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It can be tough to eat a nutritious diet when you are short on time and culinary skills. These two meal services aim to deliver varied and healthy food to your doorstep. All you have to do is defrost.
For The Hunger Crusher: Nutrisystem
Everyone has heard of this 40-year-old diet plan, but since it isn’t in stores, you may not know how it works. Nutrisystem ships you a month’s worth of meals—three a day, plus snacks, that come partly in a cooler frozen and the rest room temp—and a ton of food tracking and motivational materials to help you lose weight. When you sign up, the company takes into account your activity level and how much weight you want to lose, and there are plenty of carbs you can time to eat before a run. Of all the plans, this one has the most processed foods, many of which are frozen or shelf stable—like what you might take camping. Frankly, people with less discerning palates will appreciate this plan, though the company is testing a fresh delivery service.
MISSION CONTROL: You can pick different low-fat meals that sound good to you in advance to include in your order and then you can choose what you want on a meal-by-meal basis until it’s gone. You also need to supplement with other foods, especially fresh produce.
SAMPLE DINNER: Mushroom risotto, supplemented by homemade mixed green salad with oil and vinegar, a slice of multigrain bread and grated cheese to sprinkle atop entrée.
PALATE PLEASER: Our testers were not particularly impressed with the processed nature of most of the MRE-esque foods. The frozen meals earned marginally higher marks. The desserts got the best feedback.
Vested Interest: Depending on the plan, around $10 to $12 per day
For the Paleo Inclined: Personal Trainer Food
Ready-to-microwave frozen packets comprise all the meals, which are almost exclusively meat and vegetables. As the name implies, the company relies heavily on personal trainers across the country to introduce their clients to the plan to lose weight.
MISSION CONTROL: There are different plans to choose from, basically for two or three meals a day, each of which is just a microwave away from your plate. Because you get 28 days of food at once, you can choose which meat and veggies you want as you go. In theory, you may not need to supplement with additional snacks or meals.
SAMPLE DINNER: Mesquite-grilled chicken breast with vegetable mix of broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, squash and peppers.
PALATE PLEASER: Some of the food tastes very clean (not processed) and better than you’d expect from, say, frozen chicken; others taste surprisingly processed and salty. Most of our runner testers needed to add some calories (and carbs!) to feel ready for workouts.
Vested Interest: Up to about $15 per day