Even though I absolutely love cooking and spending time in the kitchen, sometimes it’s nice to have your meals prepared for you. A lot of nights after a full day of work and running, the last thing I want to do is spend 30+ minutes in the kitchen making myself dinner. Unfortunately, the “quick and easy” options don’t always translate to the healthiest options. I’m not a stickler for healthy foods and do my fair share of indulging, but at the end of the day, I like to make sure I’ve eaten enough of the right foods to keep my body fueled for not only running, but life in general. So, when I was given the opportunity to try out Diet-to-Go as a Fitfluential Ambassador, I jumped at the offer.*
One of the first things that caught my eye about Diet-to-Go was their accessibility – it isn’t just a one size fits all approach to diet meals. In fact, they have three different choices; traditional (which is low fat), vegetarian (lacto-ovo), or low carb with 1200 or 1600 calorie options. And, within those base selections, you have the ability to even further customize your meal choices; you can make substitutions, change your meal plan type, and even pause your plan! They also offer 5 or 7 day plans, and you can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or just lunch and dinner. Talk about options! And the best part? The meals that are delivered to your door are fresh, which I learned isn’t something that all mail order diet meal plans do.
Now for the good stuff – the food! My meals arrived on Tuesday and I started with dinner. Obviously being a vegetarian I chose the vegetarian meal plan, and my meals came from the 1600 calorie per-day group. I decided on my first meal, tomato pie and couscous with some crackers and a Laughing Cow Swiss cheese wedge. I’m pretty sure this was the first time trying Laughing Cow, and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long – it is absolutely delicious! I had the cheese and crackers first while I waited for the entrée to cook, and once it was ready I dug in. Not only was the dish flavorful, but it was filling! I would be lying if I didn’t say I was skeptical that I’d be full after this diet meal (especially having run 5.5 miles earlier), but I was. I added a salad to the mix as well (I make sure to have one pretty much every night – nothing special, just spring mix with some dressing) in order to round out the day’s fruit and veggie intake. I definitely picked the right meal to start of my experience; I couldn’t wait for the next one.
The rest of my meals did not disappoint. Whether it was eggs florentine with soy sausage patties and asparagus for breakfast, bean burritos for lunch, or a lentil loaf for dinner, I was always pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture of the options, and was satiated. I kept saying “wow, I can’t believe this actually tastes good!”
Of course since I’m not a registered dietitian I can’t speak to the overall nutritional value of these meals, but I think that it’s important for anyone (on a “diet” or not), to do research and ensure they’re getting the right nutrients. Some of these meals were on the saltier side for me, while others seemed to be higher in fat, or overall calories. Because high blood pressure and heart issues run in my family, I try to be cognizant of my sodium levels, while also understanding that as a runner, salt is important. In terms of higher-than-I’d-like sodium, for example, a suggested day is the eggs florentine with soy patties and asparagus (delicious) which give 830mg of sodium at breakfast, followed up with a grilled veggie burrito with polenta at lunch for 650mg, and then a lentil loaf with sweet potatoes and green beans for dinner with 1030mg. That brings my sodium totals to 2510mg in one day (if I don’t eat anything else). The Institute of Medicine recommends 1500mg of sodium per day as an adequate amount, and to try and stay under 2300mg (source). This is just one day, and not all of the meals are high in sodium, but because of those levels I don’t know that I myself would use Diet-to-Go for 3 meals a day, but rather as a supplement to add in quick and easy healthy options throughout the week.
Trying out these meals really opened up my eyes to the way I eat throughout the day, the food choices that I make, and what different calorie amounts really look like. For me, I tend to eat smaller or lower calorie foods in the morning and afternoon, but then find myself ravenous by the time I get home from work and wind up not only matching my calories from the first half of the day, but I usually have more. For the most part I’m not concerned with the weight aspect of eating since I am running 25-30+ miles a week, but I am concerned with the nutritional value and making sure my body is getting the right foods. Lesson learned: I need to eat more in the morning!
Mail ordered meals may not be for everyone, but for people that just don’t have time to cook or don’t like to cook, I think this is a great option. As I said earlier, I think it’s really important for people to understand their nutritional needs based on their age, sex, activity level, and overall lifestyle before they decide on a meal plan that’s right for them (whether they’re making it themselves, or having it made for them). Diet-to-Go has a lot of great options and flexibility, is delicious, and if nothing else can help people newer to the world of eating right form good habits. Not to mention it did win Epicurious’ #1 voted meal plan based on a national blind taste test! So for those of you that are interested in giving it a try, you can get 20% off by using the code “fitfluential” when ordering.
So tell me…
Do you track your eating throughout the day?
How do you make sure you’re getting enough of the right foods?
*Disclosure: Fitfluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.