Spring is the perfect time to detox, refresh and reset your eating habits. Not feeling it? How about the new study that was just released that a poor diet kills more people than cigarettes? Do I have your attention now? There are lots of convenient delivery options for healthy meal plans ranging from liquid lunches to just the addition of more fresh veggies to your current menu and everything in between. Depending on what kind of overhaul your diet needs, there’s a convenient option available at all different price points.
What does being rich taste like? After trying Provenance Meals for four days (sent for free, in return for this review), I now know. With enough money, you can have full meals delivered to you every other day that are fresh, healthy and delicious. But with even more money, you can order Provenance Meals. These take health to a new level with 100% no refined sugar, no gluten, and no dairy- at all– and everything I ate was the best thing I had ever tasted. At the start of the week, you get a menu with about three or four options for each meal per delivery that you can choose between. A vegetable Panzanella salad that I thought would be a snore, was spiced up with an addictive chive dressing that I wanted to buy a bottle of. A Blueberry Crumb Bar that I had for breakfast one day was so decadent that it felt like a naughty dessert. Snacks like muffins or Iced teas kept things interesting, and I was usually so satiated that it felt surprising when it was time to eat again. Additionally, I appreciated that all of the packaging was recyclable and compostable: no single-use plastic. They also compost feed scraps and donate leftovers to avoid waste. Plus, you return all your bags and ice packs to the delivery person to be reused.
“Modern food processing has failed us as a nation,” says Lee. “We are fatter, sicker, and more stressed out than ever before, and the great majority of food companies aren’t focused on our health and nutrition. This was part of the reason I launched Provenance Meals, as I realized through my client’s experiences that there weren’t any meal delivery or restaurant options that delivered on everything they were looking for: amazing flavor and clean, nutritious ingredients.” The company launched in 2012 when owner Caroll Lee, a Board Certified Health Coach, found in a hole in the market for her consulting clients, who didn’t have time for meal prep at home and had “meal fatigue”. She stepped in to start making the meals herself. The meat and poultry are grass-fed/ pasture-raised and the fruits and veggies are organic. It is all made from scratch in a kitchen in Brooklyn, and this is reflected in the taste. “I don’t believe you should have to sacrifice taste for convenience or nutritious for delicious. You should be able to have it all.” And you can, at a cost.
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (not including the amazing snacks!) will run you $65/ day or $325/ week for one person. In America, this is essentially what it costs to eat this well. It’s almost impossible to find a restaurant that serves choices that are anywhere near as healthy. “We make and long-simmer our bone broths to get a fantastic flavor and mineral-rich, important gelatin to maximize nutritional value,” says Lee. “We soak and sprout our grains, beans, and nuts to reduce phytates and anti-nutrients to help improve digestibility. Food is more nutritious when it’s prepared in traditional ways, and we don’t take shortcuts at the expense of our health.” High powered executives, actresses like Rachel Brosnahan, Gina Rodriguez, and Brittany Snow and new moms are all clients. Flexibility is a key component to the business, as you could opt to only order breakfast and lunch or just do a two-week jumpstart to your health. I could see this being a wonderful preparation for your wedding or for those months when you are too crazy at work to eat properly.
Besides those looking for convenience, others are looking for transformation. There are different options for cleanses, and there is a health coaching team on standby if you find that you are not losing weight when you want to be. “Weight loss is complicated,” Lee says. “We don’t believe in counting calories. Instead, we count colors on your plate! We focus on nutrient-dense, energy-promoting, good-for-you foods that help your body reach balance instead of causing harm.”
If I could afford it, I would choose to order most of my meals from Provenance Meals. During my four day trial, I lost 4 pounds, felt energized and lighter. The subscription options are flexible, and it’s possible to order fewer meals. Two meals, three days a week, for instance, would bring the cost down to $111 a week. That seems like a good deal to ensure having healthy, convenient choices on hand when I need them. Even though I shop at Whole Foods and cook at home, I have never gotten as close to the picture of health that Provenance provides. Optimal health might be expensive in our country, but it might be worth striving for.
For those who enjoy liquid meals for breakfast and lunch, but hate the prep time that goes into smoothies and soups, Daily Harvest is for you. They cut up the fruits and veggies, package them into cute cups and deliver them to frozen and ready to line up in your freezer. On the day you’d like to use, you pull out your container, add almond milk or coconut water (whatever they suggest) and then pour it all in the blender. The company also has a selection of oat bowls and harvest bowls which work the same way, but with the addition of hot water.
At first, it was fun to pick the different flavors and options, but some of these were much better than others. And eventually, it seemed like too much work for not enough reward. If I was already going to be cleaning the blender, how much more work would it be to chop up some kale and add to a bag of frozen strawberries? 6 cups/week of your choice will run about $50, so it is slightly cheaper than the Juice Press on my block. But at least with Juice Press, they are cleaning the blender.
Food waste is a major problem in our country. According to Misfits Market, billions of pounds of fresh and delicious food is unnecessarily thrown away because “grocery stores only want perfect looking food on their shelves.” Misfits Market is rescuing this food waste and sourcing high-quality organic produce by buying it straight from the farmers and delivering it to your house. All-natural produce may not be uniform in size and shape, and that’s part of the fun. In the box that I bought, I was actually disappointed because the produce was all gorgeous without any hideous flaws. The produce changes week to week but always includes about 10-12 pounds in the Misfits Box and 18-20 pounds in the Madness Box. My box was mostly seasonal with local things like greens and broccoli, but also non-local like oranges and avocados! The quality was superb, just like most CSA boxes, but because they are buying overstocks and ugly fruits and veggies, the price is half of what you would pay at a grocery store. The small box (which feeds 1 or 2 people per week) is just $19/ week when you get a weekly subscription! The large box (which feeds 4 or 5 people per week) is only $34! So, let’s recap: first, by subscribing, you’ll actually help save the world. As their site reminds us, “Global food waste generates 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually, making it one of the single biggest contributors to planet-harming emissions.” (It’s actually the third largest, according to this 2013 story in The Guardian.) You’ll also save money and support local agriculture. “By purchasing food that would otherwise go to waste, you’re letting regional farmers generate extra income,” Misfits Market explains. Just as key, you’ll be adding fresh vegetables and fruit to your weekly diet without having to go on a strict cleanse or diet.