A few weeks ago, I noticed ads popping up on Facebook for a program called Splendid Spoon. Apparently, delicious vegan, gluten-free, GMO-free meals could be delivered to my door, ready to eat, with the tantalizing possibility of increasing my energy and decreasing the number on the scale. In the ads, a perfectly coiffed woman wearing a clean white shirt cradles a newborn against her shoulder, happily laughing with her friends as she lays a paper thin slice of radish atop a bowl of stylized soup. As a mom, I laughed. And then I placed an order because, well, I was curious.
How it Works
With the standard Splendid Spoon program, you get six days of meals: 5 partial days of meals and 1 full day of meals. On the partial days, you get a smoothie for breakfast and a bowl for lunch, and you are responsible for your own dinner. On the full day, the “soup cleanse” day, you get 4 drinkable soups/broths and 1 heartier bowl. No solids. It’s a calorie cutting program, pure and simple. The smoothies and bowls range in calories, but you’re probably looking at an average of 600 calories between breakfast and lunch on the partial days, and 1000 or so on the full day. Not an unlivable amount of calories, but it can definitely feel low if you’re working out regularly, have an active job, or are otherwise moving and grooving throughout the day. Spoiler alert: I did not make it through the soup cleanse.
Items are well-packed for shipping. Both my orders arrived on days when the temperature was over 90 degrees and even after sitting on the porch for several hours, the food was still cold. I initially side eyed the packaging as being bulky and excessive, but Splendid Spoon was a step ahead of this tree hugger: almost everything is recyclable in my area or is biodegradable. Nice work, Splendid Spoon!
The plan is $135 for the six days. You can get your first week for $110 using my referral link (note that in addition to you getting $25 off, use of this code also nets me $25 toward Splendid Spoon in the future). The price isn’t bad as meal deliveries go, especially since it is all pre-prepared. And if you like the grab-and-go convenience, plus the variety (always a big bonus for vegans/vegetarians), the price is worth it. With that said, you could definitely DIY a similar plan with ready-to-eat soups and smoothies from the store.
What I Liked
- Everything is vegan. As a vegetarian, I find it exciting when a program actually fits my dietary needs. Note that if you have a nut allergy, this plan is NOT for you. All smoothies contain nuts, although Splendid Spoon is researching nut-free options.
- If you’re worried about vegan food being bland or weird, fear not: the Splendid Spoon food is (mostly) pretty darn tasty! The Chickpea Harissa Tahini and Red Lentil Dal soups were particular favorites of mine.
- Variety. You eat a different combination every day of the program. The smoothies do repeat each week, but you are at least mixing it up day to day.
- Grab-and-go convenience. No prep, no mixing, just ready to eat food at your fingertips.
- Low sugar and low sodium recipes. You can feel pretty saintly consuming this stuff. I struggled to find store-bought alternatives that were as low in sodium and sugar.
- After two weeks on the plan, I was down 3 pounds. My weight had stagnated for a month before trying Splendid Spoon, despite regular intense workouts, so this was pretty great!
What Didn’t Work for Me
- Most of the smoothies come out over 300 calories for the bottle, as there are technically two servings in each 16 ounce bottle. Personal preference: if I’m going to have that amount of calories for breakfast, I’d rather eat them than drink them. The Strawberry Coconut smoothie, in particular, weighs in at 440 calories for the bottle, and the bland taste of that one is absolutely not worth the calories.
- I was hungry. A lot. See this insert below that talks about stopping when you feel a gentle pressure? Lies. On days when I had hard workouts in the morning, I was particularly ravenous come dinner. And by 7:00 at night on the day of the “soup cleanse,” I was lightheaded and had to cave and eat a protein bar. No amount of hippie mantras were going to alleviate the hangry.
- Do not try to make me eat Celery Plant soup as my breakfast, Splendid Spoon. I don’t care if it’s supposed to “cleanse” me. That is not breakfast.
- I continue to waver on how I feel about the price. It’s not bad, but it is just high enough to give me pause. I played around with some options from Trader Joe’s and local grocery stores and figured out how to cobble together a somewhat comparable program for less. Granted, the variety wasn’t what I got with Splendid Spoon – vegetarian and especially vegan options generally being more limited than meat-based options – and the sodium and sugar were higher, but I could make it work.
My feelings about the Splendid Spoon program are mixed, leaning positive. The food was generally quite good and with only a few exceptions, I enjoyed what I ate. However, I’m just not a liquid diet person, so getting through 2/3 of my meals without solid food wasn’t my cup of tea. Also, if you are very active, you’re probably going to find it hard to subsist on so few calories leading up to dinner. And the new mothers that are the targets of some their Facebook ads? No way could I have survived on a smoothie and a bowl of soup before dinner when nursing a new baby.
But at the end of the day, I definitely didn’t dislike the program. Yes, I was often hangry, but I liked most of the food and appreciated the control and convenience that the program gave me. Would I sign up for another round? Occasionally, yes, if I had a busy or stressful work week coming up and wanted to keep my eating under control. Would I recommend it to others? Yes, but with some background info on what they’re getting in to. Overall, if you’re on the fence and feel like the program could fit your needs and especially your lifestyle, I would say it’s worth a try.