Do you ever wish someone would just make your meals for you? Maybe you hate cooking, or often don't have the time. You may buy frozen meals at times, but find they have too many carbs or ingredients you're trying to avoid.
It also turns out that there is research that shows that some people are more apt to be successful on a diet when the food is prepared for them. Some companies and diet plans, such as Jenny Craig, have stepped in to provide food to dieters. However, most of these plans are relatively high in carbohydrate, so aren't suitable for people who do better when carbohydrate in their diet is kept lower.
Fresh Food Delivered
Diet-to-Go is a company that provides meals in three categories (low-fat, low-fat vegetarian, and low-carb) to people on weight-loss diets. The food is available in some areas for pickup (Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and San Francisco Bay area, and there are quite a large number of pickup locations in each of these areas, including suburbs) but otherwise is delivered fresh by FedEx or UPS to people's homes or offices. There is a choice of getting food for either 5 or 7 days per week, and either three meals per day, or just lunch and dinner. The cost is about $21 per day for two meals or $23.50 for three meals, plus delivery charges ($19 per week for mail; $5 for pickup). The food comes in plastic trays, and is fresh (not frozen - although you can pop them in your own freezer) and made with whole foods. In the three days of foods I tried there was only one ingredient that had "chemical-sounding" components, which were flavor enhancers in some chicken broth which was part of a sauce.
The meals rotate in a five-week rotation, so meals do not repeat more often than that.
But How Do the Meals Taste?
When the company asked if I'd like to have some of their food to try, I warned them that I was skeptical. In our home we almost always eat food we cook ourselves, and I'm not a fan of most packaged meals (e.g. frozen meals from the supermarket). In short, I did not think I would like the food. But I will admit that I was quite surprised. Although the meals were variable, most of them were good to very good, and one (the Chimichurra Salmon) was excellent. Notably, the meals did not have the "artificial" taste of many packaged meals. Of course, any one dish is not going to be seasoned to everyone's taste, and I did find myself reaching for the hot sauce a couple of times.
Customization May be Necessary
There are a couple of areas where you may need to customize if you decide to try Diets-to-Go.
1) Although the days average out to 30 grams of net carbohydrate, at least one day is quite a bit more, owing to a dinner (day four on week five - the Wasabi Catfish with pea puree) which is 31 grams all on its own. If this (or any other meal) turns out to be a problem for you, you can make a substitution by doubling up on another meal from that week. (Also, if you have food sensitivities, you can make a special request when you first sign up.)
2) The daily food allotment is low in calories (1300 calories per day). In a couple of meals this was made even lower when a portion of the calories are in a sauce which there was too much of for my taste. I was told that it is expected that people add their own snacks, but care will need to be taken to stay within your carb allotment for the day when adding snacks. If hunger is an issue (as it was for me), there are also ways to add calories within a meal: I found that many of the meals were amenable to a drizzle of olive oil
over the top, or a pat of butter. Or add a green salad with an oil-based dressing.
For those who can't or don't wish to cook, or wish to have a structure on their low-carb eating, I think Diet-to-Go can be a useful alternative. The prices, including delivery prices, are reasonable, and the quality is high for prepared food. There is a wide variety of food, and there are opportunities to make substitutions according to needs and tastes.
Useful Links on the Diet-to-Go site:
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy