Hungryroot is a hybrid between a grocery delivery service and a meal delivery service. They deliver groceries and send recipes so consumers can make healthy meals using those groceries.
We recently reviewed Freshly and Optavia, two of the most popular meal delivery services. Freshly is a general meal delivery service with no specific niche, while Optavia meals are for weight loss. We didn’t end up recommending either service, though Freshly is definitely the better option between the two from a health perspective.
Since Hungryroot brands themselves as a healthier option than most meal delivery services, we’re curious to see if those claims are valid.
In this article we will review the ingredients Hungryroot uses, as well as some sample meals, to determine if it’s actually healthy.
As an online grocery store, Hungryroot has a wide variety of ingredients. Similar to Thrive Market, they allow users to select groceries based on categories like “produce” or “bread & bakery”, but they also allow users to complete a quiz to get a custom grocery and recipe list. The suggested groceries change weekly once a user subscribes, and are tailored based on the answers from the quiz.
Hungryroot does seem to make an effort to select high-quality ingredients. Most of their meat options are from grass fed animals, which are nutritionally superior based on medical research than food products from conventionally-raised animals.
All Hungryroot pork and turkey options appear to be from conventionally raised animals, so we don’t recommend these ingredients.
There are cheese options sourced from pastured animals, and we’re impressed by how nutrient dense their bakery and grain offerings are. Most delivery services would just use white flour here, but Hungryroot has a variety of options from sprouted grains to lentil pastas.
Even the sweets seem curated for optimal health, with options like Key Lime Cups that are made with shredded coconut, blue agave and coconut oil instead of the typical white flour and processed sugar. There are some dark chocolate bars on offer as well that would make a tasty and healthy treat.
Overall, we find that Hungryroot has high-quality ingredients. While a diligent consumer can still probably do better shopping for themselves at a grocery store, Hungryroot does a good job of providing a wide variety of healthful options, and we find their ingredients to be superior to the two meal delivery programs we’ve previously reviewed.
In this section we’ll analyze a few randomly selected recipes to determine if they’re healthy meal options.
Buffalo Shrimp Tacos
Hungryroot’s Buffalo Shrimp Tacos are made with four of their grocery items: organic white flour tortillas, wild caught gulf shrimp, superblend salad and organic buffalo ranch dressing.
All of the ingredients are high in nutrients and free of harmful additives and added sugar so we’d recommend this meal. Even the dressing is made with healthy ingredients which is rare.
The meal is only 520 calories which is relatively low if it’s one of only three meals daily.
Spicy Chicken + Cheddar Panini
This meal is made from four grocery items: OneBun multigrain bun, Creamy Cheddar Rounds cheese, grilled chicken breast and green chili.
Unlike the previous meal, there are a few reasons we don’t recommend this one or find it as healthy. The bun contains added sugar and an added synthetic vitamin blend. The cheese and chicken are sourced from conventionally-raised animals.
The meal is only 480 calories, which again is quite low for any adult.
Plant-Based Smoky Chorizo + Squash Tacos
This meal is made from four grocery items: white corn tortillas, butternut squash cubes, plant-based smoked chorizo and green chile.
The butternut squash and plant-based chorizo make the tacos relatively nutrient-dense, and we do recommend this as a healthy meal. There are no added sugars, preservatives or synthetic vitamins.
This meal contains 570 calories.
Is Hungryroot Healthy?
Overall, most of the recipes we reviewed are relatively nutrient-dense. They’re certainly healthier than the average American diet.
That being said, the meals suffer from some of the same limitations as Freshly meals. Many of the animal products are not sourced from grass-fed animals. Added sugars are occasionally included, as are synthetic vitamin blends and natural flavors.
For consumers in a rush who don’t have the time to buy groceries, Hungryroot can be a decent option and won’t actively harm your health.
However, we believe that buying whole foods at grocery stores will be a cheaper and healthier option. You’ll be able to select from pastured animal products exclusively, and avoid any packaged goods with added sugars or vitamin blends.
Does Hungryroot Provide Enough Calories?
Most people eat three meals a day. Hungryroot meals seem to average around 500 calories per meal, which only adds up to 1,500 calories daily.
This may be a good option for those looking to lose weight, but it’s not enough calories for most adults eating at maintenance, especially for adult men and overweight adults of either gender who likely need at least 2,000 calories even on a calorie-restricted diet.
You could eat four Hungryroot meals daily, but that will make your plan significantly more expensive.
Hungryroot’s Sustainability Initiatives
Hungryroot has taken significant steps to ensure that their packaging is fully sustainable, which we commend because this is logistically challenging for a national food delivery company.
Their packaging is made with cardboard and is fully recyclable, and even their ice packs are non-toxic and recyclable.
Hungryroot also donates excess food to food banks so none is wasted.
The company is far ahead of Freshly in regards to sustainability, as Freshly uses mostly plastic packaging. For this reason alone we recommend Hungryroot over Freshly. As a Benefit Corporation, we take corporate governance seriously and it’s great to see other companies with similar values.