Last night we prepared and devoured our first Sun Basket meal. I've been wanting to try a meal delivery service for quite some time, but for some reason or other, I've never signed up for one. I though, "I don't need to spend extra money for a service to send me food from a set menu each week." Plus, call me crazy, but I enjoy going to the grocery store and picking out my own ingredients. I know, who has time for that?
However, after a year or so of getting $35 off coupons for Blue Apron in the mail every couple of months and talking to my sister-in-law about their Blue Apron subscription I was seriously considering pulling the trigger and actually subscribing to a meal delivery service. In our house we are not the type of people who can have the same dinners over and over week after week. That combined with the fact that my husband is often traveling or working late and when school is in session we often don't arrive home until after 5:30 p.m., I found myself slinging random and not always healthy food at my kids for dinner---frozen pizza, mac and cheese, and rotisserie chicken are examples of some of the regulars in the rotation. Sometimes I would go all out and fix grilled chicken or salmon along with some sort of roasted vegetable, but honestly we were in a serious dinner rut. I thought that a meal delivery service would be just the thing to add new recipes to our dinner routine. Also, quite frankly I was tired of throwing food away. You know, like when you need 1/2 cup of buttermilk for a broccoli salad recipe and have to buy a half-gallon of buttermilk because that is the smallest container the store sells. Then two months later, you find said buttermilk with a sell-by date that expired more than 30 days before. Maybe that only happens to me?
I was all ready to sign up for Blue Apron because quite frankly that's the one I'd seen so often. Marketing does in fact work! However, I was talking to one of my mom friends at the pool a couple of weeks ago and she mentioned that she used Sun Basket and she really liked the ease of the recipes (I had heard that Blue Apron recipes could be a bit time consuming, but I don't know that from experience). I decided to put in a little research. I compared Sun Basket, Blue Apron and Hello Fresh and decided that Sun Basket would work best for our family. (As a side note, I have no ill-will against Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, nor have I given their recipes a shot, so please don't take this post as me telling you Sun Basket is better than the others).
I recommend putting in your own research to see what works best for you, but let me tell you what set Sun Basket above the others for us. They have dietary choices with paleo friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free options. My husband and I are trying to eat paleo friendly so this was a huge selling feature for us. We are not super strict with our diet, but I'd prefer not to make a huge pasta meal once a week. Now, I'll go ahead a warn you, if you are strict paleo, then you will have to omit certain ingredients at times; however, the recipe will tell you how to adjust the meal to meet your needs. Another huge selling feature was Sun Basket's use of USDA organic produce, grass-fed meat, and non-GMO ingredients. Sun Basket was about $1 more per serving (I'm all for saving money) than some of the other delivery services, however, we thought the dietary options and quality ingredients seemed like a better option.
We decided to give it a whirl. We opted for the 2 meal per week family plan for $9.99/serving ($79.92/week). We were able to get $35 off our first box. We thought, if nothing else we'd get some new recipe ideas and hopefully get out of our dinner funk. Since our box was coming from California, I did have a few concerns over the meat and produce arriving and being safe to eat. My friend assured me there were large ice packs in the boxes and everything was packaged really well. Then I began to be concerned about the amount of waste by a weekly delivery of ice packs, containers, etc.
Our first box arrived Wednesday and everything was securely packaged for our first two meals: Vietnamese steak stir-fry with jasmine rice and Turkey tacos with cucumber-red pepper salsa. I wish I had taken a picture, but I promise to update this post with pictures when the next box arrives. Almost every bit of the packaging is recyclable, which helped alleviate my waste worry. Each meal is packaged in brown paper that you can then use to place all of your veggie scraps for compost (if you have a compost). Also, the insulation is made out of recyclable material with a 1 symbol so that can roll up the insulation and place it in your recycling. The ice packs can be drained in your compost as well and their outer plastic layer can be recycled. In addition, most of the food containers are recyclable plastic or they can be reused for leftovers or as containers for other things. For example, I washed out and reused the black bean container for my leftover salsa. The other thing I absolutely loved is that not only did I receive the recipes for the two dinners we picked for the week, the box came with a booklet of all the recipes for the week! This is especially exciting because I really wanted to try the Curried chicken salad with grapes, but didn't choose it as a dinner option this week. Plus there was an additional sheet with a cool Tic-Tac-Toe craft to make with your children.
Our first meal was Turkey tacos with cucumber-red pepper salsa. Each ingredient was clearly labeled and properly portioned. The recipe was easy to follow with prep items in blue and cooking steps in black. There are also chef tips for using leftover items. I know what you're thinking, there shouldn't be leftover items. However, this recipe uses corn tortillas, which are prepackaged. The chef tip for this recipe is to use the leftover tortillas to make chips. Yum! I also love the tips for allowing your kids to help with the dinner making process. My eight-year old son helped with the cooking--his new favorite hobby. Although, I let him do more advanced cooking than the recipe indicates. His current specialty is scrambled eggs so I let him help with sautéing the poblanos and browning the ground turkey.
So now I know you're wondering, how was it? I thought it was delicious. Not only was the recipe healthy, but it was flavorful. The only thing the kids weren't a fan of were the corn tortillas, but luckily we had some flour tortillas in the fridge. We had a lot leftover after our meal. But my husband and I keep our portion sizes pretty small for dinner and I was able to enjoy a delicious taco salad over spinach for lunch with all of the fixings. If you are looking to spice up your dinner meals with less stress and shopping time, I suggest giving a meal delivery service a try.