Inside: Learn 2 simple strategies to use a Meal Delivery Service for Weight Loss, as well as which ones are best. Affiliate links to some of my favorites are used in this post.
You see them everywhere lately. Flyers in the mail, TV commercials, facebook ads, newspaper articles, blogs. Meal Delivery Services are out in full force.
But what they heck are they? And are there any specifically geared towards weight loss? I cover that all below.
How Meal Delivery Services Work
If you have never tried home delivery meals before, what happens is you log onto the company's website, select your plan (how many meals a week you want to receive, and how many servings you want in each meal) and then you select the meals for your first week from the choices offered.
Your ingredients are shipped to you, pre-measured and ready to cook. Some food delivery services separate the ingredients for each meal into separate containers or bags for grab-and-go convenience, while other meal prep delivery services save on packaging and place all ingredients in the box like at the grocery store.
You pop everything into the fridge, and when you're ready to cook you grab your recipe, ingredients and tools and get started.
Oh! The recipe cards! So each box will also include one recipe card for each meal. This is probably my favorite feature of the ones we have tried– having the directions for the whole meal on one master recipe.
If you have ever cooked a meal with more than one component, only to have one part done way early, while the other part takes forever, you will appreciate this method of cooking. The recipes take you step by step through the whole meal, rather than having separate recipes for the main entree and one for the side, etc.
We started using a meal delivery service because my husband has more…particular tastes than I do (I will eat just about anything) so it allows him to select and plan our dinners (according to his “preferences”) for a whole week in a few quick clicks. This means neither of us have to spend time searching our cookbooks, memories, sale papers or the internet for ideas or recipes.
So he picks e'm, then I cook 'em when he is on his way home. It works for us.
When I started a new weight loss plan back in September, I was worried about how I could possibly continue with our meal delivery service and still stick to my weight loss plan.
In the end I found that meal delivery services actually fit hand-in-hand perfectly with my weight loss program, even on days when the meal calorie counts were way above my needs.
In fact, it helped my weight loss efforts in several ways:
-Saved time searching for recipes that made hubby happy AND met my dietary needs.
-Kept us from ordering out, which is a total diet-killer.
-Made me more confident in the kitchen- even outside their recipes. Now I love to just pop seasoned veggies in the oven, or sauté something healthy for myself, when before I thought it was too much time and effort.
-Taught me tons of kitchen skills and gave me a lot of practice within the repeated framework of the master recipe cards.
Okay now you know why I love them, now below are the two different strategies to use to make meal delivery services work within a weight loss plan.
Using a Regular Meal Delivery Service for Weight Loss
We have kind of bounced from one meal delivery service to the next, trying to find the best fit for us. Your needs may be different from ours, so by no means am I saying, “My way or the highway!” But this has been what worked for us.
We started with Blue Apron and really loved the fresh ingredients and elevated flavors that were a step above your typical meatloaf and potatoes.
On the other hand I have tons of friends who much prefer HomeChef for the exact opposite reason- it's all really hearty, familiar, mom's classic recipe type stuff…like meatloaf and mashed potatoes!
We also sampled Hello Fresh (a great balance between the fancy flavors and comfort classics) before settling on our favorite: Plated. We found that Plated has a wide variety of recipes and a lot of them have elevated flavors beyond your average dinner, and choosing one meal doesn't eliminate other options like it did hen we used Blue Apron (this system at Blue Apron may have changed since we switched).
The one thing that all of the above plans have in common is that their meals are NOT all focused on weight loss.
Blue Apron does have a new option for Whole30, so that is related to a healthy lifestyle, but otherwise the calorie counts vary widely on the meals at each of the big name meal delivery services we have tried.
Weight Loss Strategy #1: Losing weight with a standard meal delivery service:
The strategy I use with these meals is incredibly simple.
Each recipe card shows you the calories per serving. I personally tend to rotate some of the same breakfasts and lunches by week, over and over, because I like them, I know they fit with my weight loss goals and they are easy.
So, I eat my normal breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day, then I look at the calorie count for tonight's dinner.
If it fits with my calorie budget, then I just go on and eat the whole serving.
If it is more than the calories I have budgeted for my dinner, based on my weight loss coach app, I plate a portion of my serving onto my dinner plate and the remainder of my portion goes directly into one of our favorite glass storage containers.
Depending on the number of calories, I eat the leftovers for 1 or 2 lunches, or sometimes I just save them for the kids because I know they will love them.
The reason I stick with this system is that LalyDad is not reallllly on a weight loss journey like I am. He walks a couple miles each day to and from the train, and he is 6 foot 2, so his calorie needs are higher than mine.
If we were both looking to cut calories, I would go with one of the options in strategy #2 below.
Clicking on any of the banners below will take you to the current offer for the above mentioned meal delivery services:
Weight Loss Focused Meal Delivery Services
Strategy #2: Losing weight using a Meal Delivery Service that caters to specific dietary needs.
The other strategy to get all the benefits of a meal delivery service and to stick to your weight loss goals is to subscribe to a meal delivery service whose main focus IS to provide meals for weight loss or healthy eating.
I am not talking about freezer meal weight loss companies like Nutrisystem. They might be a great solution for some people but we tried it years ago and they were not for us.
I meal companies that deliver fresh ingredients or freshly prepared foods that are all calorie conscious.
So using these services, I would actually reverse engineer my days. I'd see what the calorie count is for dinner, and log it in my app in the morning, then plan my breakfast, lunch and snacks to fit within the remaining calories.
If you are looking for something where the food is already cooked for you, but want to steer clear of freezer meals, check out Personal Chef to Go.
You can also click the links below for their current offerings:
Well there you have two simple strategies using a Meal Delivery Service to lose weight. Have you found one that I missed? Let's hear about it below!