After a brief hiatus from eating meal plans (I wanted more flexibility for a couple of weeks) and reviewing meal plans (I just didn't want to write ... sorry, not sorry), I am back with a review of Nutrition Kitchen's new "veggie" meal plan.
For those of you that read my blog, you'll already know that I previously posted a guest review of Nutrition Kitchen conducted by my good friends the Hartmanns. Why a guest review? It's because Nutrition Kitchen only recently expanded upon their omnivorous meal plan to include those that don't eat meat or fish – long overdue in my opinion.
Once I heard they were releasing a "veggie" meal plan, I knew I had to order it and see how my experience faired against that of my guest reviewers, which was not overly positive. This review will be a little shorter and less in-depth than my other reviews since things like the user experience, packaging and costs remain roughly the same. To read about these things, read this.
Too lazy? Here's a brief recap
I previously rated Nutrition Kitchen high in some areas and low in others:
Meal variety ⭐️⭐️⭐️☆☆
Plan options ⭐️☆☆☆☆
Packaging & delivery ⭐️⭐️⭐️☆☆
Ease of use ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I felt that their operations were slick and the user experience was one of the best I'd had, but, sadly, they lacked practically any meal-plan customisation. The Hartmanns said that they would not order from Nutrition Kitchen again and would stick with their preferred meal-plan provider, FitThree. This was primarily due to the high cost (FitThree was S$4–6 cheaper per meal), the lack of flexibility and the overall worse food quality and service.
Now that I get to try Nutrition Kitchen myself, will I rate it higher than the Hartmanns? Let's find out.
Nutrition Kitchen now offers 4 different meal plans: low carb, muscle building (presumably higher protein meals), veggie and flexitarian (mostly vegetarian with some animal products every so often); you can choose to receive large or regular-sized meals.
Note: I think Nutrition Kitchen has taken a step backwards by removing the average calories per meal on the "personalise your plan" page – it makes it harder to decide which meal size to select to hit your goals. This would be OK if the calories and macros were displayed elsewhere on the website, but (at least when I recently used the website), this feature seemed to be broken (see below).
The subscription model remains the same (a weekly, fortnightly or monthly meal plan) as does the combination of meals you can order: breakfast and lunch, breakfast and dinner, lunch and dinner, or all 3 meals.
The cost of 1 week of large, veggie meals for lunch and dinner remains the same as before (S$198 including free delivery, S$19.80 per meal). However, Nutrition Kitchen now incentivises purchasing a meal-plan subscription to save time and money on orders. If you purchase a subscription, which can be skipped or cancelled at any time, you can save some money:
1-week subscription for S$182.66 (S$18.27 per meal including free delivery)
2-week subscription for S$346.86 (S$17.34 per meal including free delivery)
4-week subscription for S$625.73 (S$16.47 per meal including free delivery)
Meal selection and checkout remain the same, no changes there (it's still slick and easy to use).
Full-day calories and macros: 1,107kcal, P59, C130, F39
Palak Paneer with Curried Cauliflower (607kcal P26 C70 F25):
There was barely any flavour in this meal at all apart from the curried cauliflower, which at least had a little heat.
Everything was mushy and there weren’t any distinct textures.
I think smoked tofu (or something similar) would have been a better plant-based protein to add some texture and flavour.
It was good to see some spinach in the meal, which isn't something you commonly see in meal plans – it's such a great source of iron, which is often lacking in vegetarian diets.
Omnipork Mapo Tofu with Choi Sum (500kcal P33 C60 F14):
The meal was flavoursome but was very salty (too much for me); the salt didn't taste like a good-quality salt either.
I hadn't heard of Omnipork before, but have since learned that it is made from a blend of plant-based protein from non-GMO soy, peas, shiitake mushrooms and rice. It is primarily manufactured in Thailand or China and has the texture of ground meat with a salty flavour. I wasn't a huge fan of it, but that's just my preference.
I'd like to see more vegetables in the dish, even the amount of Choi Sum was sparing.
I was pleased with the amount of protein in both dishes relative to other meal plans (59g total).
Full-day calories and macros: 1,168kcal, P53, C141, F43
Impossible Beef Chipotle Chili (547kcal P31 C73 F14):
Good to see Impossible Beef in use – a product I've spoken about before and, while it is highly processed, isn't bad in my opinion.
Pleased to see the inclusion of more vegetables – the "salsa" of chopped vegetables tasted nice and fresh.
There was no heat or flavour from the chilli at all (I added my trusty hot sauce to give it at least some flavour).
The textures were generally boring and the vegetables were mushy and unappetising.
Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Tuscan Tomato Sauce (621kcal P22 C68 F29):
This was one of the best meals I received all week – it looked and tasted great.
The pasta was good quality and there was a nice bite to each piece of spaghetti.
The meal included lots of big chunky cuts of vegetables, which was satisfying.
The Tuscan tomato sauce was flavoursome and went well with the vegetables and spaghetti.
Full-day calories and macros: 1,026kcal, P39, C126, F43
Miso roasted eggplant (478kcal P10 C57 F23):
This meal tasted as good as it looked – not good at all.
I appreciate the number of vegetables in the meal, but it didn’t taste of miso at all and everything had a slimy texture.
The potatoes and carrot mix could have been a nice mash-type carbohydrate in the meal, but it had no flavour or texture.
10g of protein is extremely low and isn't made up for by the dinner, which totals a pitiful 39g of protein for the entire day.
Plant-based Chicken Coconut Green Curry (548kcal P29 C69 F20):
The mint-green colour did not look appetising but it tasted better than it looked.
The meal had a good number of vegetables with nice crunchy textures
The plant-based chicken was OK but was almost flavourless.
The green curry sauce was good and had both flavour and heat, but the meal needed twice as much of it to pair nicely with all the other ingredients. The sparing quantity of sauce made the meal dry and not as indulgent as it should have been.
Full-day calories and macros: 1,119kcal, P57, C134, F47
Zucchini and Turnip Fritters with Tzatziki (516kcal P16 C65 F28):
This meal looked great but sadly didn’t deliver on flavour – it was a real letdown.
Everything had a good texture but, again, there was barely any seasoning or flavour apart from the turnip.
I wish the fritters had a little more crunch like a rosti.
Makhani Coconut Plant-based chicken (603kcal P41 C69 F19):
A good amount of protein.
Perhaps the chef forgot to add a couple of ingredients because there was no coconut flavour in this meal.
After a couple of meals, I decided that I am not a fan of the plant-based chicken Nutrition Kitchen uses. It does have a meat-like texture, but it isn't at all succulent.
It was good to see a lot of green vegetables in the dish (broccoli, green beans and long beans).
Full-day calories and macros: 1,109kcal, P36, C129, F50
Channa Masala with Spiced Cauliflower (665kcal P20 C77 F31):
This was much better!
Both the cauliflower and masala had a good, strong spice flavour.
Fantastic to see different carbohydrates in the meal – the potatoes and chickpeas tasted great.
You cannot see it in the picture, but there was a bed of fresh-tasting green peas under there.
Mushroom and Butter Bean Ragu (444kcal P16 C52 F19):
Again, low protein macros for these meals (36g for the whole day).
Hooray for different carbohydrates again, this time it was a tasty polenta.
The butter bean ragu tasted OK but was flavourless and under-seasoned.
This meal left me hungry and didn’t satisfy me for very long before I had to grab a snack.
Full-week calories and macros: 5,529kcal, P244, C660, F222
Average daily calories and macros: 1,106kcal, P49, C132, F44
Let's cut straight to the chase, my overall impression of Nutrition Kitchen's new veggie menu is not bad but it is certainly not good. A couple of the meals were tasty, most of the meals were passable and a couple were bad. I would not order from them again and would not recommend them to a friend – it's just not worth the money.
I do not doubt that brand power alone will ensure the continued success of Nutrition Kitchen; I'm certain many will flock to order its new veggie plan regardless of whether they could be getting better food elsewhere. Nutrition Kitchen is marketing these new menus like crazy, but the truth is that many of the claims they make in their adverts simply do not match the quality of the product I received. Let's challenge some of those claims here:
especially if you are working towards specific fitness goals
"A sustainable long-term meal plan"
According to WorldData.info, the average male Singaporean weighs around 73kg. Research suggests that a moderately active male's daily allowance for protein is 0.8g per kg. Therefore, the average male Singaporean should try to consume 58–60g of protein per day. Nutrition Kitchen's average protein macro per day is 49g. Consistently consuming less protein than you should will have an impact over a prolonged period and is not sustainable, especially if you are working towards specific fitness goals
"Never sacrifice on flavour"
Look, I know flavour is subjective, but honestly (please trust me on this), the vast majority of the meals I received from Nutrition Kitchen had practically no seasoning or flavour. I've now tried enough meal plans to know that some companies deliver on flavour and some do not – Nutrition Kitchen did not.
"Personalise your plan"
Yes, you can pick a menu type, your meals, and the size and frequency of what you receive, but the personalisation of your meal plan stops there. Nutrition Kitchen is not going to customise your meal plan for any additional dietary or allergic restrictions. For example, I don't like coriander (cilantro) so I emailed Nutrition Kitchen to ask if it could be removed if it garnishes any of my meals. The reply I received was prompt and polite but was a hard no, "...as our kitchen cooks in bulk, we do not provide customisation such as removing any ingredients from meals." If you're looking for true customisation, look elsewhere.
Ratings ("veggie" update)
Meal variety ⭐️⭐️⭐️☆☆
Plan options ⭐️⭐️⭐️☆☆
Packaging & delivery ⭐️⭐️⭐️☆☆
Ease of use ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Next week, I will try a brand new food start-up in Singapore called Faba, which has released an exciting vegan menu. I have already met with the founders and their passion and energy excite me to try the meals they've lovingly created. In the meantime, If you'd like to keep up to date on the workouts I do and the meals I receive, you can follow me on Instagram.