Hungryroot’s plant-based meal delivery service helps me assemble healthy meals in under 10 minutes

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Hungryroot

When it comes right down to it, my biggest hurdle to healthy eating 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 meal subscription service that sends healthy, nearly-ready meals to your door, with ingredients and sauces that you just heat and mix together. Each serving costs about $8 to $12 when you do the math, and they take fewer than 10 minutes to prepare.

The foods are plant-centric, made from clean ingredients, and they’re 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 keep you energized and satisfied without the pitfalls of “bad” fats and carbs, which can raise your cholesterol and spike your blood sugar.

Generally, I’m willing to spend a bit more than I would on the ingredients for the 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 personally 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.

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Hungryroot

How it works

Sign up, note your dietary preferences, and pick the plan that makes the most sense for you.

Shipments come weekly and are available in the following sizes:

Shipping is free, and you can pause, hold, or cancel at any time.

Once you select your plan and make an account, you can view the meals your shipment will include. You can customize the box and delivery dates from the “Deliveries” page while logged into your account.

All changes made to your subscription must be submitted before 3 p.m. EST the Wednesday before your next box is shipped.

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).

What Hungryroot is like in person

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Mara Leighton

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 Small Box (six-eight meals for the week) included the following:

  1. Asian Salad Mix
  2. Butternut Squash Noodles
  3. Spinach Garlic Chicken Sausage
  4. Kale Pesto
  5. Red Lentil Fusilli
  6. Braised Lemongrass Tofu Nuggets
  7. Garlic Parm
  8. Hot Smoked Roasted Salmon
  9. Garlicky Herb Chickpea Duo
  10. Coconut Curry
  11. Cultured Coconut Cream
  12. Oatmeal Spice Cookie Dough
  13. Black Bean Brownie Batter

The meals were delicious, easy to make, and the entrees filled me up.

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. 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 ingredients initially seemed small and few when unpacking.

I also ended up with leftover sauce from each container, and I organized some meals for the following week around getting rid of the Hungryroot leftovers sans preservatives.

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 (ok to eat as is or after baking).

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.

Who should get it

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 another meal kit delivery service. If you just need help with constructing healthy meal plans, you should check out PlateJoy.

Another thing to consider is that the snacks are not meal replacements, so it’s not necessarily fair to say each part of the box is worth its respective $8 to $12 equally. But, if the other pros are worth it to you, then it may even out.

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.

Sign up for Hungryroot here and see how the process works below:


Make an account with an email. Then, answer easy questions to personalize your shipment.

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Hungryroot

Check if you have any dietary restrictions or preferences.

If you don’t have any, the food will still be plant-centric (made mostly from fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains), made from clean ingredients (no artificial ingredients, including preservatives, modified food starches, or trans fats and refined sugars), and nutrient-dense (healthy fats, complex carbs, fiber, vitamins, phytonutrients, etc.).

You won’t find any MSG, GMO corn or soy, or hydrogenated fats and partially hydrogenated oil.


Favorite any meals you’d like to see included in future boxes.

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Hungryroot

Hungryroot will generate a box for you, but you can customize what’s ultimately sent. Just make sure any changes are submitted before 3 p.m. EST the Wednesday before your next box is shipped.


Pick the right meal plan for your lifestyle (or fridge size).

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Hungryroot

You’ll get an email with the meals in your box, plus short, easily accessible instructions on how to cook or use the food you find inside.

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Mara Leighton/Business Insider

Just in case you find yourself staring blankly at the ingredients in your kitchen, all you have to do is pull up your email to find cooking instructions and suggested pairings for the foods in your box.


On top of the convenient, healthy foods, the Hungryroot website is a great resource to do your own digging, re-check cooking instructions, and learn more about nutrition in a clean, no-nonsense way.

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Hungryroot

For fast, helpful nutritional information, check Hungryroot’s page. You can find a meal’s nutritional facts, cooking instructions, and bonus information like it being high in protein or gluten-free.

Sign up for Hungryroot here, starting at $69 per weekly shipment