Ibsen Martinez

Get Rid Cellulite

Daily Harvest review: Easy, healthy, real meals on hand when you need them

10 min read
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Daily Harvest

There are some future-fangled projections about how we’ll all eventually eat that are wholly unappealing — even horrifying — to a guy like me. Soylent-style nutrient mixtures, protein pastes, powders and even *gasp* pills to keep us nutritionally satiated and free to spend time on endeavors of the nonculinary sort. While I suppose I can at least understand the practical appeal of these time-saving “food innovations,” I just simply cannot imagine relying on them myself. But what if there were a happy medium?

Daily Harvest is a prepared meal service that aims for that space in the middle, falling somewhere between pseudo-space-age diet plan and old-school cooking and eating, making it worthy of investigation. With neatly packaged and (mostly) ready-to-eat vegan smoothies, bowls, flatbreads and snacks, made with quality superfoods that require minimal prep, Daily Harvest has positioned itself as a semifuturistic food system that doesn’t skimp on the, y’know, food part. But is Daily Harvest good? And worth the cost? The online Daily Harvest reviews I uncovered were a little inconsistent, so I decided to eat my way through a month’s worth of Daily Harvest’s meals and snacks to decide for myself. Here’s my take on the meal delivery service and a firsthand review of Daily Harvest meals.

Like

  • Extremely healthy meals with high-quality ingredients
  • Takes just minutes to prepare meals but they still taste fresh
  • Great to have a few on hand in the freezer in a pinch

Don’t Like

  • A tad on the expensive side for what it is
  • Would avoid the flatbreads, lattes and some of the snacks

How Daily Harvest works

Daily Harvest delivers weekly or monthly boxes of preassembled healthy, vegan, frozen meals and snacks to be kept that way (frozen, that is) until you’re ready to blend them up or heat and eat them. It’s definitely closer to a fully prepared meal delivery than a meal kit service like Blue Apron or Home Chef, but there’s still some minor prep and cooking to be done — mostly blending, mixing or warming. Just be warned, it’s not a pop-in-the-microwave situation for some of the Daily Harvest meals.

Prospective customers start by choosing a plan from the company’s slick website — either nine, 14 or 24 items per shipment — and then build a box, selecting a combination of smoothies ($8), harvest bowls ($9), flatbreads ($9), soups ($8) or breakfast-oriented oat bowls and chia bowls ($6). Daily Harvest also has snacks and add-ons like low-sugar vegan ice creams ($9), protein bites ($8) and lattes ($8). 

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David Watsky/CNET

Ordering was simple and intuitive with all the information for each meal — nutrition, ingredients, culinary inspiration — readily available before you add to your bag. There are also user reviews and ratings linked to individual Daily Harvest items, which I found helpful. Selections change month to month, but many of the bestsellers are always available. You can easily filter the options by your dietary needs, including low-sugar options, and keto- and paleo-friendly meals. You can also sort by flavor preferences, so if you don’t like vanilla or sweet potato, for instance, you can filter out meals with those ingredients. 

What are Daily Harvest meals like?

In a word, healthy. Daily Harvest smoothies, bowls, flatbreads and the rest all have one thing in common, and that’s lots of healthy foods, superfoods, grains, fruits, vegetables, greens, beans, berries and nuts. If it’s been a trending health food in the past decade — think avocado, kale, turmeric, matcha, kabocha squash — you can bet you’ll find it in at least a few of Daily Harvest’s creations. 

Daily Harvest pricing

Item Harvest bowls Flatbreads Soups Smoothies Oat bowls Chia bowls Bites (7) Ice cream (pint) Lattes (3)
Price $9 $9 $8 $8 $6 $6 $8 9 $8

Examples include açai and cherry smoothie, red lentil and cumin harvest bowl with spinach, cilantro and coconut cream, kabocha squash and sage flatbread and a green chickpea and turmeric soup. All the ingredients and nutritional information are included on the side of each container, along with suggestions for how to prepare it, though you can always adapt to your own personal style and tastes. 

How easy are Daily Harvest meal kits to prepare?

Extremely easy. Many of the Daily Harvest soups, vegan ice cream and protein bites arrive ready-to-eat (or -heat), while the smoothies, bowls and flatbreads require very minimal prep. Flatbreads just need a few minutes in the oven, for instance, while a Daily Harvest smoothie requires only a spin in the blender with almond milk, oat milk, cow’s milk or water (they give you a suggested liquid to use for each) and the harvest and oat bowls are simply heated and mixed before eating. Though the instructions on the cartons suggest using the microwave for bowls and some of the other Daily Harvest meals, I much preferred using a skillet or saucepan whenever possible.

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David Watsky/CNET

What I made and ate, and how I liked it

I was naturally skeptical of these frozen meals before digging in for my Daily Harvest review, but I’ll start by saying I genuinely enjoyed the bulk of them. The Daily Harvest culinary team makes a clear effort to mix up the spice blends, veggie and fruit combinations and grains to keep things interesting. Everything tasted fresh and mostly balanced with nothing ever turning out way too sweet, salty, spicy or sour. Admittedly after a few weeks, there were moments when everything sort of started tasting the same, which may be a result of a lot of recurring characters like cacao, avocado, lentils, squash and healthy dense greens, but in fairness, I was eating them at least a few times a week. As you’ll see below, the flatbreads didn’t fare as well as the other categories.

Cold brew, banana and almond butter smoothie: This is similar to a smoothie I make often at home and was excellent, perhaps my favorite smoothie of them all. I mixed it with almond milk, as suggested, and it was like a healthy version of a Starbucks frozen coffee.

Chocolate blueberry smoothie with greens, organic banana and almond butter: I liked this one a lot also. I wasn’t sure how the greens would play with cacao and blueberry, but they mostly faded into the background. It felt as if I’d tricked myself into eating a salad for breakfast.

Vanilla and cacao with chickpeas, apples and coconut cream: I liked but didn’t love this one as much as the first two and quickly decided that perhaps garbanzo beans don’t belong in a smoothie. 

Cauliflower rice and pesto harvest bowl with cashews, organic spinach and basil: Yes. Pesto on anything and everything for me. This Daily Harvest bowl was zesty, light and flavorful and I could see myself eating this once a week for lunch, at least. 

Brussel sprouts and lime pad Thai with carrots and jalapeno over kelp noodles: This one was solid, albeit very spicy. I like a good amount but I can see this having a bit too much jalapeno for the average eater.

pan

Brussel sprout and lime pad thai goes into the pan.


David Watsky/CNET

Tomato and cremini flatbread: This flatbread was almost like ratatouille but on pizza. The tomato kept it moist, but maybe a little too moist: While my air fryer oven (use an air fryer for these if you have one) crisped the sides and crust to perfection, the middle was a bit soggy.

Kale and sweet potato flatbread: While I didn’t mind the flavor, I found this flatbread dry and not the best of the bunch. Some grated Parmigiano Reggiano over the top helped save the day.

Lentil and mesquite chili: I’d contend that making your own soup is a cheaper and better option, but this one turned out pretty solid. I would have personally used a little more spice, but don’t be surprised if some flavors are milder than you’re used to in an attempt to please a wider audience.

Lentil and cremini soup: A nice earthy yet light soup with good flavor balance. I liked this soup a lot and would order again.

Cocoa nib and vanilla protein bites: These snack balls come seven to a pack. They were fine and handy to have around when that bag of cookies starts staring you down around 3 p.m. on a Wednesday.

Daily Harvest lattes: While the ginger and turmeric and coffee and almond lattes weren’t bad, they didn’t quite seem worth it to me. They come as small frozen cubes that you blend with hot milk or nut milk and, for me, were mostly underwhelming.

Note the vegan ice cream was not yet available at the time of my testing.

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Brussel sprout and lime pad thai.


David Watsky/CNET

What makes Daily Harvest different from other prepared meal delivery services?

Daily Harvest meals are incredibly consistent — probably more so than any other of the prepared meal services I’ve tried — but still remained interesting and with meals full of nuanced flavor. It’s probably the healthiest meal delivery service of the lot too, using only vegan ingredients and mostly ones that are high in nutritional value. Because you prepare them at home — although this rarely takes more than five minutes — they have a homemade feel the way some other precooked food delivery services don’t.

Who Daily Harvest meal kits are good for

This is the best vegan meal delivery service I’ve yet to try. If your goal is to eat a healthier breakfast and lunch on the regular but suffer a lack of discipline, Daily Harvest is one of the best ways to save yourself from yourself. Having an inventory of these vegan bowls and smoothies in the freezer makes for simple, tasty nutrition when you’re low on inspiration, too. While the smoothies and bowls may not totally knock your socks off and you’ll probably want to mix in some other lunches week to week, they’re all pretty tasty, healthy and incredibly easy to prepare. 

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Tomato and cremini flatbread.


David Watsky/CNET

Who Daily Harvest meal kits aren’t good for

If you’re trying to go high protein or are the carnivorous type, Daily Harvest meals may not be a good pick for you. While a lot of the smoothies and bowls get a protein punch from things like lentils, beans and kale and most are all chock-full of vitamins and antioxidants, there are no meats, fish or alt-meats to be found in these Daily Harvest containers.

Daily Harvest is not great for kids. Now take this with a grain of salt, because every kid has different tastes, but the Daily Harvest flavor profiles tend to skew toward an older audience, in my opinion. With spices like turmeric and lots of hearty, sometimes bitter veggies and greens, it just may not be ideal for the youngsters in your squad. This is probably less true of certain meals like fruit smoothies, cacao protein bites and cinnamon oat bowls. 

Read more: Best meat delivery for 2020: Snake River Farms, Omaha Steaks, Rastelli’s and more

How much do Daily Harvest meals cost?

The smoothies, bowls, soups and flatbreads are between $6-$9. You can certainly find a more inexpensive lunch or dinner — especially if you make it yourself from scratch — but it’s not a terrible deal, especially considering Daily Harvest uses expensive, high-quality ingredients like avocados, chia seeds and hazelnuts. Daily Harvest’s vegan ice cream is $9 per pint, while the packs of protein bites (seven per order) are $8 and lattes (three per pack) are also $8.

For me, some items have better value than others. I would also contend that $8 is a bit much for one single serving of soup, since you can make a week’s worth for about that price and without much fuss. A high-quality smoothie or harvest bowl, however, costs well over $10 (at least where I live), so there is inherent value in some of Daily Harvest meals, considering they’re prepped and ready to go. 

The nice thing is you can select as many from one category and as few of the others as you like when building your box.

Daily Harvest packaging and environmental friendliness

All of the Daily Harvest items are packed in recyclable paper containers with plastic lids, which are not recyclable but very thin. All in all, it’s a fairly environmentally friendly meal service.

Changing or canceling your Daily Harvest order

You can cancel your order or subscription anytime and at no charge as long as it’s before the cutoff each week of Sunday, 3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET). 

The final verdict 

Daily Harvest proved a reliable and consistent want to keep really healthy, vegan meals at your fingertips. Because Daily Harvest meals arrive frozen and are designed to be stored in the freezer until you want them, you don’t have to stress about not eating them in time the way you do with meal kits and even some other prepared meal services. 

I appreciated the quality of ingredients and diversity of flavors and I genuinely liked most of what I made, save for some of the snacks and flatbreads. I don’t know that I’d aim to eat these meals daily, as the name suggests, but having an inventory on hand for healthy and quick breakfasts or lunches certainly takes the heat off, especially during busy times.


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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.