With an abundance of options for meal kit delivery services right now, the question is what makes any one stand out? How are these services different and unique? Which one should my family try? Does it deliver quality consistently? Does it accommodate for the nutritional needs and preferences of your family?
And of course, everyone wants to know… is it worth the cost?
Recently we tried out Sun Basket to see just exactly what makes this one unique and if it lived up to it’s promise:
“Healthy cooking made easy.”
Sun Basket delivers organic, non-GMO ingredients and delicious recipes every week. It offers Family, Vegetarian, Gluten Free and Paleo meals so that you can select options that meet your specific dietary and nutritional needs.
BUT, for many families, healthy eating is much more complex than identifying with a label like “gluten free” or “vegetarian.” Individual food preferences, budget, cooking skills and cooking time all factor into whether a meal kit, like Sun Basket, is a good option.
Here is a little bit about Sun Basket and its service:
- Delivers weekly meals that are organic, non-GMO, sustainably sourced. Meats are humanely raised and free of hormones and antibiotics. Seafood is approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Watch list.
- All packaging is recyclable and compostable- everything! Yes, EVERYTHING.
- Complete nutrition facts provided are for each recipe, including allergens. You can view this information before selecting meals for your weekly delivery.
- Each week you can choose from 10 meal options on the Classic Menu or 6 meal options on the Family menu. Pre-measured ingredients and a beautiful recipe book are delivered to your doorstep.
- Similar to other meal kit delivery services, you can skip a week at any time.
- It offers Vegetarian, Paleo, Clean & Lean, Gluten Free, Soy Free, and Dairy Free recipes. Read a description of the different meal catagories so that you can choose the recipes that best meet your families food preferences and nutritional needs.
- Find it difficult to consistently make time for grocery shopping each week
- Enjoy different meals, tastes, and flavors; those who get bored with monotony will love the variety a meal delivery kit offers
- Want to cook and enjoy weekly family dinners at home
- Are willing to spend 30-40 minutes to prepare a meal
- Enjoy following recipes
Sun Basket meets all of these expectations…
So the question is what does SunBasket offer that makes it unique or better than it’s competitors?
We selected 3 different meals from the Classic Plan and were sent 4 servings of each meal. To gain more feedback, I invited my parents over to eat each of these meals with us and hear their thoughts and perspective in addition to my husband’s opinion.
Our 3 meals:
Seared Steaks with Arugula Pesto and Cucumber- Radish Salad
Falafel Pita Pockets with Lemon-Yogurt Sauce
Ricotta-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Tomato Panzanella
Call me silly or practical but I asked every person rate the meals, with 0 being poor and 5 being outstanding. All meals we tried received an average of a 4. The overall consensus was that we enjoyed them very much, loved the flavors and herbs. Each meal I think we found 1 small thing we would do differently the second time around, whether to make it easier to make, more pleasant to eat or a small adjustment to seasoning.
For example, in the Tomato Panzanella, we cut the bread into the 1″ size cubes described in the recipe, but I think it would have been easier to get a bit of everything in the bite if they were smaller. We also thought that the cucumber radish salad would have been more flavorful had it been made in advance and allowed to sit for a little bit in the refrigerator. However, that would have added more time to the recipe, which for most of us, is not appealing.
Overall, the flavors were great and the directions clear and easy to read!
How is Sun Basket Different from Other Meal Kit Delivery & Planning Services?
To date, I have tried Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, and Plate Joy. While these companies are constantly changing based on customer feedback, there are a few things I noticed that were different about my experience with Sun Basket:
- Meals on the Classic menu were generally lower in carbohydrate and moderate on calories
- Many of the meals have adequate vegetables included to cover ½ your plate, as most dietitians recommend- yay!!
- All ingredients were 100% organic and non-GMO; many meal services include these high standard products and ingredients but few can claim this guarantee
- The number of meal options available each week is pretty impressive- 10 Classic Meals and 6 Family Meals. Most other meal services do not offer this many recipes for subscribers to choose from.
- Each week you can either order meals from the Classic Plan or Family Plan. You don’t have to stick with 1 plan. This means that every week you have 16 different meals to choose from!
- Sun Basket provides nice size portions without being excessive.
- All 3 meals took a bit longer than was identified on the recipe. I think this shows that making a new recipe generally takes longer as opposed to a recipe you are already familiar with making.
- The meals that do include grains, breads and starches are not necessarily 100% whole grain. Read the recipe online first to determine if it meets your standards.
How Does The Cost Compare to Other Services?
While most meal kit delivery services average $10-11 per serving, SunBasket does appear to be on the higher end. While I can only assume, it might be related to higher cost of providing only organic and high-quality foods. Just as you pay more for free range meats and organic produce in the grocery store, services that also provide these foods would pass this cost on to the consumer.
Classic Meal Box: $11.49 per serving
Family Meal Box: $9.99 per serving
The subscription offers either 2,3 or 4 recipes per week, depending on the plan and your preference. As I have discussed before in other meal kit reviews, you must identify whether the cost is worth the convenience. Services such as Sun Basket save consumers time, reduce food waste, and do all the planning and prep that many people abhor (and therefore avoid). When it comes to considering how much you are willing to spend on such a service, you must consider your time, values, and lifestyle.
Tips and Tricks for Making this Meal Service Work For You
01. If you have a “selective eater” like my husband who is not fond of many vegetables, ask this person to be a part of selecting the meals each week that your family will try.
I allowed my husband to choose our meals and while I would have liked to try a few of the more unique recipes, he wouldn’t have eaten them. When it comes to “selective” kids, make sure that they will like at least 1 or 2 foods within the recipes. It’s important to be aware that a lot of new foods at one time may not go over well with kids. While Sun Basket does have a Family Menu, my personal opinion is that it is still for adventurous palates…
Sweet Potato Fries with Black Bean Chili Cheese Fries
Mu Shu Pork
Smoked Mozzarella Polenta with Vegetable Ragu and Walnut Pesto
These are just a few of the recipes on the Family Plan. I think many of them could be “de-constructed” to please some kids.
The positive is that you can always skip a week if the meals don’t appeal to you or your family members.
02.Use your own judgment when it comes to adding oil, butter or high-calorie condiments.
While I am an advocate of including healthy fats and oils in my diet, I found that I was able to scale back on a few recipes because it just wasn’t necessary. For example, the falafel browned beautifully in ½ the oil and the full quantity wasn’t necessary.
03. Before you begin cooking, read the recipe in its entirety first.
This is smart before making any recipe. While Sun Basket does a great job of walking you through the recipe step-by-step and timing everything out, it is always important to have an idea of the entire process.
As a Registered Dietitian, wife, mom, and meal planner, would I use Sun Basket?
Here’s why… The reality is that my toddler was not very fond of the meals we made (although as a disclaimer we did NOT try the Family Plan and only tried the Classic Plan). In addition, asking my husband to jump outside his comfort zone several nights per week and try new recipes is just not practical for us right now.
HOWEVER, this is definitely a service I would like to use periodically for some tasty recipes and fresh ideas. I loved the quality of the foods, the abundance of veggies and the more appropriate-sized portions of this particular service. As someone who loves to try new recipes and flavors and is inspired by food, Sun Basket was a really fun meal service to try out for a week.
It’s important to know yourself and your family. If your meals have gotten a bit boring and monotonous, maybe you need…
- A flavor adventure
- Some family fun cooking together in the kitchen
- And some fresh recipe inspiration
If that’s what you are looking for, then Sun Basket definitely delivers!
Healthy Inspiration makes every effort to test and review products/services fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are my personal views and this particular service review was not sponsored, influenced or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, Sun Basket did give us products for review purposes.