Detailed reheating instructions
Multiple diets in one plan
Completely set menus
Flavors need improvement
Lots of plastic
Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating
Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating plans bring you fully prepared, nutrition-focused meals designed and supported by dietitians. Whether you choose a week or a weekend’s worth of food, Seattle Sutton has you covered for three meals a day with preset menus that change weekly.
We tested it over a weekend to find out if the meals would appeal, even without much of a say in what we ended up eating. Keep reading to find out if we thought this service was convenient or just constrained.
How It Works: Limited Choices, Rigid Menus
While the process of ordering is super simple, that’s mostly due to the fact that there are such limited choices. All you get to pick with Seattle Sutton is the calorie level you want, the number of meals, and when it arrives.
After creating an account with basic personal and delivery information, you’ll get down to selecting your plan. All meal plans are designed for one person and include a 1,200-calorie meal plan, a 1,500-calorie vegetarian meal plan, and a 2,000-calorie plan. Multiple types of nutrient needs are built into each plan, including heart-healthy, diabetic-friendly, and more.
Costs vary depending on which plan you choose, with the cost increasing alongside calories, though all are on the low-cost end compared to most delivery services we’ve tried.
Once you have your plan selected, you can choose how many meals you want, whether that’s a full week (21 meals), a full weekend (12 meals), or nine meals to get you through the weekend. You can’t opt-out of breakfast or customize meals at all, so be prepared to get what’s on the menu for the week.
Menus can be viewed up to several weeks in advance, so skip what you don’t want, but there is absolutely no meal selection or customization for preferences or allergies/intolerances, which we found highly unusual and unfortunate.
Meals arrive timed to the period you select, so if you order a weekend of meals, it will show up sometime Friday. You’ll choose your start week, then whether you want this as a one-time delivery, specific weeks only, or on a recurring basis. You can cancel or change this later too.
Meals arrive individually packaged and fully cooked, with detailed instructions for reheating the component parts. Seattle Sutton meals are fresh, not frozen, and need to be consumed within a few days.
Choosing Meals: You Don’t
For each Seattle Sutton delivery, the menus are completely pre-set. Customers only have the ability to choose which meal plan they want, how many days' worth of food they receive, and which weeks they want to receive meals. If a truly minimum effort is your thing, this could be a great choice, but we felt it very constricting.
You can view all menus up to four weeks in advance, which will show a full 21-meal (or seven-day) spread, but there’s really no selection. You’ll receive three meals a day no matter what, either for a full week, a “business week,” or a weekend. So, you could feasibly change your delivery to weekend only if you wanted to avoid the fish on Wednesday, but we wouldn’t exactly call this convenient.
What We Made
We opted for the weekend, 2,000-calorie traditional plan from Seattle Sutton and received three full days of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. We’re highlighting five of the entrees here:
- Thai red pepper bisque, edamame salad
- Chicken enchilada bake, corn salad
- Sloppy joe sliders, slaw, BBQ beans
- El pastor bowl
- Lemon picatta sole over linguini
Support Materials: On Request
In the delivery itself, you’ll receive a small reusable “Seattle Sutton” branded tote and a “getting started” brochure. However, there isn’t much else in the way of materials to help you make the most of the food.
On the other hand, there is a regularly updated blog on the website as well as a stellar team of dietitians to support you. Simply reach out with questions and you’ll get instructions, handouts, and whatever else you may need.
Packaging: Lots and Lots of Plastic
Seattle Sutton meals each arrive in a multi-compartment, black, plastic container with plastic film over the top. Within that, most meals also contain other, smaller rigid and flexible plastic containers for things like sauces and toppings. While this may be necessary in order to help individual meal components retain freshness or texture, it does amount to a fair amount of plastic. All the rigid plastics can be recycled, but the flexible plastics needed to be thrown out.
Inside the recyclable cardboard shipping box itself, there is also a plastic bag that the meals are placed in, as well as some bubble wrap, and an insulated plastic liner. There are also several ice packs, which can be drained and recycled if you have a place locally that takes these flexible plastics. However, for us, nearly all of this packaging had to go in the trash.
The Cooking Process
While Seattle Sutton’s meals are all heat and eat utilizing the microwave, the service does a very good job of providing instructions that maximize textures and even heating by having you heat elements separately. While this does generate a dish or two, you can actually enjoy an evenly heated meal, which is not always the case with microwave cooking.
All of the instructions are clear and easy to follow and although the print on the packaging is quite small, it can definitely be done by a beginner. Meals are ready in the allotted amount of time, which is usually under 5 minutes.
Flavor, Freshness, and Quality: Flavor Is Not the Focus
We realize that in creating a meal plan that fits a whole slew of nutrient restrictions, flavor may suffer, and this was one of the weaker points for Seattle Sutton. This service may have also been a bit hamstrung by the idea that customers cannot choose their own food, thus they may be stuck with foods they genuinely don’t enjoy. However, even with a relatively un-picky palate, we just didn’t love the food we received.
While none of the meals were bland exactly, we simply didn’t love the flavors overall. Comparable to other diet food companies, this eating experience was very food-as-fuel, which is not ideal.
In terms of freshness and quality, we did think that certain items fared better than others, with animal proteins tasting good and having good texture, and vegetables not ending up too soft. We also loved the use of whole grains and plant-based proteins in the Seattle Sutton meals, which not only work for dietary needs but also hold up quite well through cooking, shipping, and reheating. However, most of the premade salad sides were drenched in dressing, leaving them soggy and unappealing.
Overall, the menu we received was not the most diverse and certainly would not satisfy an adventurous palate, but didn’t feel it was too repetitive either. We saw a good mix of soups, salads, and sandwiches, as well as kinds of pasta and baked casserole-style dishes. Portion sizes didn’t feel teeny (though we did opt for the 2,000-calorie plan), and while the food itself didn’t necessarily appeal to us, we weren’t constantly hungry or just eating salad for days.
Nutritional Value: Multiple Diets in One
While some meal services have you select your particular diet, Seattle Sutton bakes multiple diets into all of its meal plans. All you have to do is select your calorie total, which aligns with how this meal kit operates overall.
Seattle Sutton meals are all considered heart-healthy, carbohydrate-controlled for diabetes, as well as low in sodium, saturated fats, added sugars, and cholesterol, no matter the calorie level you pick. Nutrition targets are based around scientific standards from the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines and groups like the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and DASH diet. Seattle Sutton is not about fads, but rather about the established evidence, so you won’t find anything paleo here.
Nutrition information, ingredients, and allergens for the meals themselves are not listed on the website or menu but are found on the packaging the meals are sent in and can be emailed on request by the nutrition team. In talking with the team, we also found that the menus and facility are shellfish-free, but do include all other allergens.
When we inquired about what someone who does not enjoy certain ingredients, like fish, for example, should do, we were given a list of “approved” substitutions that we could make on our own. While we would have preferred some customization for preferences or food allergies, we did like that at least this level of support was available.
Seattle Sutton Is Good For
Folks who want a zero-effort, calorie-focused plan that includes dietitian support may appreciate Seattle Sutton.
Seattle Sutton Is Not Good For
Anyone who wants even the most basic level of choice—whether for diet, ingredients, or flavors—may not find Seattle Sutton to be a good fit.
The menus are set, and while the nutrition team can email you a list of “flex calories” snack options for you to eat in addition to your plan, there’s nothing else available.
Customer Service: Staffed by Health Professionals
Seattle Sutton’s customer service support may have been one of the best elements of the program. While you can only reach out by email or by phone, we used both and got a very fast reply within minutes. In both cases, we were contacted by the right person to answer our question. Inquiries about food and diet are handled by dietitians, while questions related to deliveries and other nuts and bolts are handled by the customer service team.
While the teams can’t help you customize an order, they are friendly, helpful, and very quick about answering questions or resolving issues. We also loved that this may be the least expensive way to interact with a licensed nutrition professional we’ve seen—these services are almost never included with meal kit services, even those that claim to be health-focused.
Seattle Sutton’s customer service support may have been one of the best elements of the program.
We doubt they’ll give you specific diet-related advice, as that’s best handled by someone who can get your detailed medical history, but they certainly gave us a lot of resources and information to use, plus confidence in their level of expertise.
Making Changes and Canceling: Flexible Deadlines
As there’s not much to customize, there’s not much to change. You can update your settings online for things like canceling a recurring delivery or reach out to the team with questions or your needs.
If you want to cancel online, do so before 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday of the week prior to avoid the following week’s delivery. If you miss the deadline, reach out to customer service before 10 a.m. Friday CT of that same week and you should still be covered.
The Competition: Seattle Sutton vs. Epicured
Epicured and Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating both create meals designed for specialty diet considerations with the help of registered dietitians and other health experts, but these services cater to very different dietary needs and deliver a distinct product and experience.
Meals from Epicured are tailored to folks who are sensitive to certain types of fiber and gluten, while Seattle Sutton’s main focus area is calorie balance. Epicured also provides over 14 filters to choose from across dietary restrictions, one of which is a calorie maximum, while Seattle Sutton gives only calorie ranges and the ability to select a vegetarian plan.
These companies also differ in how much control the individual has in determining their actual food choices. While Seattle Sutton offers a set menu each week based on the calorie totals, there is no other input allowed from the user. While a set menu may work for some, Epicured’s a la carte style is a stark contrast. Order as much as you like from Epicured and change up your items as much as you like to meet your needs.
Neither service gave us total perfection in terms of flavor and texture, however, we did feel Epicured ultimately did better here. Seattle Sutton didn’t give us the freshness or the deliciousness we wanted, and while Epicured did have a few misses, it did have a few great hits as well.
Lastly, we did experience differences in customer service. For such strict diet-related services, we expected to see dietitians and healthcare professionals in the mix, not just in menu creation but also in customer outreach. With Epicured, we were a bit let down here but with Seattle Sutton, we had a great interaction with the registered dietitians on their team and received excellent and fast support.
Unfortunately for us, one size (or in this case, menu) does not fit all. We can see how this would be preferable to other calorie-controlled, heat-and-eat meal plans, but for us, it wasn’t a fit. We loved the level of support we got, but ultimately wanted more customization and better-tasting food.
We spent numerous hours looking through 48 meal delivery services’ websites, ordered meals and cooked them at home, photographed the process, spoke with customer service representatives from the companies, filled out detailed surveys about each company and their meals, and wrote in-depth reviews and comparison articles. Our expert panel includes dieticians, chefs, and longtime food writers. The one thing they all have in common is their love and knowledge of food.
The criteria we used to evaluate each company included:
- The ordering process
- Meal selection
- Packaging and support materials
- The cooking process
- The flavor, freshness, and quality of each meal and ingredient
- Nutritional information
- Customer service
- Product Name Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating
- Lowest Price per Serving $7.33
- Number of Diets Served 6
- Number of Recipes 25
- Delivery Area 48 states
- Serving Sizes Available 1