A rapidly increasing number of people are interested in adopting a plant-based diet, often because their healthcare provider suggested it, but they find themselves unsure of where to start. While some plant-based meal delivery companies provide an option, it’s important to note that not all of these services are created equal. I have only found one that currently meets a whole food, plant-based gold standard.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.
I first heard about Whole Harvest after another plant-based meal delivery service (MamaSezz) suddenly stopped their meal delivery, and I was looking for other options. Though I thought I had found a new company that no one else knew about, I soon realized that I was late to the party because Forks Over Knives, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD, Chef AJ, True North Health Center, and other well-known names in the whole food plant-based world were already recommending this vegan meal delivery service to patients. Dr. Dean Ornish even uses them for his heart disease reversal programs and research studies!
What is a plant-based meal delivery service?
Many people just want to give healthy plant-based vegan food a try to see how they like it without digging through recipes and ingredients and spending hours in the kitchen. Fresh ready-to-eat meals from a delivery service are a great way to do that.
Meal delivery services do the shopping, chopping, and cooking for you, and deliver prepared meals to your front door.
Some food delivery services say that they are fully plant-based. Yet, upon careful examination, you may find that these services incorporate oils abundant in empty calories, excessive sodium, processed ingredients, and other convenient but less nutritious shortcuts.
It is hard to find meal delivery services that truly understand whole food plant-based cooking, and that is why Whole Harvest has become my personal WFPB favorite and why I have become an affiliate with them.
What is a plant-based diet?
A whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet is similar to a vegan diet in that both ways of eating avoid meat, dairy, and eggs. However, WFPB takes it to a further level of eating closer to the plant. Eating plant-based, whole foods means fueling your body from the following food groups.
WHOLE GRAINS – This group includes brown rice, millet, oats, barley, corn, bulgur, and all products made from whole grains including bread, cereals, pasta, and more. Whole grains are filling but have very little fat. In countries where whole grains are staples, such as rural Asia, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers, are much less common than in the States and Europe.
LEGUMES – This group includes beans, peas, and lentils. They are hearty, high-protein foods that are rich in calcium, iron, cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, and even traces of omega-3 fatty acids.
VEGETABLES – These foods are loaded with vitamins and minerals, are very low in fat, and like all plant foods, have no cholesterol at all.
FRUIT – These are vitamin-rich and have no cholesterol. They do have natural sugar but are low on the glycemic index, except for watermelon and pineapple.
Recommended foods do NOT include meat, dairy products, eggs, added oils, or most processed foods. Oil–even olive oil–is also avoided due to being highly processed and liquid fat which is about 13% artery-clogging saturated fat.
Are plant-based meals healthy?
Yes, a plant-based diet is naturally anti-inflammatory because it is high in fiber, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients, and much lower in inflammatory triggers like saturated fat.
Research indicates that individuals who embrace a plant-based diet can significantly reduce their C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, which serves as an indicator of inflammation in the body.
So far, Whole Harvest is working with over 200 physicians that are recommending their plant-based meals to patients which says a lot about how healthy they are.
I tried the Whole Harvest plant-based meals
After hearing about Whole Harvest from my friend Tim Kaufman of FatManRants, I decided to reach out to the company for more information, and they were kind enough to get on a Zoom call with me to answer all of my questions. I loved hearing that so many plant-based community standouts like the team at Forks Over Knives were already partnering with them.
Our online meeting lasted for over half an hour and ended with them sending me 8 of their entrees to try for myself. I loved that they arrived so quickly right to my front door.
They sent me the following entrees, and I’ve included photos of them above.
- Ratatouille – This is one of their gluten-free and SOS (free of salt, oil, and refined sugar) entrees. Ingredients include quinoa, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, red peppers, onions, millet, chickpeas, tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, organic dried date powder, basil, garlic, tomato paste, walnuts, hulled hemp seed hearts, and spices. It has 450 calories, 8 grams of fat, 17 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein.
- Harvest Vegetable Lasagna – Surprisingly, this lasagna is gluten-free because the pasta is made from corn flour and brown rice flour. Ingredients include tomatoes, tomato paste, butternut squash, roasted garlic, mushrooms, tofu, spinach, and seasonings. It contains 500 calories, 5 grams of fat, 12 grams of fiber, and 22 grams of protein.
- Pasta Fagioli – Surprisingly gluten-free, this entree is made with brown rice flour. The ingredients include vegetable stock, kidney beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, onion, carrots, chickpeas, celery, garlic, and spices. It has 490 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 19 grams of fiber, and 24 grams of protein.
- Southwest Comfort Mac – Made with whole wheat pasta, this dish gets a plant-based makeover with homemade vegan cheeze sauce, sweet potatoes, corn, broccoli, black beans, and sweet corn. While it’s not gluten-free, it is delicious! It has 450 calories, 2 grams of fat, 19 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of protein.
- Seasonal Harvest Bowl – This bowl was super hearty and packed full of an ancient grain mix of quinoa and millet along with portobello mushrooms, tofu, quinoa, lentils, and butternut squash. They do suggest that you add your own fresh greens which I did. It was probably my favorite of all the entrees. It contains 450 calories, 6 grams of fat, 11 grams of fiber, and 28 grams of protein.
- Lentil Loaf – This meatless lentil loaf is made with protein-packed lentils and sweet yams and served with a colorful array of vegetables. It is also gluten-free with 470 calories, 5 grams of fat, 23 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein.
- Loaded Yam Supreme – This unsuspecting yam is loaded with hearty vegan chili and smothered with a creamy, plant-based southwest cheese sauce. Ingredients include yam, onion, tempeh, green peppers, kidney beans, great northern beans, pinto beans, green onion, garlic, and spices. It has 500 calories, 5 grams of fat, 22 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of protein.
- Cocoa Truffles – These little dessert treats were delicious. They are made with a combination of dates, cocoa, and a hint of vanilla extract. They have 90 calories, 1/2 gram of fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein per ball.
What I liked most
Heat & eat– I enjoyed the food and especially liked that all I had to do was heat it and eat. While WH recommends transferring the meal to a glass dish before microwaving, it’s important to note that all their meals can also be microwaved in their original container. The meal tray and film are microwave-safe, so you have the option to use them if you prefer.
Serving size– One thing that I really liked that was different than the other meal delivery service I had used previously was that the Whole Harvest meals reminded me (in a good way) of TV dinners in that they include multiple dishes in one tray to make a full meal and I felt that the portions were generous.
We did add a little extra seasonings like onion powder, or garlic powder to some of the dishes. Since they are made with very little salt, we added a little extra to suit our taste preferences. For the lasagna, I also added just a little more marinara that I already had on hand.
No subscription required– I love that you don’t have to have a subscription to order the products, though there is a minimum requirement of 8 meals. A subscription does save money if you plan to order regularly.
Easy storage– The meals last 5-14 days in the refrigerator, depending on the entree, and most of them are freezer-friendly.
Get $30 off your first order!
To me, Whole Harvest is the perfect option for a plant-based meal delivery service because they offer fresh, chef-prepared meals that give you total control over what you eat. I am excited to recommend them to all of our EatPlant-Based readers, followers, and subscribers. Use the coupon code EATPLANTS30 to receive $30 off your first order with Whole Harvest.
How it works (No subscription required)
Whole Harvest allows you to place a one-time order or subscribe and save with a weekly delivery plan where you can skip weeks or cancel the subscription at any time.
There is a minimum of 8 meals and a maximum of 21 meals per order.
Does Whole Harvest use organic ingredients?
Though they are non-GMO and organic where possible, it is difficult to source all of the ingredients in their meals as organic. They do source in-season ingredients from producer to plate and are mostly organic.
I was told that the items on the menu change about every 3-4 months due to seasonal availability. I noticed that they had a burger that was no longer available. When I asked them about it, they said it would be coming back.
Are the meals gluten-free?
Many of Whole Harvest’s meals are gluten-free but not all. You will need to check the nutrition information on each meal and look for the gluten-free logo on the meal image. The photo below shows the logo to look for.
Plant-based meal delivery cost
Whole Harvest dinner/lunch entrees vary in cost between $11.95 and $13.95 at the time of this post in December of 2023. They have a few breakfast options that are around $9.95 each.
They also have some snacks that are in the $7-$8 range as well as some dressings, sauces, and seasonings that average around $7.
Use the coupon code EATPLANTS30 to receive $30 off of your first order with Whole Harvest.
Everything ships through UPS from Denver, and the cost is either $12.99 for 2-day ground or $29.99 for 2-day air. Because they are shipping cold food that must arrive within 2 days, shipping prices are set from your zip code. Meals can currently be shipped anywhere in the lower 48 states.
The story behind Whole Harvest
I was curious about the origins of Whole Harvest and how the company got started because my experience has been that there is usually a story about someone regaining their health behind many plant-based businesses. It turns out, that’s true, and there is an inspiring story about the co-owners of Whole Harvest, Mike and Mark, and why they decided to start a plant-based meal delivery service.
Back in 2011, Mike was only 42 years old when he had his first heart attack. He had just finished a workout at the gym and was driving home when the chest pains and difficulty breathing began. He made it home but the symptoms persisted, so he got back in the car and drove himself to the hospital.
Mike was always pretty fit and not overweight. He worked out regularly, but his diet wasn’t the greatest with Diet Coke and pizza being staples. Even so, going into cardiac arrest was not something he would have ever expected because he thought that exercise alone was enough to maintain his health.
Two stents later, his cardiology team encouraged him to make some changes to his diet to include salmon, olive oil, and even red wine which he was told was heart-healthy.
Since Mike is a go-getter, he jumped right in following his healthcare provider’s recommendations perfectly, but it wasn’t enough. Sixteen months later, another emergency required a third stent!
Back at home, searching desperately for answers, Mike’s research led him to a documentary that had recently come out called Forks Over Knives and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr, MD from the Cleveland Clinic which changed his life.
After watching the documentary, Mike was convinced that a plant-based diet might be the answer to his health crisis and enable him to reverse his heart disease. So, he set out full-throttle on a whole food, plant-based diet and quickly realized that this lifestyle was a game changer.
He felt incredible and wanted everyone to know about the hidden treasure he had found sharing his story with family and friends.
Years later, Mike’s long-time friend, Mark, had a health scare as well. He woke up at 2:30 in the morning with his whole left side numb. After a visit to the hospital and testing, the hospital staff assured him that he was fine, but Mark felt there was more to it than that.
He consulted with a cardiologist and had further testing where they found that he did have mild plaque buildup in his arteries. While that wasn’t the answer to his event, at 52 years old, Mark didn’t want to end up like his friend Mike with a full-blown heart attack before taking action.
After talking with Mike about his test results, Mark was encouraged to try a plant-based diet. Before he got started, he had bloodwork done so that he would be able to measure whether or not the diet change was making a difference.
Three weeks into Mark’s diet change, he had lost 12 pounds and had more energy than he knew what to do with. After having his labs done again, the results showed that not only was his blood pressure lower, but his cholesterol had dropped 40 points.
Completely convinced of the power of food to heal the body and reverse heart disease, Mark reached back out to Mike to ask how they might make it easier for people to try a plant-based diet for disease reversal because, while the results were undeniable, there was a huge learning curve when it came to food prep and cooking.
By then, it was 2020, and the world was in the middle of the pandemic with everything shut down. They came up with the idea for Whole Harvest to make healthy plant-based meals available to heart patients and everyone else because they knew firsthand how hard it can be to make the change.
Whole Harvest was born as a way to create meals that contain no oil, meat, or dairy, and very little sodium for people on the go with no time (or desire) to research recipes, shop for fresh ingredients, and prepare meals at home.
All of their meals are 100% plant-based, chef-prepared, never frozen, and available for shipping. Mike and Mark found a way to make it as easy as possible for others to unlock the healing power of a plant-based diet and regain their health.
Use the coupon code EATPLANTS30 to receive $30 off of your first order with Whole Harvest.
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About Terri Edwards
Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy. I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…