Since Meal Services became a trend I have been itching to try one. Despite my concerns regarding freshness, cost, and variety, I decided to see if it was worth it for myself and heres my conclusion:
After much deliberating, I decided on Purple Carrot. Known for their 100% plant-based meals, they pride themselves in knowing that they are helping you to do good things for your body and the environment. Purple Carrot’s team of chefs create unique recipes every week that will keep your taste buds happy and your bellies full all while learning new cooking techniques, and experimenting with a variety of cuisines.
There are three different meal plans for you to choose from.
- 3 meals for 1-2 people per week at $68 a week;
- 2 unique meals for 3-4 people per week at $74; or
- 3 high-performance (high protein & gluten free) meals per week at $78.
Being a relatively health conscious and highly active Physical Education Teacher I have debated the high-performance meals a time or two but am just so happy with my meal plan for 1-2 people that I won’t switch!
Let’s take a peek at the Pros:
- Time: During the heart of a teacher’s anxiety, the end of the school year, I was spending less time thinking about what to purchase and prepare and significantly less time at the supermarket. I was only needing a grocery run every week and a half to two weeks as opposed to once a week. With all the ingredients measured out and labeled, I was saving time on meal preparation as well which meant more grading time, chill time and/or sleep time for me!
- Product: With very few exceptions every item I’ve received in my Purple Carrot boxes has been incredibly fresh. There’s something so exciting about opening a box full of brightly colored vegetables! Each meal comes with a meal card that describes the meal and provides step by step instructions with photographs of how to prepare the meals. I hope to hole punch these and keep them all together in my own little plant-based cookbook; they include allergen and nutrition information per serving as well (calories, fat, carbohydrates and protein). Also, the ice packs used in the boxes are absolutely amazing. I suggest you save a few to use for personal use because they’re great for coolers.
- Convenience: I came home to three of my main meals a week sitting on my front porch. Can you get any more convenient? Without any thought, I would unpack the box and meal cards. It requires absolutely no thought or decision making; pick a card, grab the pouch of ingredients labeled for that meal and follow the directions on the card. This also allowed me to share cooking duties with the other adult in the house. No more excuses such as, “I don’t know how to make that”, could stand in our way. We also found ourselves splitting meals up and each taking a chunk of tasks to make the prep go by faster.
- Educational: Every meal I found myself learning something new about an ingredient or how to prepare a standard fruit/vegetable. It was fun to try new veggies and experience new tastes; this taught us both a lot about what we think items taste like and what they’re actually capable of! Personally, I found myself trying veggies as an adult that I had hated a child and enjoying them! I ate a handful of raw mushrooms after spending 24 years picking them out of any meal I may have found them in.
- Variety: We were trying new veggies and meals we had never even heard of left and right. With maybe two exceptions in about 20 different meals, we enjoyed every single meal we ate. Mixing plant-based meals into our typical diet and social eating habits has been helpful in keeping dinner time fresh and exciting. It has also helped us to broaden our horizons in general when it comes to our meals.
- Cost: At $11.33 per plate, I wouldn’t exactly call this meal service cheap but it is also not breaking the bank. the $68 a week I spend on three meals winds up cutting my spending at the grocery store nearly in half. I find myself spending less money overall and wasting so much less food on a regular basis. I’m not throwing food out at the end of dinner, throwing leftovers out weeks after they’ve been prepared or wasting fruits and veggies that just didn’t have the chance to be eaten.
- Customer Service: I have had a few minor issues with my Purple Carrot deliveries such as an underripe avocado, expired sauce and a missing spice bag or two but Purple Carrots customer service ALWAYS wrongs its rights and takes amazing care of its customers with the help of their kind representatives.
- The Feels: It feels good to know you’re doing something good for your body and the environment; even if it’s only three days a week. It has helped me to be more health conscious in my grocery and self-care purchases. Realizing that these two kinds of purchases directly affect your body has made a huge difference in my life. I find myself purchasing natural deodorants, shampoos, conditioners, and soaps because those things touch and are absorbed my body nearly every day! This whole process has provided me with a more positive outlook and truthfully, a lot more energy eating plant-based meals.
Now for the Cons:
- Portion Size: I’m the queen of bringing my leftovers to work so I don’t have to eat school cafeteria food so not having leftovers is a bit of a drag. There are times where I have had leftovers, but many times I do not (a pro for most people!). The portion you are eating, however, is more than satisfying.
- Menu: With many other menu services you get to choose your meals. With Purple Carrot, you get to view the menu for the week (up to about a month in advance) and choose if you want a shipment that week or not. Although I like this method because it forces me to try new things and truly, everything is delicious, I understand why people would not like the opportunity to pick and choose their meals.
- Cost: For some people, $68 dollars for three meals a week seems outrageous and that’s understandable. In the current position, I am in right now it is more than worth it for sake of convenience and creativity. For example, $68 is more than fathomable, however, I really want to try the high protein and gluten free meals but I just cannot swing that extra $10 every week so I do understand where people may come from with cost issues.
- Time: I have encountered a few meals that take upwards of 45 minutes to prepare. If you can scrounge up some help from others in your living space this time will be lessened and fly by but that’s not always a possibility. Many meals are in the half hour range and a few are even less, however, you do need to be prepared for a few long preps here and there. The meal cards do provide an estimated preparation time so you can plan accordingly!
Clearly, Pros win by a long shot 8 to 4. I could not be more happy with my decision to start this meal service and BELIEVE ME, as a serious carnivore I thought it would take a lot of adjusting to eat three entirely plant-based meals a week but it was soooooooo easy because the food is simply amazing. I’ve received about 5 weeks of meals at this point on and off; we had three really busy weeks where we weren’t around so we skipped those meals since they would have just gone to waste. I was angry about skipping them though because so many of them looked so delcious. I highly suggest you give Purple Carrot a try if a Meal Service is something you’ve been contemplating!
If you use this CODE (<— right here!) you will receive $25 off your first order! What better way to try something right? It also provides me with a bit of a discount on my weekly meals every time it is used so we both get to benefit here. Any questions? Leave them here and let me know what you think if you try this service!