Meal Kits Aren't for Me, But I Can't Make It Without This Delivery Service
I like to cook my dinner, but I supplement breakfast, snacks, and desserts with this plant-based food service to get more healthy meals into my meal plan.
The explosion of meal kits over the last few years has been astonishing. Brands of all stripes are dreaming up inspiring meals, packaging individual ingredients, and shipping them right to doors for busy home cooks to turn into fulfilling, flavorful dinners.
But as a person who genuinely enjoys measuring, slicing, stirring, and sautéing every ingredient in a recipe — and one who actually considered grocery shopping a fun pastime pre-COVID — most meal kits hold little sway over me. Their "convenience" factors actually eliminate many of the stress-reducing factors that cooking at home provides for me.
But, there is one meal kit service that I tried for the first time more than a year ago and haven't been able to give up since then: Daily Harvest.
Daily Harvest is not your typical meal delivery service. Instead of shipping you ingredients for a pan-grilled salmon or chicken marsala, they package and ship fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains — they're primarily plant-based foods — for smoothies, grain bowls, soups, and more.
Since I started using Daily Harvest, I have found that the best approach to this delivery service is as a supplement to what I already have planned. I enjoy their smoothies as a nutrient-loaded breakfast, a refreshing snack, or a sweet treat when temperatures are soaring. It saves me the time of slicing and chopping fruit to freeze, and it eliminates the need to buy ingredients I wouldn't use for any other recipe, like maca, lemongrass, and chlorella. Plus, because I can order the exact variety of smoothies I want, I don't have to worry about flavor boredom (or waste). I can mix and match my boxes to keep things interesting and exciting — though my boxes are always heavy on the Cacao + Avocado smoothies.
Buy it: Tomato and Zucchini Minestrone, from $8; daily-harvest.com
But while I've been using Daily Harvest, they've introduced a few other products that have found their way into my meal plans. The Harvest Bowls are plant-based meals that make for incredibly healthy and quick lunches or fast sides for a grilled chicken or fish. They're made hearty and filling with ingredients like chickpeas, lentils, and Brussels sprouts. The flavor combinations are fresh and exciting.
Their collection of Soups, like the Harvest Bowls, make for fast lunches or sides for dinner. My go-to soup is the Tomato and Zucchini Minestrone. It's light enough for lunch, but for dinner, I've been known to add pasta or grilled fish to turn it into a more protein-packed meal. A scoop of pesto brightens it up in summer when my herb garden is producing more than I can possibly use.
The Oat Bowls are fruit-forward grain bowls that make fast and exciting breakfasts while I sleep. The pre-made bowls, like the smoothies, feature unique ingredients that I'd be unlikely to buy myself because I would only use them in these types of recipes. This way, I reduce food waste and get to select exactly what I want. And it's far healthier than the bowl of cereal I'd be tempted to eat otherwise.
I have also discovered that supplementing my diet with all of these Daily Harvest items during the recent COVID-19 quarantine helped limit my runs to the grocery store and encouraged me to keep healthy, fresh foods on hand. Because everything arrives frozen, it keeps for weeks or months and turns into a meal or drink that tastes from-the-garden fresh with either the use of a blender, saute pan, or microwave.
Buy it: Mint + Dark, from $9; daily-harvest.com
But if that wasn't enough, they just introduced a new line of plant-based, coconut milk ice creams called Scoops. I've tried all four flavors, but I'm partial to the Mint + Dark, a melty, rich combination of dark chocolate and peppermint. If you didn't know what you were eating was dairy-free ice cream, you'd never guess it. It's everything you love about a late-night scoop splurge: decadent and rich, and excellent with some beautiful sprinkles.
Buy it: starts at $55; daily-harvest.com