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Thistle is a meal delivery service that offers premade meals in the United States. The company’s primary focus is plant-based foods, but it also offers vegan plans and plans that include meat.

This article discusses the Thistle Food brand, how it works, and nutrition information. It also suggests some alternative brands and provides more information about plant-based diets.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tested any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.

Thistle launched in 2013. The company says its mission is to improve health and wellness for its customers while reducing its environmental footprint.

The brand claims that organic foods are its priority, and it uses organic ingredients wherever possible. All its meals are free from gluten and dairy, and they center around plant foods.

Thistle also claims it has a community approach and partners with local organizations and farms.

It says that it reduces its energy, water, and waste footprints as much as possible and even donates the byproducts from its meals and juices to farmers for composting.

Pros

  • nutritionists design all meals
  • meals are gluten- and dairy-free
  • a suitable option for people aiming to eat more plant-based meals
  • juice, snacks, and wellness shots available to those in Thistle’s local delivery zone, in addition to standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal delivery
  • supports local farms and looks for sustainable products
  • vegan meal plans available

Cons

  • meals are only customizable for individuals in Thistle’s local delivery zone — otherwise, people receive preset meals
  • organic ingredients are not guaranteed
  • more expensive than other meal delivery services, starting at $11.50 per meal
  • not available in all states
  • deliveries include single-use plastic
  • not all dietary restrictions supported

Thistle is a suitable option for anyone trying to eat more plants and produce, whether they are vegan or not — people can still choose an omnivore plan. It also supports anyone who is dairy- and gluten-free. The ingredient restrictions supported include soy, tree nuts, coconut, peanuts, fish, shellfish, and pork.

However, it may not be the best option for people with special diet restrictions and food allergies or those who prefer all organic ingredients. While the company prioritizes organic produce, it does not guarantee them.

Thistle has an average customer rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot. As of March 2022, around half of the reviews award the company 5 stars, and only 2% of the 609 reviews rate it 1 star.

Positive reviews discuss the food quality and the range of meals available. Negative reviews mention delivery issues, missing meals, and ingredients not tasting fresh. Some have complained about the company’s use of single-use plastic. All of the negative reviews around delivery issues are post-pandemic, which, while inconvenient, could be due to universal shipping complications at no fault of the company.

Thistle provides two different services depending on where a person lives.

Hand delivery

Thistle offers local hand delivery in certain areas and allows a person to completely customize their meals. This may be beneficial for those who want to accommodate allergies or substitutions.

Learn more about where Thistle Food offers local hand delivery here.

Shipping delivery

Thistle’s other delivery option is shipping, which it offers in select areas of the U.S.

Shipping customers cannot customize their plans and can only purchase fixed vegan or meat plans. Shipping does not cost extra.

Learn more about where Thistle Food offers shipping delivery here.

Menu

Thistle chefs create weekly menus that are all gluten- and dairy-free. The company provides breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, juices, and wellness shots.

Once a person signs up, they can choose the frequency of the delivery if they are within the local delivery area. Local delivery customers can also customize and swap their meals.

Meanwhile, shipping customers can receive a preset plan of six meals per week.

For local delivery, the company packages food into bags containing ice packs for freshness. It packs shipping deliveries in a refrigerated box.

Below is an example of a day’s meals in a Thistle package:

  • Breakfast: Steel-cut oats with strawberry rhubarb compote.
  • Lunch: Cherry, mint, and pistachio salad. Meat plan customers can add lemon pepper chicken, and vegan plan customers can add lemon and mint beluga lentils for extra protein.
  • Dinner: Korean veggie and rice noodles. Meat plan customers can add Togarashi ground chicken, and vegan plan customers can add Togarashi Adashah, a lentil-based product, for extra protein.
  • Snack: Peanut butter ganache bars.

Thistle’s website says that the company’s goal is to reconnect people to nature and real foods while providing the correct amounts of nutrients.

All of Thistle’s meals are plant-based, even the meat options. The company uses organic ingredients where possible, gluten-free plant protein rather than carbohydrates, plenty of superfoods, bold flavors, and no dairy.

Instead of dairy products, Thistle uses substitutes that contain healthy fats and provide a person with the right amount of energy and vitamins.

Thistle claims that its foods benefit a person’s health by providing:

The company claims that its lunches and dinners provide an average of 400–550 calories.

While Thistle’s meals do not contain gluten, the company does not currently have a gluten-free certification. It also does not recommend its products to those who have severe allergies to soy, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, shellfish, or pork.

Below are several alternative meal services that also use organic ingredients:

  • Sun Basket: This brand offers various plans to cater to different diets using organic products. One plan is a vegetarian package that includes many vegan meals. Learn more about Sun Basket here.
  • Green Chef: This company also makes its meals with organic ingredients and offers a plant-powered meal plan. Learn more about Green Chef here.
  • Fresh n’ Lean: This delivery service provides oven-heatable and microwavable organic meals. The company also donates any unused food to local charities.
  • Sakara: This organic, plant-based ready meal delivery service also provides beauty and wellness products. Customers can also buy detox and probiotic products.
CompanyPrice per mealDiets supportedOther features
Sun Basketstarts at $14.49 per servingpaleo, pescatarian, vegetarian, gluten-free, diabetes-friendly, Mediterranean, veganoffers ready-made meals and meal kits to cook at home, uses organic ingredients
Green Chef$12.99 per servingketo, paleo, plant-based, vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean certified organic company
Fresh n’ Leanstarts at $8 per mealketo, paleo, vegan, Whole 30offers a bulk delivery plan to help you stock up, can add snacks to your delivery
Sakarastarts at $28.90 per mealall meals are organic, plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and sugar-freesnacks and supplements available

Learn about the best vegan meal delivery services here.

Some research suggests that people following a plant-based diet may have lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and a lower body mass index (BMI). These diets may also have positive health effects on people with diabetes, obesity, or cardiovascular disease.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that plant-based diets can be healthy, be nutritionally adequate, and help protect against certain conditions — providing people plan them appropriately.

Although following a plant-based diet does not mean that a person has to give up meat, meat is not usually the main focus of a meal. It also likely means that people may eat less meat when following this diet.

According to the American Heart Association, eating less meat reduces the risk of:

One 2015 study investigated the effects of eating a plant-based diet during pregnancy. The researchers found various benefits, including reducing the risk of pregnancy-related issues, such as preeclampsia.

However, the researchers note that if a pregnant person’s plant-based diet is not well-balanced, they might develop deficiencies in minerals such as iron and vitamin B12. This could affect the health of the baby.

Are Thistle meals good for weight loss?

Thistle may help support weight loss goals if people use the company’s meals to replace higher calorie dishes. Additionally, Thistle creates what it calls “plant-forward” meals, and research has linked plant-based diets to weight loss. However, weight loss is also dependent on a person’s other meal and snack choices throughout the day as well as how active they are.

Are Thistle meals easy to cook?

Thistle meals arrive already cooked and ready-made. No cooking is required.

How many people will a Thistle meal feed?

Each meal contains one adult serving.

Thistle makes and delivers ready-made meals containing plant-based, organic ingredients directly to customers who live within its delivery areas. The company does not currently ship to all states.

The service allows customers to choose between a meat and a vegan package and customize or swap their meals if they live within the local delivery zone.

A person may also want to consider alternative companies to find the best service for their needs.