Sun Basket Meal Delivery Service Review
What’s the hardest thing about eating healthy? Not to be too cheeky and literal, but…it has to do with how close in proximity healthy food is at any given time. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. Healthy food doesn’t just grow on trees (wait…), you have to plan meals, grocery shop, have all the right ingredients, research new recipes so you don’t get bored – in other words, it takes a lot of time and energy to eat healthy food you actually enjoy.
Imagine how much more you would enjoy eating healthy if the only thing you had to worry about was cooking it and eating it? What if you could automate all the boring and time-consuming parts (recipes, shopping, double-checking to make sure you have enough chili powder, thinking you have eggs when you actually don’t so you have to run back to the store…) and just focus on the fun parts? Again, I’m talking about cooking and eating. Enter meal delivery services.
Beyond the Popcorn Button
Wait, you might be thinking. I don’t like cooking. I don’t know how to cook. I don’t have all the fancy kitchen gadgets. All I need is Hot Pockets and a microwave. Or maybe you consider yourself a culinary artiste who would never deign to follow recipes so easy the masses can follow them.
I was in your shoes once, good sir or madam. I did not grow up cooking and didn’t have any skills to speak of when I started. But something I have always been good at: thoroughly reading instruction manuals (in this case, recipes) and following step by step directions. That’s also what makes me an excellent Ikea furniture assembler, but I digress.
Sun Basket boxes come with eco-friendly cold packs to ensure your ingredients stay fresh even if the box has to sit out until you get home from work.
Cooking Shouldn’t Make You Feel Blue
My cooking journey really started in earnest with Blue Apron, the OG meal delivery service. My wife and I tried it for over a year, off and on. On the whole, it was a great place to start because in order to complete the recipes you have to use a variety of cooking methods and a wide range of ingredients, which forces you to get up to speed pretty quickly by sheer necessity.
Eventually, however, we grew quite weary of the complexity of the recipes, the lengthy prep times, and the need to use seemingly every pot and pan we own to create a single dish. We also experienced quality issues with ingredients on an all too regular basis. Customer service was good about making it right, to their credit, but sometimes the damaged ingredient(s) was so crucial that you couldn’t even prepare the recipe, taking away from the convenience of having everything delivered when you needed to run to the store to replace your chicken breast, for example.
Appreciate that the packaging is easily recyclable.
Here Comes the Sun
Then, a friend of ours told us about Sun Basket. I love trying new things, but am a little leery of doing so when I have a “category” figured out. Well, we gave it a try, and let’s just say our first Sun Basket was also our last Blue Apron, and we haven’t looked back since.
So what makes Sun Basket so great? What made it love at first bite?
Each bag (also recyclable) is clearly labeled and contains all the ingredients needed for that recipe.
The Beauty of Simplicity
The biggest difference for my wife and I, coming from Michelin-star levels of complexity found in most Blue Apron recipes, was the relative simplicity. Even by yourself, it’s possible to cook most meals from start to finish in 30 minutes. With Blue Apron, we regularly passed the 45-minute mark – and not for lack of trying or sloth-like prep. My wife chops like Gordon Ramsay on crystal. There were just that many steps.
BUT, and this is a big but – the simplicity has not come at the expense of flavor or quality. In fact, the average Sun Basket is much tastier than the average Blue Apron dish. Of course, we had a few BA favorites that were excellent, and not every Sun Basket meal is worth writing home about, but they are consistently delicious, a feat you’d be hard pressed to recreate even if you spent hours each week picking recipes and shopping for them.
Food waste is a huge problem. Sun Basket fights this by only giving you the exact amount of an ingredient needed for the recipe, which also makes cooking much easier and therefore more fun!
Healthy for People and the Planet
From an environmental and health-conscious standpoint, we love how Sun Basket bends over backwards to use all organic produce (in the case of a rare supply chain kerfuffle when they are forced to use conventional, they are extremely apologetic). They also strive to ensure that as much of their packaging is recyclable as possible, something that always irked me about BA as I threw away silvery bubble-wrap foil bags each week.
But what about healthy eating? How can Sun Basket support positive changes to your diet you’re looking to make? Honestly, Sun Basket has put healthy eating on autopilot for us (at least 3 meals a week :)). At about the same time we discovered Sun Basket, I read a book called How Not to Die. Spoiler alert – more fruits and veggies, and less meat and dairy, is a big part of the answer. My annual labs had come back with total cholesterol that was higher than it should be, and heart disease runs in my family. Could Sun Basket help me eat better?
My all-time favorite piece of cookware, Scanpan. The only fry pan you will ever need.
Can Sun Basket Save Your Life?
I’m happy to say that after a year of Sun Basket, along with eating somewhat healthier the rest of the time as well, I’ve lowered my total cholesterol by 40 points. Yowza. If that’s not some hard data served a flambé, I don’t know what is.
You might have different healthy eating goals, like low-calorie, Paleo, Lean & Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegan – whatever “healthy” looks like to you, there’s a great chance Sun Basket can support it. And “healthy” does not mean “tastes like cardboard,” in the case of Sun Basket. I think it’s truly restaurant quality, which always amazes me whenever I finish a meal. I made that? High school me who phoned in Home Ec would be shocked and awed.
The photos in this review are making me hungry…
A Note on Cost vs. Value
So what about cost, a potential sticking point for any meal delivery service? Can you eat less expensively? Of course. That’s what the Dollar Menu at Micky D’s is for. It’s certainly not the cheapest calories in town. But what’s the value of your time? What’s the value of learning or refining a new and important life skill? What’s the value of that X factor that makes you appreciate food more when you just cooked it fresh yourself? What’s the value of bonding with your significant other (or scoring points by cooking dinner so they don’t have to)? What’s the value of living longer because you were intentional about eating healthier food?
There’s the quantifiable value (add up the cost of the included ingredients + shipping = X), but most of the value of Sun Basket et. al. is not so easily calculated. Sure, if you have lots of free time on your hands, you could research recipes and buy all the ingredients yourself and cook them. But if you’re like most people, I’m guessing you’d rather outsource the low value activities and only keep the high value activities for yourself. That’s what Sun Basket offers – and that’s why it’s worth a try.