REVIEW: Hungryroot is a plant-based meal service that’s easy to useBusiness Insider
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- Hungryroot is a combination of meal kit delivery service and online grocery store.
- It recommends plant-based groceries and snacks based on your preferences (nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, or none of the above) along with recipes on how to use them together — or you can go rogue and cook them however you want.
- I loved the service because meals were nutritious, delicious, and took me far less time to make than other meal delivery services.
- Shipments come weekly and prices start at around $59 depending on how much your order is. You can pause, hold, or cancel at any time.
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When it comes to eating healthy, my biggest hurdle is convenience.
I love neither grocery shopping nor cooking, and I don’t want to spend my limited free time deep-diving into (often contentious) online nutritional resources to construct balanced meals each week. But I do want to eat healthy foods that are good for me. So when I heard about Hungryroot through a colleague, I was intrigued.
Hungryroot is a plant-based service that’s equal parts grocery store and meal kit service. After you take a short quiz to determine your food preferences and how many servings of food you want, you’ll get a grocery list of food and snacks, along with recipes on how to use them together. Or not — one of the benefits of the service not being a traditional meal kit is that you can mix up ingredients however you want.
Prices start around $59 for six servings or three recipes a week, but each plan is personalized so prices will definitely vary. The one constant is that each takes less than than 10 minutes to prepare.
The foods are plant-centric and free from artificial ingredients, including preservatives, trans fats, or refined sugars. The meals are packed with nutrients, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, cashews, almonds, and avocados. Together, healthy fats and complex carbs like sweet potatoes, cauliflower, quinoa, beans, and oats can help keep you energized and satisfied without the pitfalls of “bad” fats and carbs, which can help raise your cholesterol and spike your blood sugar.
Generally, I’m willing to spend a bit more than I would on the ingredients for convenience. Hungryroot is more expensive than buying these ingredients in bulk, but you could make the argument that anyone buying single-person groceries may find that it’s not altogether that much more expensive.
What I appreciate about Hungryroot is that it aims to make truly healthy foods convenient and inexpensive, since affordability and convenience are what make people (myself included) settle for unhealthy options packed with trans fats, sodium, and preservatives.
Sign up and take the quiz to note dietary preferences, amount of servings, and more. Your orders come with free shipping, and shipments are weekly but you can pause, hold, or cancel at any time. After your account is set up, you can customize your shipment and delivery dates, and even change up the groceries you’ll get for an even more customized grocery list.
Since it’s all fresh food, you may get an email prior to shipment that one meal has been altered due to stock (not enough high-quality cauliflower one week, for instance).
Shipping was fast and my box arrived as scheduled. I was happy to find the shipping boxes are made of 100% recycled paper and are 100% recyclable. Ice packs are filled with a non-toxic gel, and thermal liners are made of 100% recyclable poly film and post-industrial/pre-consumer 100% recycled cotton. Check Hungryroot’s FAQ section for how to recycle ice packs and liners.
I was surprised by how much I liked what Hungryroot sent. I let the company auto-generate the first shipment without any dietary restrictions marked, and my box of six to eight meals for the week included the following:
- Asian Salad Mix
- Butternut Squash Noodles
- Spinach Garlic Chicken Sausage
- Kale Pesto
- Red Lentil Fusilli
- Braised Lemongrass Tofu Nuggets
- Garlic Parm
- Hot Smoked Roasted Salmon
- Garlicky Herb Chickpea Duo
- Coconut Curry
- Cultured Coconut Cream
- Oatmeal Spice Cookie Dough
- Black Bean Brownie Batter
I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian and I balance an interest in taste over an interest in strictly healthy food, but I enjoyed the meals. It didn’t feel like I was eating “healthy” in the sense that I was making compromises. And while I do eat meat, I enjoyed the tofu nuggets in my shipment. If you really wanted to, though, you could easily substitute and make the recipe with your own choice of meat.
I typically wind up eating more than one serving for other meal plans that I’ve tried, but Hungryroot delivered enough ingredients and variety so I ended up making most entrees last for dinner and for lunch. Having said that, the number of ingredients initially seemed small when unpacking.
I also ended up with a lot of leftover sauces, so I organized some meals for the following week around getting rid of the Hungryroot sauces.
The standouts were the delicious entrees of Butternut Squash Tofu Curry, Salmon Pesto Lentil Pasta, and Spinach Garlic Chicken Sausage, as well as the ridiculously tasty black bean brownie batter (which was okay to eat as is or baked).
True to promise, each meal took under 10 minutes to make — and that’s probably the only reason I finished the fresh food before it went bad and ate healthy meals all week. I don’t like cooking, and my schedule usually allows only 30 minutes to cook and eat. For me, Hungryroot succeeded in making it possible to eat healthy in a convenient, fast, and pretty affordable way.
If you like the sound of healthy, tasty food you can make in under 10 minutes, you’re probably going to like Hungryroot. It’s more expensive than buying the ingredients yourself, but I probably wouldn’t do the research and grocery shopping if left to my own devices. If you want convenience and consistency, this is a good tool. You can also learn more about nutrition on the site should you choose to.
If you don’t have a reliable way to pick up packages day-of, you may want to steer clear. The food is fresh and doesn’t include preservatives, so it likely won’t keep for longer than a day or so.
If you’d prefer to be more involved in cooking the meals rather than mixing ingredients together, you’ll be better suited to a Blue Apron, Sun Basket, Hello Fresh, or any of the meal kit delivery services we’ve tested. If you just need help with constructing healthy meal plans, you should check out PlateJoy.
All in all, Hungryroot is a great option for anyone looking to eat healthier. In my experience, meals were delicious, filling, and simple to make.