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When you’re trying to lose weight, meal times can be a challenge, especially dinner. You can easily spend lots of time trying to work out what you can actually eat. Then you have to buy and prepare the ingredients before spending more time cooking it.   Oh and of course, you also have to negotiate your way safely past the snacks and treats in-store, which are your downfall. No wonder it’s tough to stick to your eating plan day in and day out, and easier to grab takeout on those busy days.

One solution to this which is becoming more and more popular in the United States is to make use of meal delivery plans. There are certainly plenty on the market, ranging from boxes of healthy ingredients with a recipe to follow, to ready to heat meals catering to various diet plan needs. Considering that meal delivery plans generally cost more than buying food at the store to prepare yourself they need to be a good investment – which means being delicious, easy to work into your daily lifestyle, and something which helps the weight come off. So the burning question has to be – are they really worth a dieter’s cash?

Let’s look at some of the meal delivery plans which are trending and see what they have to offer.

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Prepared diet meal delivery plans

Sakara – plant based health food prepared meals
Expect delicious wholesome foods with lots of color and healthy qualities. These meals contain no gluten, meat, fish, dairy or eggs yet are still amazingly delish.  This is not a ‘diet’ plan as such, but the meals are naturally lower in calories than regular food. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all available, and the prices start at $80 for a 3-day trial plan or $125 for 5-days, plus delivery. Subscriptions are $69 a day for three meals.

Bistro MD – high protein prepared meals and snacks
This is a definite diet program, providing full days of food which total between 1,100 – 1,400 calories a day. Around half of these come from protein, around 30% from low-glycemic carbs, and the rest from healthy fats. The plans vary in cost from $130- $180 a week, plus shipping of $25, so this is not a cheap option. However, they also provides access to a free nutritionist and as they offer a balanced healthy diet they should trigger consistent weight loss.

Jenny Craig – the food lover’s diet delivery plan
If you like eating, but need to get things ready quickly this is a great program to try. Six meals and snacks a day are provided, all prepared by qualified chefs that care about delivering delicious, satisfying, but reduced calorie food. Budget around $20 a day for one person, and in return you get classic dishes like carbonara, burritos and lava cake. Long-term plans offer discounts, and with an average weight loss of 12 pounds a month there are plenty of satisfied customers. This diet plan is definitely worth the fee if you like comfort food as you won’t feel deprived.

Another one of the delivery plans is the South Beach Diet. They’ve proven to be very effective and you can learn more about it on Diet Dynamo within their south beach diet reviews.

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Ingredient based diet meal delivery plans

These are good for dieters who want to have a hand in the actual preparation of their food, and see what is going into a meal.

Blue Apron – a popular healthy meal box delivery concept
All recipes come with very simple instructions, and all the ingredients needed are weighed and measured already. This makes Blue Apron a good choice for healthy eaters who don’t want cupboards full of items they may cook with only once a year or so. The food is basically healthy versions of recognizable dishes like spaghetti bolognaise, which makes it great or less adventurous dieters. Two portion sized meal for three-day costs from $60 or so a time.

Green Chef – healthy eating kits for organic food fans
These meal kits are not promoted as being a weight loss aid but there are plenty of options which fit the bill, and all involve clean eating. There’s a low-carb KETO plan, while Paleo fans can feast on different recipes entirely. There are also boxes for pescatarians, omnivores, vegans, vegetarians and those on a gluten-free diet. Customers are free to pick and choose which they order, and the recipes change weekly.

Great for busy eco-conscious buyers who want to cook for themselves but also to eat clean, the packaging is environmentally friendly and all products are free of nasties like pesticides and growth hormones. Two serving portions for three meals cost around $60 and up.

Sun Basket – similar to Green Chef but with clear diet focus
Anyone with diabetic or on a restricted diet for any other reason will like Sun Basket. Each recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, and the ingredients are healthy, calorie conscious. There are good options for pretty much every type of diet too. A lot of thought has been put into designing health-giving recipes which are anything but boring.

The verdict

Diet meal delivery plans are worth the cost if:

  • You work long or unsocial hours and getting to the store is tricky.
  • You prefer not to have lots of food around, to avoid temptation.
  • The idea of not having to choose every meal is a relief.
  • You impulse buy junk when shopping in a store.
  • The food delivered fits with the diet plan you have chosen to follow (e.g. low fat, calorie counting, or high protein.)
  • You need help managing portion control.

However, they do need to be used sensibly. If someone is actively trying to lose weight then a healthy prepared meal or a box of healthy ingredients to cook dinner with could well be enough. So long as any other food consumed in a day is equally healthy.  People with a lot of weight to lose and little self-control may find the plans which provide prepared food for every meal are a better option.

Prepared meals of any kind will always seem expensive compared to home cooked food, but in many cases they almost pay for themselves once the costs of carry-outs, junk snacks and soft drinks are no longer an issue.




Gary Wilson

Gary Wilson

Gary Wilson works for EHI Primary Care and writes about a range of Health topics.


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