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Looking for the next best option for vegetarian meals after getting frustrated with your options or not sure where to start? If you’re like an increasing number of consumers, you may be searching for a meal delivery service.
Maybe you’re considering going vegetarian and don’t know where to start, or maybe you’ve been a vegetarian your entire life, but regardless, making high-quality vegetarian meals can be time-consuming and also tricky. In fact, trepidation about what it takes to go, or maintain a vegetarian lifestyle might be the very reason people stop or do not begin at all.
Take Aled Blake, a UK citizen and lifelong meat lover who decided to swap his meat-heavy diet for plant-based meals for an entire month. Leading up to the experiment, he was anything but enthusiastic: he was resistant to even trying the diet. For someone who enjoyed meat products and based his diet heavily on animal-based food, it was overwhelming.
But once he did get the inspiration to go ahead with his new diet, he was astonished by the results. Within a week, a patch of chronic eczema healed; after a month his body fat composition improved and he had more energy than he had for a while.
For now, he does plan on sticking to the plant-based diet–because he was so astonished by the results, after expecting very little.
But he was only able to continue his plant-based diet because he was able to start in the first place–something that can be a large barrier for anyone new to a vegetarian diet.
What are the main obstacles to a vegetarian diet? And how can a meal delivery service help?
The main obstacles to following a vegetarian diet involve simply knowing what to eat and what meals you can prepare. A good deal of misinformation, too, plays a role in acting as a barrier to people who might otherwise consider going vegetarian. Some common reasons many are hesitant to go vegetarian, or reasons why current vegetarians may quit, may include:
The misconception you can’t get protein on a vegetarian diet
The belief that vegetarian diets are inherently more expensive
Not knowing what to eat
Thinking vegetarian meals are tasteless
Preparing the same foods over and over and becoming bored
Not understanding essential nutrients and becoming depleted
Feeling there is no substitute for meat, and relying too heavily on traditional vegetarian products
Not incorporating enough variety overall
How you might wonder, can a meal delivery service improve these problems? For one, meal delivery services offer convenience and variety. With a meal delivery service, you won’t have to run out to the grocery store so much, plus you’ll have ingredients prepped for you so you cut down on cooking time.
But mostly, a meal delivery service gives you a leg up on either beginning or maintaining a vegetarian lifestyle, in part because the best meal delivery services offer variety in terms of different fresh ingredients, cuisines, flavors and preparation methods. If you’re stumped as to how to prepare healthy and tasty vegetarian meals, a delivery service can get you started. It can help introduce you to recipes you may not have otherwise tried; it can also point you to the direction of what nutritionally balanced vegetarian meals look like. Many of the best meal delivery services offer you a number of flexible options and additional tutorials, so you can customize and get invested in cooking delicious meals without the effort otherwise required.
And finally, meal delivery services are especially helpful for anyone with a packed schedule. One of the challenges of a vegetarian meal is that takes a bit more thought, especially when you’re starting when it comes to coming up with ideas. By providing you recipes and prepped ingredients, there’s no longer a reason even a crazy schedule should keep you from following a vegetarian diet.
What are the health benefits of a vegetarian diet?
The health benefits of a vegetarian diet are many, and more than you might think–though those benefits do depend on the person, and how adequately a nutritious vegetarian diet is being followed. Potential health benefits of a vegetarian diet include, but are not limited to:
Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, cancers, and obesity:
Following a vegetarian diet has been correlated for reduced risk for obesity and stroke, though this may in part because studies have shown those following plant-based diets tend to be more conscious of their food intake. In addition, vegetarians may be getting more productive and natural vitamins in their diet, which is a protectant against certain forms of cancer. Fruits and vegetables also help reduce toxins in the body. Finally, you’ll reduce your body’s cholesterol levels by staying meat-free.
Vegetarians tend to have higher intakes of essential vitamins and antioxidants that contribute to skin’s health and overall appearance. In addition, some animal products that are not organic can have a negative impact on skin health
Evidence points to vegetarian diets lowering overall inflammation in the body and increasing alkalines, especially vegetarian diets rich in Omega 3’s from nuts and healthy fats, and by reducing harmful fats.
Vegetarian diets do not necessarily but can lead to improved digestion. You may have a higher fiber intake, plus you’re more likely to get natural probiotics which can aid healthy digestion.
In addition, many people go vegetarian for ethical reasons, in part because they do not approve of the treatment of animals, or do not wish to consume animals at all. There are also some reasons pointing to vegetarian diets having a lower carbon footprint.
I heard that vegetarians live longer, too. Is that true?
While some studies correlate vegetarians living longer than meat eaters, many also do not display a large difference. Why the mixed results? One reason may be that a vegetarian diet is not inherently healthier if it is not a balanced one.
For all the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, there are risks as well. Vegetarians may not get enough protein. They are also more likely to become deficient in Vitamin B12, become anemic. Those who go a step further and follow vegan diets are also at risk for low levels of calcium and Vitamin D.
The key? Making sure you’re eating a balanced diet, including enough protein at every meal, and also supplementing if you’re afraid of following short. Your best bet, if you’re new to a vegetarian diet, is to first check in with a professional who can give you an idea of how to get the essential nutrients you need.
What do I need to look for in a meal delivery service for vegetarians?
When looking into a meal delivery service that’s best for your vegetarian diet, many factors fall under the category for what you’d want to look for in any meal delivery service. The best meal delivery services, first and foremost, to offer a wide variety of plans. These plans should include different options for serving sizes, days of the week you get meals delivered, and overall cost. This is important of course so you do not feel limited to a plan that doesn’t fit in with your individual needs.
The second factor you want to look at it the company’s overall reputation. Do customer reviews point to mostly being satisfied with both the service and the meals themselves? Make sure you seek reviews on external sites and also pay attention to why the company is being rated the way it is.
You’ll also want to take a look at flexibility and level of customer service: can you cancel at any time? Are you allowed to skip weeks? How many meals can you select from each week, and how much say do you get in customizing exactly what meals are delivered. If you have food allergies, can those be accommodated?
But when it comes to vegetarian meal delivery services, in particular, you need to make sure you’re getting both a healthy and interesting variety of ingredients. All meals should include:
Healthy Proteins, in the form of lentils, beans, tofu, edamame, soy products, chickpeas, spelled, peas, amaranth, quinoa, and natural vegetarian burgers and other alternatives, and dairy if you aren’t vegan
Healthy Fats, including olives/oil, nuts and seeds, avocados, and other oils
Healthy Grains include protein-rich grains
Fresh Variety of fruits and vegetables. Looks for services that incorporate a large variety of colors and ingredients. Not only will this make your meals more interesting, but it will also improve the nutrients you’re getting. And since you’ll be relying more on produce, it’s best if it’s certified organic. Starchy vegetables, leafy greens, and different color of fruits and vegetables are all essential.
Variety of Cuisines or Preparation Methods: This may be an important factor in general, but it’s especially important when it comes to vegetarian meal services. Vegetarian doesn’t have to be dull; done right, it is anything but. High-quality plans will offer a wide array of ways or preparing meals, mimic meat classic, and also have vegetarian features that are unique.
What are the best vegetarian meal delivery services?
Luckily, there are now countless meal delivery services that cater to vegetarians. That said, not all of them are equal. In our ranked list, we’ll be listing the two very best meal delivery service for vegetarians, and explaining why we ranked each the way we did.
For our picks, we tried to focus on two main categories: overall service and the ingredients and meals themselves.
In terms of service, we wanted to make sure that customers were satisfied; that there was a good degree of flexibility in terms of subscription plans, and finally that shipping was free. While we found that, on average, there can be fewer options for vegetarians, these companies put a good deal of effort to make sure there was a variety for different tastes.
We also took a look at the ingredients themselves, as well as the recipes on offer. We wanted to see meal delivery services that rotated recipes weekly, and also ones that include meals with a variety of colors and fresh, quality ingredients.
Finally, the price was a consideration, although this was not the final determining factor. While our top pick ended up being more expensive than our runner up, both meal delivery services cost less per serving than the average cost of a meal out.
2. Hello Fresh:
Chances are you’ve at least heard out our number two pick on our list of best vegetarian meal delivery services. Hello Fresh is one of the most popular meal delivery services in general, in part for its flexibility, different plans, and a nice variety of options.
In addition to the Classic and Family meal plans, Hello Fresh offers a Veggie Plan, which normally costs around nine dollars per serving, can serve either two or four people per meal and comes three times a week.
The service terms are generous: you can cancel or skip weeks at any time, and you can even schedule cancellations as far as eight weeks in advance. Shipping is free, plus every recipe has been tested dozens of times to make sure you’re getting the best flavor possible.
All meals come with virtual meal guides and you can also get a sneak peek at recipes on their website. Vegetarian options incorporate a decent variety: one weekly menu lists a greens farro bowl, stuffed poblano peppers, and mushroom parmesan Gemelli. A variety of cuisines are available, and each dish includes different produce and a nice balance of nutrients.
The reason we won’t rank Hellofresh any higher is that it’s missing a few components our top two have, in terms of both variety and ingredients.
1. Sun Basket:
Ranking the top two meal delivery services for vegetarians was tricky. While there is a promotion going on, the regular price per serving for Sun Basket comes in at around twelve dollars, which is a notable increase from HelloFresh. However, because of other factors that’ll, we’ll dive into shortly, we still think it deserves the spot for number one delivery service.
The service itself has some similar features with HelloFresh. Like HelloFresh, Sun Basket offers pre-measured ingredients and allows you to skip your subscription or cancel for that week at any time.
But in terms of the ingredients themselves, Sun Basket is a clear winner. Produce is always one hundred percent organic, and if you are not vegan, eggs are also organic. All meals are dietician approved and seasonal ingredients are incorporated for the freshest taste possible. As a bonus, the packaging is both recyclable and compostable.
In terms of the menus themselves, there’s a lot to admire. Different signature spice blends come with organic plant-based proteins. And every meal is specially balanced to provide the right proportion of calories, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Examples include Tokyo fried rice with edamame and pappardelle with wilted greens and ricotta. You can also opt for their signature vegan plan.
Why is Sun Basket the very best delivery service for vegetarians? And do you have any honorable mentions?
While Sun Basket, without a promotion, can be a bit pricey, it easily makes the top spot on our list because the overall quality supersedes the slight increase in costs, as long as it fits in your budget. Organic ingredients and ethically sourced products are beneficial both for your health and the environment. While HelloFresh does have a nice variety, Sun Basket goes a step further and really focuses on not only diversity of flavors, but also nutrients. With nutritionist balanced meals, too, you’ll be sure to get the most health benefits out of your vegetarian lifestyle.
And since many of the service perks overlap between the two, the biggest advantage HelloFresh has over Sun Basket is the overall cost.
As far as honorable mentions go, we do have some. All of these meal delivery services offer vegetarian meal plans and could be a potential option for you.
While there are many honorable meal services now available to vegetarians and even some for vegans, if we had to choose one meal delivery service (and we had the budget to do so) we’d opt for Sun Basket. Even at full price, you’ll still be paying less than the average cost of a meal out, and have the convenience of it being delivered to your home.