Eat to look good and feel even better? Well that’s a bright idea I couldn’t resist putting to the test when the new healthy meal delivery service Eat Sunny offered to send me a week of meals to try!
The service, which currently delivers to Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Hamptons, offers two plans (each with three meals and a snack per day): vegetarian and “flexitarian,” which combines plant-based eating with some lean animal protein. I signed up for veg, as I currently eat about 80% plant-based and am looking for inventive ways to cut out meat.
Full disclosure: At first, I jumped at the chance to take a break from the constant cooking I’ve been doing in lockdown, but each dish proved to be beyond my expectations and more wildly delicious than the next. My first breakfast was a gluten-free Sweet Potato Oat Waffle, which came with strawberries and a confetti of goji berries. Other faves include the Spinach and Sunchoke Salad, Loaded Scrambled Eggs (think kale, zucchini, mushrooms, basil and avo with perfectly cooked egg whites), a bountiful Cauliflower “Fried” Rice with Tofu and a dinner simply labelled Spaghetti Squash with Sauce that was studded with eggplant, seriously spiced with red chilis and contained a bit of sesame butter for texture as well as nutrients which has me rethinking my Carbone spicy rigatoni addiction.
Interestingly, the dishes, which come in plentiful portions, also contain boosters like keratin (known to spur stronger hair and nail growth), adaptogens like maca meant to balance hormones and pearl powder to encourage glowing skin. Ingredients are noted on each dish, and the nutritional and beauty benefits are clearly explained. What’s not listed? Calories.
I throw a bunch of these supplement powders into my usual morning smoothies, but a funny thing happened as my week of consuming only Eat Sunny continued: I felt less bloated and had zero of my typical acid reflux. So, I leaned in to my vegetarian diet and took a deep dive into the hows and whys of Eat Sunny.
Brand co-founder and CEO Tatiana Boncompagni is a longtime friend and fellow beauty writer and editor. She has a history of expertise in covering wellness and is even a certified personal trainer and holistic health coach. She sat down with me to chat about her new baby.
Us Weekly: How does this meal plan differ from others out there, like, say, Sakara?
Boncompagni: I love this question, because I truly believe that we are different than other meal delivery services out there. First, we are the first body-positive meal delivery service. We don’t believe in dieting or that you have to look a certain way to be an “Eat Sunny” customer. Second, our organic meals are made to be satisfying. We do that by balancing the carbs, proteins and fats — following the principles of the Mediterranean diet, which is loaded with high-antioxidant vegetables — and using slow-digesting ingredients like fiber-full whole grains, lean animal and plant-based proteins and unsaturated, Omega-3-rich fats. Third, we are not vegan or just vegetarian but offer a flexitarian plan for those who feel best when they are eating a little protein. And last, we spoon in the superfood, anti-inflammatory powders and spices — collagen, biotin, pearl, maca, turmeric, cinnamon, spirulina, amla berry — so you don’t have to take them separately. The idea is that we are showing you a way to eat that’s sustainable (not a crash diet) so whether you are ordering from us regularly or taking away what we teach you — you can maintain this nutritional approach for the long-term, because health is habit.
Us Weekly: As a fitness and wellness lifestyle expert, how do you think food plays a role in daily life?
Boncompagni: If you are trying to get healthier the easiest and fastest way to improve your wellbeing is through food. As a personal trainer and holistic health coach, the one thing I say to my clients to help them differentiate between what a change in diet vs new exercise program to do for them is this: “What is on your plate determines your dress size, what you do in the gym determines how good you look in that dress.” I believe bodies can be beautiful at any size and shape, but if you want to change your shape, you can do that through exercise, but if you want to change your size, you should focus on your nutrition.
I really created Eat Sunny for people who are having difficulty kickstarting healthy habits — either because they don’t know how to get started or because they don’t have time to cook or simply don’t enjoy it. My mission is to make it easier to hit your wellness goals — to feed your confidence, make life easier, enhance your immunity (which is so important right now) and your natural beauty.
Us Weekly: Is there a reason why you chose not to include calorie counts?
Boncompagni: We decided not to include calorie counts on the meals because we don’t want our customers to think about calories, and more specifically, restriction or diet. Diets don’t work and a lot of them fuel the negative self-talk a lot of us in engage in when we eat, so we can’t even be fully present and take the pleasure from our food that we should. We want our consumer to focus, instead, on the wonderful nutrition they are giving their bodies, that they are honoring themselves with, and how great the food tastes. That said, it’s a completely legitimate question as correct portioning is very important to feeling and looking our best — so we make the meals so that they fall around 400 calories each, some are a little more, some a little less. None are over 500 calories. The total calorie count of a given day of food is give or take 1400 calories.
So how did it measure up? At the end of my five days of indulging in Eat Sunny, I can honestly say that I felt fully satisfied from every meal — there was only one dish that was a clunker for me, but I must admit that with my own cooking during self-isolation, there have been more than one recipe each week that fell flat! As for the glowing skin and boosted immunity, as with all supplements, I’d need longer to evaluate effects, but as one who chews gummy supplements for dessert, I’m all for healthy additions.
Scroll through to see some of my favorite meals, and check out more about Eat Sunny, including meal plans, delivery schedules and costs here!