Kitchen & Cooking

Daily Harvest is all over Instagram–but are its instant meals worth it?

I tried the plant-based frozen meals and smoothies to find out.

Daily Harvest Credit: Daily Harvest

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Ariana Grande described me best with this line from her song 7 Rings: “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it.” That is, if something is trending on Instagram, you better believe I want it—and that I’ll end up buying it.

So when I started seeing my favorite influencers posing with their colorful Daily Harvest cups, I knew I had to try them for myself (after all, even if that mango turmeric chia seed bowl didn’t taste great, it would make for the most like-worthy Instagram picture). Plus, I’m a yoga teacher, so you know anything that includes the words “organic” and “açaí” in the same sentence excites me.

Equal parts intrigued and hungry, I placed my order and eagerly awaited the arrival of my Daily Harvest package. Would it live up to the hype? Would the frozen meals actually taste good? I was soon to find out.

What is Daily Harvest?

“We take care of food, so that food can take care of you.” That’s the motto of Daily Harvest, the delivery service that brings organic, vegan frozen meals to your doorstep. It offers a wide variety of fruit- and veggie-filled options, including smoothies, oat bowls, harvest bowls, soups, “bites” (e.g., snack-sized balls of dates, nuts, and seeds), lattes, chia bowls and, most recently, flatbreads.

Unlike most meal kit delivery services that send you ingredients to cook yourself, Daily Harvest does all the work for you: Each cup contains what you need to microwave or puree in a blender a nutritious, plant-based meal in minutes.

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How does Daily Harvest work?

Daily Harvest offers three weekly box options and one monthly box option. The weekly boxes come in three sizes: small (nine meals), medium (12 meals), and large (24 meals). Like the large weekly box, the monthly box includes 24 meals. The prices of said meals range from $5.99 to $8.99 each and, according to Daily Harvest, each one serves one to two people.

With more than 80 options to choose from, you can either build a custom box or let Daily Harvest stock your box with some of its bestsellers. On the site, each meal has a rating and reviews so you can see what past customers have loved (or disliked) about that particular meal.

What I liked about Daily Harvest

Daily Harvest Bowl
Credit: Reviewed/Amanda Tarlton

The cauliflower pesto bowl before (center) and after (right).

I opted for the medium Daily Harvest box as, according to the website, it is the most popular option. Unpacking all my goodies upon its arrival (they came frozen and packed in dry ice, so they’d stay that way), I felt like the healthy-eating, Gwyneth Paltrow-loving, sometimes-vegan, best version of myself. After a week of devouring most of the meals, here’s what I loved most.

  • The food is delicious. Of the 12 meals I received, all were yummy. The ingredients tasted fresh—as fresh as frozen fruits and veggies can taste, that is. My favorites were the cauliflower pesto bowl, which tasted like a creamy, healthy version of mac and cheese, and the cacao nibs and vanilla bites, which tasted like raw chocolate-chip cookie dough. The only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the latte, a blend of organic coffee powder and your own milk (I used almond) that you whip up in the blender to prepare—it was unimpressive and a bit bland for my liking. (Plus, for the price, they couldn't include the milk, too?)

  • The meals were quick and easy to make. As someone who’s always rushing around—and who hates to cook—I appreciate how little effort it took to make the Daily Harvest meals. The bowls require dumping the contents into a microwave-safe bowl and heating up for four to five minutes, whereas the smoothies just require water (no measuring required—just fill up the cup with water and pour it in) and a whirl in the blender for a few minutes at most. Even better, some, like the bites, don’t require any preparation—I just ate them straight from the freezer.

  • The meals made eating fruits and veggies easier. Typically when I want a snack, I reach for pretzels or Cheez-its. Neither of which are bad, of course, but they aren’t helping me get the recommended four or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables. I liked that Daily Harvest offered that in a convenient cup—and I didn’t have to settle for munching on raw celery (yuck) or spend time cleaning, chopping, and cooking veggies or assembling my own ingredients for a smoothie.

What I didn’t like about Daily Harvest

I’m a girl who likes to eat—a lot. And while all of the Daily Harvest things I’ve eaten (or drank) so far have ranked high in taste, they’ve ranked low in actually filling me up. Are they a meal? Or are they a snack? With calorie counts ranging from 200 to 300 on average, I’d vote for the latter—especially as most lack a lot of protein or fat, both of which keep you feeling fuller longer. (I have no words for whomever at Daily Harvest decided that some of these meals would feed two people.) To make one Daily Harvest cup more satiating, I’d end up adding protein (like browning some ground beef to put on top of the cauliflower rice bowl) or eating something else like a protein bar with it. This took away from the whole convenience factor.

Plus, at the end of the day, it’s a frozen meal. I loved the cauliflower pesto bowl… for something that came out of the freezer. Was it better than making the exact same bowl with fresh ingredients? Hard no. Call me picky or call me honest, but freezer meals never taste the same as the “real” thing, and Daily Harvest, despite its best intentions, is no different.

Is Daily Harvest worth it?

Daily Harvest Smoothie
Credit: Daily Harvest

Each Daily Harvest smoothie is loaded with fruits and veggies.

It all depends on your lifestyle. If you’re someone who truly doesn’t have an extra 15 minutes in the morning to whip up a smoothie or an oat bowl from scratch, then sure, the convenience factor alone makes Daily Harvest worth it. Or, if you’re someone who wants to add more fruits and veggies into your diet but you have zero motivation to shop for said ingredients (let alone prepare them), you’ll find Daily Harvest makes your health goals easier to reach.

However, for me, I don’t consider Daily Harvest worth the cost. I didn’t find the “meals” filling enough to be actual, well, meals, so it’s hard for me to justify spending $8 on what amounts to a snack. I’d rather just buy the ingredients myself (for cheaper) and put in those extra minutes of effort.

That said, Daily Harvest is delicious and easy, so if it sounds appealing to you, I say go for it.

Shop Daily Harvest starting at $5.99 per meal

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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