal type (I wanted to try breakfasts and dinners so I got the plan with the breakfast and 2 dinners for 2 people). You can easily change between any of the options available each week on their website. I contacted them about getting 3 dinners plus the breakfast but that wasn't possible at this time. Each 2 person meal plan with 2 meals is $11.49/meal and $5.99 delivery fee ($74.93 total). With the first time coupon code I saved $34.47 and paid a total of $34.47. You can also get your first 3 meals free by using this LINK.
Website: The website is organized, user friendly and nicely designed. This one, like Green Chef, was easier to see a summary of all of your preferences and move between different sections seamlessly. You can sort your meals in a 'recipe book' by 'all recipes' (includes selected meals on weeks where you didn't receive deliveries), 'loved' and 'ordered'. You can also view these on the app.
App: The app is much easier to flip between the different weeks by swiping (rather than having to individually click each week like some of the meal service apps making it quicker to move around and make changes. The pictures of the meals are beautiful and it's easy to see all information including special diet, nutrition and instructions. There's also a section with a blog including topics such as 'Bite Size Workouts- Three Moves to Strengthen your Core' and 'Our Five Favorite Nutrition Apps.'
Packaging: Sun Basket sends their meals in all recyclable materials including instructions on what to do with each packaging type. The meals are separated by meal in individual paper bags with the meat stored separately (similar to Hello Fresh and my favorite style of packaging organization as it makes for much quicker meal prep).
Jerk Chicken with Creamy Slaw and Quick Pickles: My husband and I agreed this was probably the best meal of all the meals we have received from any of the different meal services we have tried. The only issue with the recipe was that the sauce was pre-made and ingredients were included (olive oil, coconut palm nectar, coconut amino, fresh ginger, tomato paste, fresh garlic, coconut vinegar, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and salt) but not proportions which would make it difficult to reproduce. The flavors of the slaw, quick pickles and jerk chicken went perfectly together. The calories listed (730) didn't appear to be accurate based on the portion size. I also put the estimated ingredient amounts into MyFitnessPal and got a very different outcome so unless there were several tablespoons of extra oil in the jerk chicken recipe somehow it was probably a little off.
North African Black Lentil Pitas with Tangy Carrot-Cranberry Salad: I love the way lentils taste and the health benefits that come along with them (high in molybdenum, folate, fiber, copper, phosphorus and manganese, iron, protein, vitamin B1, pantothenic acid, zinc, potassium and vitamin B6) but I had never gotten around to cooking them before. Now I can say I've actually cooked them myself and it turns out they're very easy to cook just like everyone had told me! This was a meal I would have never thought to make and the flavors were very interesting and delicious. The Carrot-Cranberry Salad (made with a quick-pickle brine of apple cider vinegar and honey) and harissa powder added unique flavor I hadn't tried before. This is another meal I would definitely make again!
Pineapple-Coconut Smoothies & Kale Scramble with Chermoula: To get an idea of the full meal ordering experience, I decided to try the breakfast meal for the week. This was a very quick and easy meal. I ended up making the smoothie and eggs at two different times but they were both very good. The eggs were very fast and the chermoula was good but again like with the jerk chicken had ingredients listed (fresh parsley, cilantro, olive oil, fresh garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and ascorbic acid) but no proportions making it difficult to reproduce. The pineapple-coconut smoothie was similar to a pina colada but a little gritty because of the shaved coconut pieces. It was decent but I would probably decrease the coconut or change the ingredients up a bit if I were to make it again.
Nutrition: As I mentioned before, the listed nutrition facts for the jerk chicken didn't appear to be accurate, but if it were it came out to be about 65% fat which would be much higher than the recommended 20-35% of your calories coming from fat. Based on my own calculations, the meal seemed to be more balanced. The lentil pitas and breakfasts both had a good balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) and also provided vegetables, fruits, dairy, whole grain and meat/meat alternate (all food groups). If my calculations were correct, all meals came in close to 500-600 calories which put them at a good amount of food for someone who is sedentary and trying to maintain weight or active and trying to lose some weight. For people who don't fall into those categories, they would need to add some snacks throughout the day to make sure their intake is adequate, select the meals with the highest amount of calories when ordering with Sun Basket each week or order the 2 person meals for 1 person.
Overall: The jerk chicken and lentil pitas were fantastic making this meal service really stand out. The eggs were very good and the smoothie pretty good but not a show stopper. I would say this meal service was best for taste but the portion sizes were much smaller making it hard to make 2 meals out of each meal unless you're eating very low calorie. Many of the other meal services easily made 2 meals giving more bang for the buck. For someone with a little more money to spare that has food restrictions, this would be a great option. These meals also came in around 30-40 minutes for the dinners and 25 or less minutes for the breakfasts which makes them good for people with limited time.
Next up, Peach Dish!....starting to near the end of the options available for Austin, TX delivery :)