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Founded in 2012 by childhood friends Danielle Duboise and Whitney Tingle, Sakara Life is a unique meal delivery service that focuses on wellness and nutritionally balanced meals. The service has grown in popularity and expanded rapidly in recent years thanks to its convenience of providing ready-made nutritious meals directly to your door. But the organic meal delivery service comes at a high price point. We tested a variety of Sakara Life's programs to thoroughly evaluate the offerings and determine if it's worth the price. Read on for our full review of the Sakara Life service, including the new Sakara Systems programs.
What is Sakara Life?
Sakara Life is a wellness-based organic meal delivery service that focuses on whole foods and plant-forward eating. The service sources high-quality fresh ingredients and aims to create nutrient-dense meals, all prepared by classically trained chefs and delivered ready-to-eat to your doorstep. All meals are 100% plant-based — free from dairy, meat and seafood — but the service does occasionally use honey and bee pollen. Although the meals are made without gluten, Sakara Life does not recommend their program for individuals with severe allergies due to the potential for cross-contamination from their suppliers.
By creating nutritious meals packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, Sakara Life aims to help balance, restore and heal the body so you can look and feel your absolute best, according to its website. Sakara Life bases its meals on nine pillars of nutrition, which include:
No calorie counting
Eat your water
Eat the rainbow
How does Sakara Life work?
Unlike other meal delivery services where you can select your meals or recipes, Sakara Life offers a variety of plans with pre-set menus ranging in length from two days to 60 days. The service has five targeted nutrition programs, which include its signature nutrition program and its new Sakara Systems. This new program is an extension of Sakara Life's offerings, providing more options for a personalized experience based on your individual health and wellness goals. Sakara Systems was created alongside a team of experts known as The Sakara Science Council which includes a panel of doctors and a registered dietitian. Every program offers a variety of support materials including booklets, supplements and more as well as access to Sakara Life's team of health coaches.
Our Sakara Life Review
Good Housekeeping Expert Tester Profile
Name: Stefani Sassos, M.S., R.D.N.
Role: Deputy Nutrition Director, Good Housekeeping Institute
Why you should trust me: In addition to being a registered dietitian, I'm a working mother and wife with a busy schedule. I'm constantly looking for time-saving solutions to eat a healthy, balanced diet and take care of my body. As the primary expert tester on this Sakara Life evaluation, I tested both the Signature Nutrition Program for five days and the Metabolism Reset Sakara System for four weeks. Not only does this review include my personal experience with the brand, but we also had five separate testers across the nation evaluate the service for even more real-life feedback.
Ordering and Pricing
Both I and our other testers found the ordering process to be simple and straightforward. You can compare the different programs on Sakara Life's website to determine the right fit for you. You also have the option to choose breakfasts, lunches and/or dinners so you can target which meals you tend to have the most difficulty preparing, which really came in handy.
The Signature Nutrition Program is great as an introduction to Sakara Life and gives you a nice overview of the service as a whole. The Sakara Systems definitely feel a bit more personalized, especially if you have a particular health or wellness goal that you are working towards. It was nice knowing that there was a panel of experts, including a registered dietitian, that developed the systems and that each system itself is backed by scientific research.
Some of the claims do feel a bit elaborate to draw you in, and good nutrition is an important part of the health equation but it is just one component. You'll want to make sure you're staying hydrated, exercising, getting adequate sleep and taking care of your emotional and mental health in order to complement the healthy foods the service sends you. One drawback is that the meals are pre-set, so you can't pick and choose dishes that you would prefer. While you can't select the meals that are part of your plan, you can get a sneak peek at the menu every week on the website. The cost is definitely more expensive than other services out there, but you are ultimately paying for convenience and best-in-class organic ingredients. It's also important to note that everything is designed only for one person, so if you're looking to feed a large family then this service isn't ideal for you.
Delivery, Packaging and Unboxing
Most testers had a positive experience in terms of delivery and shipping. My meals and products were all delivered neatly and came in sturdy containers that sometimes included little shelves inside them to keep certain ingredients separated so they didn't become soggy. There was also an insulated bag provided in the first box which made it easy to transport the food to work. I also liked that you could eat the food right out of the container if you were on the go.
Meals were delivered at appropriately cold temperatures and the ice packs were easy to recycle. "Everything arrived cold and stayed fresh the duration of the time that it was supposed to," a tester noted. "The delivery was well organized and the meals were fresh, flavorful and satisfying," another said.
One tester in New Jersey did note that her delivery box may have been tossed around in transit so the containers were thrown within the box, but she said that the food was still fresh and tasty. "Their packaging is very durable. Packaging wasn't punctured or smushed during the crazy travel," she added.
Even though the meals are plant-based, the testers and I found them balanced and satisfying. Some meals are more hearty than others, but every dish was incredibly tasty and included diverse flavor profiles. I shared the tacos with my husband who is a big carnivore and he was shocked to find out that they were jackfruit and not pulled meat. "I already have dietary restrictions and know how complex and often unsatisfying dairy-free and gluten-free eating can be, but I felt that all of those substitutions didn't take away from the meals," one tester said.
Even the four-week Sakara Systems menu felt varied. I was worried that the meals would get repetitive, but each week was unique and included diverse dishes. Salads are definitely a staple of the programs, but you'll also receive chilis, stews, grain and noodle bowls, flatbreads, quesadillas and more. My system even included healthier takes on favorites like cornbread, pancakes and plant-based grilled cheese which were all a pleasant surprise.
The convenience of having everything prepared was not only practical but also significantly reduced my stress level for the week. After working a full day and then coming home to take care of the baby and put her down to sleep, I didn't have to worry about preparing dinner since it was already in the fridge and ready to eat. I actually really looked forward to the meals since they were very original and packed with flavor.
I also physically felt good and strong during and after the four weeks, and it was interesting to have a break from meat-based meals and products while still feeling satiated and energetic. In my personal experience, I also saw an improvement in my skin health but don't think that the meals are necessarily a miracle cure. You'd likely find the same benefits by eating whole plant-based foods on your own, though without the convenience and meal creativity that the service offers. Certain items, like the $40 Beauty Water Drops won't magically transform your appearance, but the ingredients can certainly support overall health. "As someone who cooks nonstop, I was impressed with the combinations and creative ingredients," one tester said. "It was super easy as nothing required cooking. The meals were restaurant quality, delicious, healthy and satisfying," another noted.
The Supplements and Extras
Sakara Life offers a variety of supplements, snacks, teas and more to support each program. We tested the bars and granola which were both filling and tasty, as well as The Foundation supplement and a few other items. The supplement and extras vary based on the plan you choose, but according to Sakara Life's website, the supplements go through seven rounds of third-party testing for purity and potency and are manufactured at a facility that is FDA-regulated and cGMP and NSF certified.
The Foundation is Sakara Life's daily supplement pack and is a well-rounded addition to a few of the existing programs. The pack includes their food-based multivitamin, a calcium and magnesium supplement, plant-based omega-3 supplement, a blend of B vitamins and adaptogens, as well as a probiotic supplement. Sakara Life says that The Foundation has gone through seven rounds of testing (identification, physical, chemical, microbiological, gluten/allergen, pesticide/herbicide and stability) and adds that all raw materials have been tested to ensure they are authentic and free of any contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals and all finished supplements have been tested for purity and potency.
Informational Materials and Customer Service
The informational booklets were also useful and provided some background on the meals and why they were specifically designed for the particular program. Every meal has an ingredient or ingredients spotlighted for their potential health benefits. "I appreciated the information provided on the highlighted ingredient," one tester said. The booklet in the Sakara Systems box was very comprehensive and featured information on the science behind the program, as well as tips, recipes, motivational guidance and more.
Customer service is available Monday through Friday from 9 am - 6 pm EST. We reached out to them with several questions and received thorough responses the same day. When reaching out after business hours, someone got back to us the next day. They also have a detailed FAQ page and can be contacted via phone or email.
Sakara Life Pros and Cons
High-quality, fresh ingredients
All meals are plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free
Meals come fully prepared and ready-to-eat
Great flavor variety and innovative healthy dishes
Meals are pre-portioned for one
Plans range from two days to 60 days
Offers options for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Informational support materials
Nationwide shipping and availability
Sturdy recyclable containers
Menus are pre-set with limited modification options
Not ideal for large families
Sakara Life Plans and Pricing
Here's a more detailed breakdown of the different plans that Sakara Life offers. Pricing ranges based on the number of days and meals you select as well as your location.
Signature Nutrition Program ($185 - $440): A healthy eating plan with nutritionally designed breakfasts, lunches and/or dinners. Select from two to five days a week based on location. Includes Sakara detox tea, choice of medical-grade supplements and access to holistic health coaching.
The Metabolism Reset ($460 for 7 days, $1,610 for 30 days, $3,170 for 60 days): A program designed to support your metabolic health with meals featuring a variety of nutrients that can help boost energy and regulate hormone health. You'll receive nutritionally designed lunches and dinners, as well as a smoothie recipe to support your metabolism. Select from one-, four- or eight-week programs. Includes metabolism super powder + rechargeable electric frother, metabolism protein super bar, beauty water drops, the foundation daily supplement and the metabolism reset guide.
The Fresh Start Cleanse ($460 for 7 days, $1,730 for 30 days, $3,410 for 60 days): A plan that aims to support the body's natural detoxification process and replenish the body with vital nutrients through specially curated meals. The program includes nutritionally designed breakfasts and lunches, as well as their Signature Green Smoothie. Select from one-, four- or eight-week programs. Includes detox protein super bars, detox water drops, the foundation daily supplement, daily evening packs of magnesium and the fresh start cleanse guide.
The Gut Health Reboot ($595 for 7 days, $2,275 for 30 days, $4,500 for 60 days): A program free from common gastrointestinal irritants and packed with prebiotics and probiotics to support the gut microbiome. The system includes nutritionally designed breakfasts, lunches, dinners and Sakara Life's signature green smoothie. Select one-, four- or eight-week programs. Includes a complete probiotic formula, foundation daily supplement, detox protein super bars, beauty water drops, GI rebuild and repair supplement and the gut health reboot guide.
The Performance System ($575 for 7 days, $2,125 for 30 days, $4,200 for 60 days): Plan focusing on nutrient-dense meals curated for whole body health. The plethora of vitamins and minerals in these foods can help fight fatigue, support brain health and more. System features nutritionally designed breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Select from one, four or eight week programs. Includes energy protein super bars, organic protein + greens super powder, the foundation daily supplement, beauty water drops, daily evening packs of magnesium, and the performance system guide.
Limited Edition Programs
The 30-Day Reset ($1,230 - $1,320): A four-week nutrition program that is only offered three times a year in January, May and September. This plan includes nutritionally designed breakfasts, lunches and/or dinners from its Signature Nutrition Program, plus wellness essentials from Sakara including its organic protein and greens super powder, detox tea and complete probiotic. You can choose the number of days you would like to receive meals as well, either three or five days a week.
Level II Detox ($400 - $450): Created in partnership with a functional medicine doctor, this five-day whole-food cleanse includes daily support from a team of certified health coaches and five days of complete meals, smoothies, soups, broths and more.
The Bridal Program ($1,395 - $1,680): A four-week Signature Nutrition Program plus one month of unlimited access to Erika Bloom's movement and meditation practices. Includes Sakara beauty water and detox water drops, youth and beauty tea, beauty protein super bars and Furtuna Skin Cuore Collection discovery set.
Where does Sakara Life ship?
The service delivers its meals to all cities within the contiguous United States, and Sakara Life delivers all products to all 50 United States. You can view program options for your specific region here. Most orders are received between 4 and 10 business days after you place your order.
Meals arrive at your doorstep full-prepared and ready to eat. Since the ingredients are fresh and high-quality, the food should be eaten within a few days. Many meals can be eaten raw, but heating instructions are available for some meals as well. All dishes are labeled with a "Best By" date on the container.
Is Sakara Life packaging recyclable?
All Sakara Life packaging is made with post-consumer recycled materials and is 100% recyclable. Delivery boxes are insulated and include ice packs that keep the food at appropriate temperatures throughout delivery. You can recycle the ice packs with #4 plastics after cutting the plastic film and pouring the gel down your drain or in the trash. The meal containers themselves are BPA-free and phthalate-free.
Sakara Life Changes and Cancellation Policy
You can easily cancel your Sakara Life subscription under your account profile, but you will need to cancel before Wednesday at midnight EST to not receive meals for the following week. If you just want to take a short break, you can reactive your subscription by logging back into your account and finding the subscription to reactivate. You also cannot cancel the first week of your subscription but can skip any weeks after that under the "edit upcoming weeks" tab section in your account.
The menus are pre-set so you won't be able to make any major changes. That being said, you do have the ability to swap either two or three meals per week when on a subscription meal plan depending on the length of the program.
Final thoughts: Is Sakara Life worth the cost?
You're certainly paying a premium for a service like Sakara Life, and at such a high price point you may be wondering if the service is really worth it. The short answer is that the high-quality food and overall program are worthwhile to try if it makes sense with your budget, but they won't provide any
I had a fantastic experience with the service and was very impressed by the innovative meals and delicious flavor profiles. Everything was plant-based, gluten-free and dairy-free but still managed to feel inventive and delicious. The service also expanded my palate by introducing me to various international cuisine flavors that I hadn't tried before. Everything was seasoned perfectly and filled me up, too. Having the options ready-made was extremely convenient for me and my lifestyle. The Sakara Systems experience felt very curated and it was nice knowing that the meals all served a specific purpose towards a wellness goal.
I would definitely use the service again, though I would likely go for the two-day or five-day Signature Nutrition Program to help save time and reduce stress on my busiest days of the week. The one-week Sakara System plan is also something I'd do in the future for a week when I know I have a lot going on but still want to prioritize my health and nutrition. One tester had similar sentiments and said, "I've already ordered a couple of Sakara Life products while using the meal service and am super happy with them. I would definitely order the meals again if the circumstances were aligned. I was really happy with how I felt after five days of the meals."
Tester feedback was also largely positive across the board. "Overall my experience with Sakara Life was wonderful," a tester said. "I felt that the ingredients, flavors and overall variety of the meals were really lovely." Another tester said that the meals were all delicious and better than she thought they would be. "I looked forward to each meal and I was always full after the meals. I never once felt the urge to consume anything outside of the delivered foods because I was always satisfied."
If you're considering a trial with Sakara Life, we recommend the two-day Signature Nutrition Program as it's the most affordable program option and can help you determine whether or not the service will fit your nutritional needs.
How we test meal delivery services
To find the best meal delivery services, we recruited over 280 at-home testers along with our in-house product testing experts. Over the course of three months, we evaluated over 40 different meal delivery services, ranging from traditional kits that come with pre-measured ingredients and a follow-along recipe card to fully prepared options.
We made our selections based on expert evaluation and tester feedback, including overall satisfaction, food quality, cost, recycling efforts and availability. Our picks for the best prepared meal delivery services cater to a wide variety of special diets and dietary preferences including gluten-free, organic, vegetarian and more. We've also found that customization is important to many testers, so we took that into account. Although taste is subjective, we chose companies that scored high points overall with testers.
As a result of our testing, we believe the companies spotlighted above deserve recognition for their performance in their categories. That said, this is a fast-growing segment in the food industry and we're likely to see more new entrants emerging in the near future. We are always testing new offerings in this category to keep readers up-to-date. For more ready-to-eat options, check out our best prepared meal delivery services. If these choices are above your budget, check out our best affordable meal delivery services.
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