You know those people that work all day and then go home and cherish their time cooking dinner? Yaaaaa, I’ve never been one of those people. I love food. I love nutrition. But I’ve never been a big fan of cooking – until now (cue dramatic music)…
Especially being a single person, cooking dinner for one can be tough. Planning meals… shopping for meals… figuring out how to use certain ingredients I only need for one recipe (I’m looking at you gigantic stalk of green onions)… cooking large meals and then having to eat it for 3 days… you get the idea. It’s a pain.
I finally gave in to the meal delivery system idea. I kept getting coupons in the mail so thought – why not? And I have to say – I love Sun Basket! I also have a code for $40 off your first delivery!
I actually like cooking now. I love the food. I love everything about it.
If you aren’t familiar with this concept, let me explain. Rather than grocery shopping, everything you need to cook meals comes mailed to you in an insulated, cooled box.
Bags of delicious food – waiting to be cooked
This review is about Sun Basket, but before I get to why I love Sun Basket – I have to mention how I got there. I actually started with Hello Fresh. Sun Basket originally intimidated me. When I was looking at the different companies, Hello Fresh’s recipes were very straightforward while Sun Basket’s seemed pretty fancy. Plus, Hello Fresh was less expensive. I tried Hello Fresh for 3 weeks and while I liked it, I did ultimately decide to switch to Sun Basket for a few reasons:
1 – Lack of organic options: Hello Fresh had a few random organic ingredients but I prefer to use mostly organic ingredients when possible.
2 – So much dairy: Hello Fresh uses a LOT of dairy. I can have some dairy, but don’t do well with a lot and it seemed every recipe had some type of dairy in it. Sun Basket’s recipes are mostly dairy-free, which is awesome for me.
3 – Green beans! Green beans everywhere. I’m not sure if it was coincidental for the few weeks I got Hello Fresh but every side vegetable seemed to be green beans. It got real old, real fast.
4 – Nutrition: the recipes weren’t quite as nutritious as I was hoping. They seemed more hearty and all-American than focused on nutrition. Some of the recipes included: rosemary meatloaf with mashed potatoes, and BBQ chicken with macaroni and cheese. Tasty, nostalgic, but not as healthy as I would prefer.
4 – Packing material: It’s not as eco-friendly as I would have liked. While my first box had recyclable packing material, the next two used a plastic/aluminum bubble-wrap that I had to throw away.
So I took the plunge to Sun Basket a few weeks ago and haven’t looked back.
Some of the reasons I love Sun Basket:
1- It’s almost all organic: Most of the ingredients are organic or at least free range (for meat/eggs).
2 – Awesome variety: There are 18 – yes, 18! recipes to choose from each week, so I feel like I have a ton of options to choose from and it’s hard to limit to just 4. This is way more than Hello Fresh and I believe even Blue Apron provides.
3 – Friendly to food allergies/food preferences: Lots of recipes are nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, etc. Hello Fresh seemed to be a traditional, all-food-goes approach while Sun Basket seems to be more health-oriented for those who cannot or choose not to eat certain foods.
4 – Eco-friendly: all of the packing materials are recyclable, which I love. Plus the containers for the ingredients themselves are recyclable.
5 – And last but certainly not least, the food! So, so delicious. While the descriptions seem super fancy, none have been difficult to make nor have they taken more time than what I was spending on cooking before. The recipes are unique and ridiculously tasty.
Through Sun Basket, I’ve tried things I never would have if I had to choose recipes on my own and go shopping on my own. Tomato and pumpkin seed relish for chicken? Turns out its delicious! Boiled egg topping on asparagus? Also delicious! Here are pictures of just a few of the very yummy recipes I’ve tried so far:
Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho)
Salmon Burgers with Olive Tapenade and Fennel-Orange Salad
Sole with Chickpeas, Summer Squash, and Parsley-Pecan Pesto
On average, the recipes have taken about 30 minutes to make. Some say up to 40 minutes, but the directions are often written in a way that makes it longer. For instance, it will say to do all prepping and then bring water to a boil or cook the main dish. So instead, I will boil water or cook the main dish and then prepare the rest during the cooking process rather than before. And thankfully, not all ingredients are from scratch. For instance, the salmon burgers came pre-prepared so I only had to cook them. Also, I didn’t have to make the parsley-pecan pesto for the sole. That sort of thing.
You can choose the number of recipes to get each week, and each recipe is for 2 or 4 people. I choose 2 people, and definitely get 2 hearty servings per recipe (not like soup cans which say there is 2 servings per can but no one actually splits between 2 servings…but I digress). I either do half for dinner and half for lunch the next day, or split it between two dinners. I have been getting 4 recipes per week (you can choose between 2, 3, or 4 recipes) and it lasts me through the week with 1-2 nights a week I eat out or eat something else.
As for costs, I did the math and am actually spending less money, plus I am not wasting any food.
I found that I was constantly wasting food because I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) eat the entire head of cauliflower, or all of the green onions, or the leftovers went bad before I could eat it all, etc. Since I’m being sent only what I need for the recipe, it has really cut on food waste (which as a public health nutritionist – I greatly appreciate).
Before signing up for meal delivery, I was spending around $130-ish dollars per week on groceries for myself, more or less (note: this was mostly organic, I’m sure I could have saved money if I bought non-organic). Sun Basket is $94 a week for 4 recipes for 2 people (so 8 meals for me), and I find I’m spending around $20-30 a week on eggs and fruit for breakfast, and salad items for lunch. So I’m actually saving money, plus saving food from being wasted.
The only downside I have found with Sun Basket is it seems each week some ingredient has been replaced. The first two weeks it was in my favor, such as as pasture-raised eggs being replaced with organic eggs. This past week though two vegetables were replaced with something else – friesse with baby spinach and fennel with kale. Not a big deal, as I understand organic produce can come in short supply, but I did want to mention it.
Overall though, I’m a huge fan of Sun Basket! Next Monday I will be getting these 4 recipes:
- Braised chicken with mushrooms, artichokes, and almond-olive relish
- Shrimp tacos diablo with pickled cabbage and lime
- Lemongrass tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice
- Turkey and vegetable minestrone with white beans and brown rice
I personally try to have each week include at least one seafood (gotta get those omega-3’s!), at least one vegetarian dish, and two different meats. Variety in foods is the best way to get all of the vitamins/minerals you need (little tip from a dietitian), so I love the variety in recipe options.
That’s it for my review of Sun Basket!
If you’d like to try it, you can get $40 off your first delivery!
This link will automatically put the coupon in your cart.
Have you tried Sun Basket or other meal delivery programs? What do you think?
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