What Happened When I Tried Methodology, a Gut Health-Boosting and Longevity Ingredient-Packed Meal Delivery Service
Cooking burnout is a real thing. If there’s anything the pandemic has taught me, it's that I'm sick of my own cooking (which is where Methodology comes in, but I'll get to that in a second). I started out ambitious—I tried out new recipes like #thestew (Alison Roman's Spiced Chickpea Stew that took the internet and our kitchens by storm a few years back), and even went through a long banana bread phase.
But then I quickly devolved into the habit of throwing some stuff on a plate and generously calling it a cheese board. After a long day of working from home, the last thing I wanted to do is spend more time working (cooking), at home. And don’t even get me started on doing dishes. Somehow there’s always a never ending pile of dirty plates and pans even though I live by myself.
That naturally brought me to meal delivery services, which seem like a good way to enjoy a home-cooked meal without doing any of the prep work, or having to drag out every pot and pan in the cabinet. But some of the food services, especially the prepared ones, can have a bit of an old school frozen TV dinner vibe. Methodology solves all the issues I have about cooking from scratch and dealing with meal delivery that feels a little too instant by being the perfect in-between. And not only is it convenient, but it also has unique, sustainable packaging. Oh. And it's delicious, too.
What is Methodology?
Methodology is a meal service that sends you super fresh ingredients prepped and pre-cooked, so that you only have to spend about five to seven minutes over the stove. Sure, you're still busting out that skillet, but your dinner tastes made-to-order. It has a weekly rotating menu of meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), as well as snacks and beverages. The meals have no gluten, dairy, or refined sugar. You’ll see ingredients like probiotics, adaptogens, and omega-3 fatty acids—and other nutritional superstars.
Methodology CEO and co-founder Julie Nguyen says they source the service's ingredients from all across California and globally. “We're grounded in the scientific finding that optimizing plant variety is the biggest contributor to gut health, so rather than focus on purely organic ingredients, we focus on incorporating the widest variety of plants as possible on the menu each week — far more than any customer could use cooking on their own.”
The food goes beyond science, too. “In developing Methodology I've learned how important it is to design a menu that will help people succeed long-term,” says Methodology co-founder Julie Nguyen. “This means the food needs to be tasty enough that customers genuinely look forward to eating every meal, yet healthy enough that they feel happier and more energetic. It's a very difficult balance to strike and it's one of the reasons why I felt compelled to start Methodology. It seemed like most other options were bland body-builder meals, or meals that were tasty, but not healthy enough for weight management, gut health, and fitness.”
And the recipes have global inspiration. Nguyen says they use various sources when designing the menus, particularly her “food research trips around the world to regions that are known for health and longevity, such as my trips to Okinawa, Japan and Ikaria, Greece. I love finding comforting, nourishing recipes that haven't hit menus in the states yet, and introducing them to our customers in a way that's familiar so it doesn't feel scary to try," and adds, "I live out of two suitcases and spend about six months a year abroad learning about food from other cultures.”
A major difference between Methodology and other meal delivery services is that most of their meals come in glass jars. Nguyen explains that they want customers to feel joyful when they open their fridges and see a rainbow of healthy food. The glass jars also keep food fresh, and are recyclable and reusable.
Meals start at $18 and can go up to $28, depending on what ingredients are included. All the meals are ready to eat or can be heated in a microwave or on a stove top in under five minutes.
Currently, Methodology delivers to cities in Northern and Southern California, including San Francisco, many parts of Los Angeles, and San Diego, with overnight delivery windows on Wednesdays and Sundays. Nguyen says they're launching shipping on the West Coast later this year, and also looking for an East Coast kitchen.
On the menu every week, you can filter between Most Popular or across different dietary preferences (Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Mediterranean, Pescatarian, Keto, Low Fat) as well as different cuisines (Asian, American, European, Latin/Spanish).
From there, your options vary on what and when you want to eat (and there are some general lifestyle products you can shop):
- Prepared Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Mix & Match: Kind of a create your own adventure with proteins, vegetable, starches, and sauces
- Bakery and Snacks: brownies, cookies, protein snacks, and vegan keto bread
- Drinks: Cold-pressed juices, tonics, almond milks, coffee mixes, and teas
- Grocery: Raw meats and seafood, sand pantry staples like seasonings, oils, and nut butters
- Lifestyle: Bowls, plates, utensils
If you are a visual eater, it’s hard not to love Methodology. The food is colorful and gorgeously packaged in glass cylinders, and opening the fridge looks like looking into some kind of Instagram dream. It definitely helps with inspiration when it comes to meal time, because you can literally see the ingredients in every meal before you make it. Each menu item also has a fun punny name like Feelin’ Peachy and Kale-El, which makes everything a little more fun.
And while all the glass jars are reusable, I soon found myself with extra glass jars and lids that I either had to store in my cabinet or recycle. The box and insulation are both recyclable, and the ice packs are re-freezable. In some regions, packaging pickup is available for recycling or disposal—Methodology will pick up rinsed glass jars, ice packs, and insulated liners in the cooler box originally delivered, one box per house per delivery.
Here’s what I ate in a week from Methodology:
- Pea Can Pie: Creamy French White Wine Vegetable Pot Pie in a Jar
- Mongolian Dynamite: Mongolian Ground Beef Rice Stir-Fry
- Kale-El: Ultimate Healing Chicken Noodle Soup
- Feelin’ Peachy!: Peaches & Cream Oat Parfait
- Go Berry Nuts Over You: Strawberry Goji Chia Pudding
- Lights Out: Lavender Valerian Root Almond Milk
- Double Trouble: Omega-3 Double Chocolate Flaxseed Cookies
Each recipe has a list of ingredients that you can actually pronounce, cooking instructions, what date you should eat it by, nutritional information, and dietary information (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian).
For items like breakfast or drinks, you can eat them straight out of the jar, saving you a bowl to wash. For the meals that required cooking, everything was pre-measured to make prep work efficient, but sometimes it was kind of hard to get all the ingredients out of the tall cylinders (chopsticks help).
In general, the meals were delicious, tasted fresh, and best of all, were so easy. In just the short amount of time I had in between video calls, I could make a hot meal that was way better than any sad desk salad. The Pea Can Pie and Mongolian Dynamite were filling and flavorful (shout out to the spicy house-made sriracha included in the latter, since I put hot sauce on almost everything I eat), and, as promised, chock full of veggies. Once I got the ingredients out of the jar, I only needed one pan to cook everything. The Kale-El was even faster to make (pour in broth, pour in other ingredients, garnish), and was great for lunch though I could imagine it wouldn’t be enough food for me for dinner.
The oats and parfait were perfect grab-and-go breakfast options. My mornings start with meetings at 6:30 or 7am, so my breakfast is usually a coffee and maybe a bar of some sort. Having something more substantial—and also so pretty to look at— was a great way to start the day. With protein, just the right amount of natural sweetness, and lion’s mane, the breakfast options were healthy and surprisingly filling, too.
The lavender milk had a subtle flavor and was sweetened with dates, and was great on its own or in coffee. And the chocolate cookies were ideal when inevitably, my afternoon sweet tooth kicked in and I wanted a snack that wouldn’t cause a sugar crash. The cookies were chocolatey, chewy, and satisfying, and you would never even guess they were plant-based.
If you’re someone who likes to cook meals, you might not like Methodology, or any meal delivery service for that matter. But for people who are busy or feeling uninspired in the kitchen, Methodology lets you have a healthy, plant-packed, creative meal with minimal effort. The clear jars, with all the fresh ingredients neatly layered, actually make you excited to try something new. My mealtime decision shifted from “Ugh, what am I going to cook” to “Ooh, what do I get to eat today?”
The menu items are interesting and adventurous without going overboard. You also get to try a variety of ingredients that you normally probably wouldn’t add to your shopping cart: In just a few days, in addition to a bevy of vegetables, I had lion’s mane powder, flaxseed meal, goji berry powder, chia seeds, lentil pasta, apple cider vinegar, Fresno chilis, and more.
The only cons are that it is relatively higher in price than some meal delivery services, currently only in California, and you can expect to start collecting some glass jars even if you only try it for a few days.
But if you’re time crunched and looking for a way to eat more plants in the most colorful way, Methodology is worth an add to your meal rotation.
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