Meal subscription services like Thistle and Splendid Spoon have become the hot topic of many health conversations. People looking for a foolproof and comfortable way of eating in a balanced and beneficial manner look for meal services to help them out.
Thistle and Splendid Spoon feature a wide variety of prepared meal kits plus tons of snacks, juices, and wellness shots. If you like to stay on top of your health goals and eat more frequently without consuming unhealthy foods, this is your chance.
You’re less likely to skip a meal after subscribing to a meal delivery service, and you have a clearer idea of how many calories you’re consuming daily. Plus, you get to eat a variety of different meals that you probably wouldn’t cook for yourself such as oat bowls, light soups, and flatbreads. Give your nutrition a boost of protein as some services also offer à la carte protein, which is both plant-based and meat.
In this article, I will provide a thorough evaluation and comparison of two very popular meal delivery services: Thistle and Splendid Spoon.
Clean Eating and Nutrition: Why Are Meal Delivery Services So Popular?
The two main things that most people look for in prepared meal delivery services like Thistle and Splendid Spoon and other healthy food services like Daily Harvest, Purple Carrot, Sakara, and Green Chef are a wide variety of meals and nutrition.
Will subscribing to a meal subscription service improve your health?
There is a direct link between eating healthy and boosting one’s health, including the mental aspect. Clean eating has many health benefits too. But what do we know about clean eating that can be linked with subscribing to healthy meal delivery services?
To start with, let’s look at the definition of clean eating. While clean eating promises a stronger immune system, weight loss, and high energy, starting such a diet can be overwhelming for people who don’t have the time to prioritize cooking.
Clean and healthy eating is when you eat meals without preservatives, GMOs, additives, and other refined and processed ingredients.
For some people on a meat-based diet, excluding protein, all the other ingredient in a meal is plant-based and unprocessed.
Vegans and vegetarians can easily practice clean eating with plant-based sources of protein like lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas, and tofu.
If you want to be more restrictive, you can also avoid gluten, dairy, and processed sugar completely in your meals. Services like Thistle and Splendid provide you with prepared meals with an interesting blend of diet preferences. This includes not only main lunch and dinner recipes but snacks and beverages like juices and wellness shots as well.
Clean eating, along with a balanced eating schedule that includes a healthy breakfast, light lunch, small snacks, and a satisfying dinner, is the top priority when it comes to subscribing to a new delivery service. Make sure you select a service that fits your diet needs and health goals.
How Do They Work?
Thistle and Splendid Spoon deliver prepared meals and snacks, so meals that require no prepping, assembly, chopping, and best of all, zero cooking are involved. While both Thistle and Splendid Spoon are similar, let’s understand how they work and deliver meals every week.
Let’s start with Thistle, shall we?
How Thistle works is very intuitive and straightforward. They have a flexible meal selection and delivery process in place for new customers and members.
They have two different menus for you based on where you live. The first menu is for the West Coast, which includes areas like Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The second menu is for the East Coast. You have to enter your zip code if you live in the East Coastal area to check if Thistle delivers to you or not.
The most attractive quality of all is that you can view Thistle’s menu before signing up. Select from a versatile blend of meals that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Snacks, drinks, wellness shots, and juices are priced separately, and they vary according to the delivery location.
To select a proper plan, pick between 3 and 6 days’ worth of meals. You can select different types of meals like breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and wellness shots. The minimum and preset value are 6 meals per week.
It’s very simple and cost-effective because Thistle allows you to save more money when you order more meals per week. And if you order right now, you will receive the weekly box by next week. The meals arrive all pre-prepped and pre-assembled, so all you have to do is store them in the fridge and take them out as and when you like.
The meals arrive on specific days depending on your local delivery area. Even if you’re not at home, the order will be safely placed at your doorstep, and you will be notified by text or email regarding the status of your order.
How Splendid Spoon works is personalized and methodical. You have to select a box size that suits the number of meals you want weekly, and the price varies according to the size. You do pay less when you add more meals to your box.
All the meals are high-quality plant-based, gluten-free, and non-GMO. You have different dishes to pick from such as noodles, soups, grain bowls, smoothies, and a few extras. The menu features a set of filters that you can use to personalize the dishes. The filters are different dietary needs, ingredients to exclude, and health benefits.
Just like it is with Thistle, Splendid Spoon gives you full access to the menu before signing up. The recipes come backed up with nutritional info, health benefits, ingredients, allergen info, and heating instructions. All the recipes have highlighted ingredients that make the dish extra special and nutritious.
Once you select the meals you want, which are anywhere from 7 to 21 meals per week, they will arrive at your doorstep within 7 days. You can skip deliveries, adjust the delivery date, and cancel your order at any time without facing any difficulty.
The meals are delivered chilled and are not frozen so they have a fresh and authentic quality. You can select when you want the meals to be delivered, either on a Wednesday or a Friday of every week.
In the account details, the cutoff time for each order is mentioned clearly. So, you can refer to the cutoff time to skip, edit, or cancel the order effectively. The packaging is durable and recyclable. Regarding the delivery of your order, you will receive timely updates on your registered email address, which makes things simpler especially when you have multiple orders.
Are They Allergy-Friendly or Not?
Thistle provides all necessary information about allergies and dietary preferences. The nutritionists who’ve created the menu understand that it’s never a “one-size-fits-all” narrative when it comes to planning meals for different lifestyles and diet plans. This includes main dishes like lunch and dinner as well as snacks and beverages.
All the meals provided by Thistle are made gluten-, dairy-, and egg-free. The meals may not contain these ingredients, but are they allergy-friendly? So, if you have a severe gluten allergy, can you savor Thistle’s meals and snacks?
Thistle tells you to avoid their meal subscription service if you have an allergy to gluten, eggs, dairy, nuts, soy, and pork. Even though they do not process gluten in their kitchen, they aren’t certified gluten-free, which raises doubts.
If you want to stay away from the ingredients as a lifestyle choice, you can indulge in Thistle meals as they are free of any gluten, dairy, and egg. You can select your dietary preference while making an account, and the menu available to you will be based on your personal choices. You can adjust and customize your preferences at any time.
To put it simply, Thistle does not accommodate allergies, but it is a great choice for different ingredient-based diet plans like gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free.
Moving on to Splendid Spoon, it is a bit more allergy-friendly but not completely. Allow me to explain. With Splendid Spoon, you can avoid specific ingredients so that your meals will be prepared without them.
You can easily select no bananas, beets, caffeine, cilantro, coconuts, mushroom, sesame, soy, tree nuts, and spicy ingredients. You can add or remove these ingredients at any time. Splendid Spoon also recommends substitute ingredients when applicable.
You can rate meals and like or dislike ingredients to add or remove them from the weekly menu. On top of that, all of Splendid Spoon’s ingredients are gluten-free and vegan. But are they ideal for people with severe allergies?
Splendid Spoon, just like Thistle, recommends you stay away from their meals if you have a severe gluten, soy, dairy, egg, or nut allergy. Though the meals are prepared without these common allergens, they are processed in the same kitchen, which may lead to cross-contamination and trigger your allergies if you have any.
For diet purposes, you can subscribe to gluten-free and vegan meals and make custom edits to the weekly menu, but Thistle does accommodate serious allergy conditions.
What’s the Cost Per Serving?
Thistle offers different prices based on what you order and the number of meals you order. The highest you will pay for their meals is the following:
- $18.77per serving for nonvegetarian lunch or dinner
- $14.99 per serving for a vegan lunch or dinner
- $14.4 per serving for breakfast items
Now, the price reduces per serving as you increase the number of meals in your plan, be it vegan, vegetarian, meat, or breakfast.
They also feature different snacks and juices that cost $60-$76 per week. You can select a minimum of 6 different juices and 3 wellness shots at a time.
If you add enough meals to your weekly box, you don’t have to pay for any shipping fee, which is great news!
Splendid Spoon uses a similar pricing plan, but I found it to be more flexible and varied than Thistle. You can order a minimum of 7 meals at a time for up to 28 meals per week.
- $9.99 for Smoothies
- $12.49 per serving for Soup & Grain Bowls
- $13.49 per serving for Noodles
- $13.49 per serving for Dishes
Extras include cold-pressed juices and wellness shots that cost $6.25 per bottle and $4.25 per wellness shot. You can add single items or order a bundle to save a few more dollars.
Again, just like Thistle, the more meals and snacks you add to your cart, the less you pay per serving. And you don’t have to pay the shipping fee if you order more than 10 meals each week. On minimum orders below 10 meals per week, there is a flat $12.99 shipping fee.
Are the Menus Versatile?
For every day of the week, except Sunday, they offer 4 different courses: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Every day is a new recipe for every time of the day, so there are no repetitions, and Thistle changes their menu every week.
The meals are varied starting with a fiber-rich breakfast followed by a light lunch – mostly salads that are light on the stomach and which reduce bloating.
Dinners are mostly on the heavier side with more protein, sufficient and low calories, and healthy fats and carbs. Pasta, curry bowls, baked dishes, and hearty veggie bowls are a part of the diet.
You are also granted a new snack item for every day of the week ranging from roasted veggie chips, peanut butter bars, energy bars, to muffins.
The juices are cold-pressed juices and wellness shots. The side menu includes a bunch of healthy ready-to-eat soups and salads.
The juices and wellness shots are my favorites as they add a personalized touch to the entire menu – healthy, plant-based juices that are perfect for detoxing and immune-boosting.
The wellness shots have different functions like boost, fight, glow, and nourish. They even have a probiotic wellness shot with lemon, apple, ginger, and orange. Both the juices and wellness shots are made of organic fruits and vegetables. They are also certified organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free.
Everything about Thistle’s menu is nutritious. The meals are rated and reviewed so you can see which is the most popular choice. You can also read about the recipe’s ingredient list and nutrition as well as swap from plant-based to meat if you want to.
Splendid Spoon has a main menu consisting of different subcategories or submenus for Dishes, Noodle Bowls, Soups, Grain Bowls, Smoothies, and Extras. Plus, they also feature menu filters that you can use to personalize the menus according to your preference. The filters consist of different dietary needs, ingredients, and benefits.
You can select meals that are specifically high in fiber and protein and low in calories, carbs, fat, sodium, and sugar.
All the meals served by Splendid Spoon are plant-based, gluten-free, and non-GMO. You can also choose to avoid specific ingredients like bananas, beet, caffeine, cilantro, coconut, mushroom, sesame, soy, spicy ingredients, and tree nuts. Meal customization is fast and user-friendly with Splendid Spoon.
You can apply all these filters to the Dishes, Noodle Bowls, Soup, Grain Bowls, Smoothies, and Extras menu. All the meals are premade, and you have over 40 different recipes to pick from every week.
Splendid Spoon has a good mix of home-inspired and gourmet meal options. For a vegan and plant-based meal delivery service, it’s very versatile with plenty of delicious meal recipes. So, you won’t run out of recipes to try each week, even though it is a vegan meal delivery service.
The highlight of the menu is that you can read the full ingredient info, nutritional info, and dietary specifications of the recipes. You don’t need to sign up or second-guess the nutrition profile of the meals.
Are the Meals Nutritionally Balanced?
Both Thistle and Splendid Spoon are healthy and nutritious meal subscription services. They are healthy in their unique and personalized ways.
Thistle, for example, has an effective plant-based meal plan. Even meat-inspired recipes contain more plant-based ingredients with meat protein, focusing on more protein and healthy carbs. Some of the ingredients used in the recipes are organic, but they are subject to availability.
Since the meals are gluten-free, they contain fewer unhealthy carbs and improve immune-boosting and nourishing the body.
Just like the meals are gluten-free, they are free from dairy, which means that traditional carb and fat-heavy ingredients are replaced by fiber- and protein-rich plant-based sources.
Thistle’s nutrition palate is proven effective at boosting health and overall well-being. The meals have more fiber, less salt, and are rich in healthy fats that are good for energy. Foods low in artificial sugar and naturally sweet like coconut milk, dates, cocoa beans, fruits, nuts, and prunes are used.
The caloric value of most of their meals falls between 400 and 500 calories per serving, which is good for weight loss and management.
Splendid Spoon focuses more on health benefits, and you can see that by the level of meal customization they offer. You can select different diets, ingredients, and health benefits while selecting your meals.
The meals have balanced calories and more proteins. The fat content is also more balanced and limited to avoid excessive fats in meals.
All the meals are gluten-free, plant-based, and non-GMO, but you can also select the following diet categories to filter the menu with. You can select meals with higher fiber, higher protein, lower calorie, lower carb, lower fats, lower sodium, and lower sodium.
There is a separate filter for meals that are blood sugar-friendly. You can easily filter the Dishes menu, Noodle Bowls, Soup & Grain Bowls, and Smoothies with this health benefit.
How Fast Can I Heat the Meals?
Thistle serves food that can be eaten cold, but at the same time, you can heat them if you like. The heating instructions for the stovetop and microwave are mentioned. The time to do so takes less than 3 minutes.
The breakfast items have to be heated in a toaster oven by taking the paper lining and plastic film off and baking them for up to 3 minutes.
You can also freeze the meals if you want them to last for weeks, not days. You can free most of the meals offered by Thistle, except for salads. If you freeze a salad and then keep it out to thaw, it becomes mushy and loses its rich and crunchy texture.
Splendid Spoon’s cooking process is the simplest and quickest. You can reheat all the meals on the stovetop or in a microwave. The decision to do so is entirely yours. Splendid Spoon does provide heating instructions for both.
In my personal experience, when you heat a meal on the stovetop, it gives better results in texture and taste than a microwave. But if you don’t have the time, you can easily savor a meal after heating it in the microwave. There is no difference in taste.
Smoothies are stored in containers that you can easily drink from too. For the best flavor and texture, blend the smoothie once before drinking it. The meal prep is minimum.
Overall, I did not find any inadequacy in the way the meals are delivered and need to be heated. The cleanup after heating is minimal, and the ingredients heat up very well without too much moisture or any loss of freshness.
How Dependable and Sustainable Is the Packaging?
Thistle uses packaging that’s 100% recyclable, even the smaller items like the thermal cooler bags the meals are packed with to keep fresh are recyclable.
You can empty the plastic containers and wash them to reuse in your pantry to save plastic wastage. But even if you want to get rid of them, they are eligible for recycling.
One tip on how to recycle plastic packaging properly is to rinse the plastic containers before recycling. It’s best to get rid of any liquid or dry residue from the plastic containers before recycling.
You can also reuse the Thistle bags or return them, including the ice packs, during future deliveries. Thistle collects ice packs to save plastic and excessive use. You can either physically hand the delivery person all the packaging or leave it outside your doorstep so that Thistle’s delivery driver can pick them up while dropping off an order.
The plastics are BPA-free. Some of the packagings like the taco kits and containers that store dinner stews are dishwasher- and microwave-safe. It’s of big help because you don’t have to use extra bowls or plates to reheat the food. You don’t even have to scrub the containers by hand. Just dish-wash them before recycling to get rid of any food residue or odor.
Splendid Spoon also delivers food in sustainable packaging that’s 100% recyclable. They use eco-friendly containers, bowls, bottles, boxes, and insulation like ClimaCell.
The meals will arrive in BPA-free PET plastic containers, so you can easily take them out and store the meals as is in the fridge or freezer. The meals will be packed alongside dry ice, so make sure the dry ice evaporates completely before you put the meals away.
Once the containers have been emptied, you can take them out to a recycling bin for curbside pickup or drop them off at a recycling facility close to your home. All the plastic bowls and bottles are labeled to ensure smooth and quick recycling.
The bowl containers have a tight and secure lid, which means you can reuse them easily for any pantry use. Just make sure you wash the inside of the container thoroughly well and leave the containers out to dry for a few hours before reusing them.
Top Recipes to Look Forward To
The beauty is in the details. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of some of the best meals provided by Thistle and Splendid Spoon.
Thistle offers a new breakfast item every day for 6 days starting from Monday to Saturday. Meanwhile, Splendid Spoon does not have a breakfast menu.
|Tahini-Java Smoothie Bowl||Passion Fruit Colada Smoothie with Toasted Coconut|
|Calories||370 kcal||320 kcal|
|Fat||16 g||14 g|
|Total Carbs||49 g||43 g|
|Fiber||6 g||11 g|
|Protein||11 g||10 g|
Thistle and Splendid Spoon offer incredible meal recipes for lunch. Though Thistle offers a single light lunch for every day’s menu, there’s no option to select a different lunch like Splendid Spoon.
|Banh Mi Salad Bowl||Coconut Curry Rice Bowl|
|Calories||410 kcal||220 kcal|
|Fat||16 g||10 g|
|Total Carbs||51 g||27 g|
|Fiber||11 g||5 g|
|Protein||24 g||7 g|
The Dinner recipes are more filling than lunch. With Thistle, you have a new dinner recipe every day of the week, except Sundays. With Splendid Spoon, you can select from a variety of different satisfying meal recipes like their main course dishes, soups, noodle bowls, and grain bowls.
|Red Thai Curry||Falafel Dish with Creamy Hummus & Tabouli|
|Calories||550 kcal||430 kcal|
|Fat||26 g||22 g|
|Total Carbs||59 g||49 g|
|Fiber||11 g||9 g|
|Protein||26 g||13 g|
Smoothies and Juices
Compared with Thistle, Splendid Spoon offers a wider variety of juices and smoothies. All are made from whole foods, are plant-based, are without gluten, and have no added sugars and no preservatives.
|Intense Greens Juice||Hidden Greens Smoothie|
|Calories||50 kcal||230 kcal|
|Fat||0.5 g||14 g|
|Total Carbs||10 g||20 g|
|Fiber||0.5 g||6 g|
|Protein||3 g||8 g|
Wellness shots are nutrient-focused and science-backed drinks comprising the power of fruits and vegetables. You can drink these before or after a workout and take these to curb hunger pangs.
|Boost Shot||Recovery Shot|
|Ingredients||Orange, apple cider vinegar, ginger, and cayenne powder||Watermelon, beets, cherries|
|Calories||15 kcal||25 kcal|
|Total Carbs||3 g||6 g|
Thistle and Splendid Spoon deliver no-prep soups in unique and interesting flavors. The soups are delicious, fiber-rich, and make for a quick weeknight dinner for the entire family!
|Thai Carrot Squash Soup||Lentil and Kale Soup|
|Total Carbs||–||18 g|
Thistle Pros and Cons
|Lots of meal recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.||Not for people with severe allergies.|
|The meals are vegan and omnivore-friendly.||You will receive preset meals, with no customization option.|
|It does accommodate a gluten- and dairy-free diet plan.||It is an expensive meal delivery service.|
|Some of the ingredients are organic.||It does not support special diets like paleo, keto, and the Mediterranean.|
|Packaging is recyclable with reusable containers.|
|Juices, snacks, and wellness shots are super-healthy and delicious.|
|A good option for a balanced diet preference with plant- and meat-based meals.|
Splendid Spoon Pros and Cons
|Fully prepared meals with over 50 plant-based meal recipes.||The meal portion is not very satisfying.|
|All the meals are vegan and gluten-free.||Some of the recipes may taste dull or bland.|
|Healthy and weight loss-friendly nutrition value.||The cost per serving is expensive compared to other meal delivery services.|
|The meals take less than 5 minutes to heat.||Not for people with severe food allergies.|
|An interesting variety of juices and wellness shots are included.|
|Many high-protein meals with plant-based protein.|
|Easy and convenient to subscribe to.|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Thistle and Splendid Spoon Meal Delivery
1. Where Do They Deliver?
Thistle’s menu is customized according to the East and West coasts. So, they deliver to most local areas in the United States, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Sacramento, North Bay, Davis, and parts of California, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Washington, and Utah.
To check whether your local area is eligible for delivery or not, you will have to take some time to contact their customer care service. Provide them with your area’s zip code, and they will respond to you right away regarding their eligible delivery zones.
You will receive a text message on your phone when the order is out for delivery. In case you’re not at home to receive the delivery, the parcel will be left at your doorstep safe and sound.
Splendid Spoon delivers to all the lower 48 states in the USA. Plus, they ship to business addresses aside from residences. So, if you want to receive your order during working hours at your office address, you can do so easily with Thistle.
For deliveries, Splendid Spoon has partnered with services like FedEx, Ontrac, and CDL. So, you will receive timely updates regarding the shipment of your order.
According to their very helpful FAQs page, they deliver on either Wednesday or Friday depending on the delivery location. The delivery window is between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. for office deliveries and between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. for home deliveries.
2. Can I Customize or Edit the Orders Before Delivery?
Thistle lets you customize your upcoming deliveries before the cutoff time, which is every Thursday before 11:59 pm PST. You won’t be charged for editing your order before the cutoff time.
For next week’s order, you will have to make the edits the Thursday before the delivery week. This applies to all orders, regardless of size.
You don’t have to contact customer care to make changes to your order. Thistle has different settings for managing deliveries easily. Once you log in, you can easily select the Customer This Delivery option on the order page. It’s quick and accurate.
You can increase and decrease any number of meals, change your delivery address, reschedule the order, or cancel it if you want.
Skipping a delivery is also possible without any extra charges. If you’re not sure about an order, you can even pause full weeks from your meal plan, which is a safer option than canceling the meals altogether. You can resume any time you want without losing your meal order.
Splendid Spoon’s meal customization and meal selection process couldn’t get any simpler. It tells you how much time you have before the order is out for delivery and cannot be customized anymore.
Just click on the order you want to edit, and you can easily modify the meals at your convenience. You can even switch between the types of meals easily. Skipping deliveries, un-skipping deliveries, pausing, and rescheduling are all possible.
You can even cancel orders from your account settings without paying a fee.
3. Who Are They Good for?
Thistle is more appealing to people who appreciate everything packed and ready. So, all they have to do is heat the meal and savor the delicious flavors – nothing more. If you’re on a busy schedule, Thistle can simplify how healthily you eat every day of the week.
Because their meal plan includes one breakfast item, a light lunch, a filling dinner, and a small snack, it takes care of everything that your body needs to stay active and healthy.
It’s a great choice as well for people who crave a 100% plant-based diet with swappable proteins. Thistle has fewer meal customization benefits, but it works in favor of people who don’t want to complicate their meal selection process. It’s fast and straightforward.
On the other hand, if you crave more variety, Splendid Spoon is the better pick for you. It accommodates different meal plans starting with different types of cuisines like grain bowls, soups, noodles, and curries. Plus, it has plenty of smoothies, juices, and wellness shots to go with it.
If you like to try new things while also keeping in mind your dietary needs, Splendid Spoon lets you select different meals every day without running out of options.
4. Who Are They Not Good For?
If you follow a strict diet like paleo, keto, Mediterranean, low carb, etc., Thistle may not be for you. Their meals are nutritionally balanced but do not follow any of these diets.
Thistle also does not accommodate allergies to gluten, dairy, nuts, and soy. Their meals are gluten- and dairy-free and even have organic ingredients, but they are still processed in gluten and dairy facilities. The risk of cross-contamination is very possible.
Another reason why Thistle may not be for you is that their meals are quite expensive, so it’s not suitable for people who want to pay less for meals every week.
Splendid Spoon offers plenty of interesting flavors and combinations. But for some people, the portion size of some of their meals may be too small.
They have several filters for including more meals with protein, fiber, and a healthy balance of nutrients, but for specific diet plans like keto, paleo, Mediterranean, Splendid Spoon is not suitable.
Their meals are also processed alongside gluten, soy, dairy, and other common allergens. So, it’s not an allergy-friendly meal delivery service either.
Splendid Spoon’s meals cost between $9 and $14 per serving, which may be too expensive for some people, especially since there are meal services like EveryPlate that cost $5 per serving.
Meal subscription services like Thistle and Splendid Spoon simplify your health goals tremendously by offering you so many different meal plans with dietary restrictions. They encourage healthy eating habits with quality ingredients like superfoods, turmeric, whole grains, quinoa, sweet potato, chia seeds, and many excellent sources of nutrition.
Starting with breakfast to dinner, you can select which meals you want to eat from a wide variety of recipes boasting more proteins, fewer carbs, no unhealthy fats, and sufficient calories.
Each meal is GMO-free, preservative-free, and sourced from local farms and suppliers. They also feature several healthy juices and wellness shots in interesting flavors, all made from natural fruits and vegetables without artificial sugars.
The best time to invest in a nutritious meal delivery service is right now. And services like Thistle and Splendid Spoon are, in their unique ways, great examples of what a health-conscious meal subscription service can do.