I have searched high and low for a meal delivery service that meets all of my needs. It has been difficult to say the least. I have tried several including PlateJoy which was great (even though I still had to cook) until they completely changed their business model. So while these services usually have their merits, there’s something that ultimately makes me stop ordering.
Thistle is the only meal delivery service I have found that does 100% vegan, gluten-free meals. If you look online for healthy vegan meal prep services, you will not find them. If you do, please email me immediately! I am not a vegan, but I like to eat vegan foods and if someone can make it a no-brainer for me, I’ll be vegan. (For the record, you can order non-vegan meals from them too but that’s what most meal delivery services do, so you have your pick).
My biggest ask of any meal service is that it be simple and convenient. Too many services add more frustration than they take away. I am not paying for frustration. Life offers enough of that. I’m paying for someone to remove it and make my life easier. Thistle meets this need and then some. They have a set meal plan and as long as you don’t want any changes, it automatically gets delivered without you doing a thing! The deliveries can come 3x a week so the food is always fresh and also doesn’t hog your entire refrigerator (which is another pet peeve of mine!). They come in bags with ice packs and they deliver them either overnight or early in the morning. I love it. They don’t ring my doorbell and wake me up either. They send a text and I go outside when I wake up and there’s my food! I did read online reviews prior to ordering and many people complained about delivery issues. I’ve been ordering for several weeks and have not had this problem. There have been a couple minor issues with deliveries, labels not being entirely accurate and some slightly funky smelling beans, but nothing as bad as the food not arriving at all or being spoiled.
I literally hate cooking but I still like to eat healthy. Being lazy and healthy do not go together. So for me, this is the perfect solution. There have been a few misses but for the most part the meals themselves are DELICIOUS. I am eating all kinds of foods I don’t eat normally, either because they’re expensive or more than likely, I have no idea what to do with them. The meals are SUPER healthy. We’re talking superfoods and organic fruits and vegetables. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten food this colorful and nutrient-dense in my life. I feel healthier just reading the labels. There is also a ton of variety. I’ve gotten a good mix of different types of foods with different flavor profiles. And the best part is I don’t have to look at a single recipe, set foot in the grocery store or cook a darned thing!
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a few downsides. Particularly if you’re a picky eater. The meal plans are all posted on the Thistle website so you can see what’s coming up the next two weeks. You can even see the ingredients and nutrition which I really appreciate. However, if you don’t like the food that you see, well, too bad. The only changes you can really make are to swap foods within the same order. So let’s say Monday’s dinner looks awful…well since you only get 2 days in an order, your option is basically to double up on Tuesday’s meal. I should say there is a way to note your allergies, but other than that, it’s really not flexible at all.
The other thing is that the meals create quite a bit of waste. Everything you order comes in plastic containers. They are recyclable but still, it’s a lot of packaging. I’m not sure how they could really make that any better but it would be nice if they could. The bags and ice packs are reusable, so you can either keep them or leave them out for the delivery person to pick up and reuse.
Also, if you don’t like salads and smoothies, you will have a very hard time liking Thistle. If you only want delicious comfort foods, this isn’t it. It’s definitely for people who want to eat really healthy, high quality ingredients. It’s not for picky kids or anyone who is happily used to living on Chinese food and pizza.
Another concern for some might be the macronutrient breakdowns. If you count macros, Thistle’s meal plans may not work for you. The meals are high in protein for the average person, but probably not for someone who is into fitness or bodybuilding. I’d say they average 70 grams per day. Most of the meals are around 150-200 carbs per day and also very high in fat (upwards of 80-90 grams per day). One the same token, sometimes the labels don’t actually match what you’re eating. For example, the other day I got a meal that didn’t mention anything about peas in the name or the ingredient list. But it was literally half peas. I hate peas. I was disappointed but more concerned that if someone is can’t eat a certain ingredient and it’s not even listed on the label, that’s kind of a big deal.
I think the biggest negative by far with Thistle is the price. This food is NOT cheap. Not that any meal service is. But it’s about $11-12 per meal. That is definitely pricey and I don’t know that I can afford to order forever, but I do love it for now. The food is high quality and the portions are a good size so for the most part I think you get your money’s worth. The shipping is free, at least for me, because they’re based where I live.
For me, the positives outweigh the negatives. The convenience simply can’t be beat. You don’t have to do a SINGLE THING. It’s so easy and also super delicious.
Note: For now it appears that Thistle only delivers within California and Nevada, so if you live elsewhere, send them an email and let them know you’re interested. Generally if a company thinks they have a new market they can make money in, they’ll work hard to get into it. If you do live in CA or NV, please try Thistle! It won’t disappoint!
UPDATE: I cancelled my subscription to Thistle after about 2 months. There are a lot of great things about it, but it’s just too pricey and it eventually became Groundhog Day for me since they never vary the menu. I am back to cooking my own meals at home!