How it works: To order meals online, our tester had to set up a house account of at least $300. After placing an order, she picked up selected meals in-store. You can also buy meals in person at one of four area locations with no minimum required.
How you get it: By marching your little butt to the store to pick it up. Hey, that’s calories burned right there!
The food: Extremely tasty. Our taste-tester never felt like she was sacrificing in any way. Even friends who tried her chicken Parmesan said it tasted like something from a restaurant. With only around 20 meal options, our tester had to repeat a few—but she liked them so much, she didn’t mind.
Cost: $123 for seven days of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and one daily snack. ($300 minimum required up-front for online ordering.)
So?: “I hate scales, but I did find that my clothes fit better that week. I felt good, and my energy level spiked. I would definitely do it again.”
Good if: You’re on a budget. The meals here are extremely affordable ($3-$4 for snacks, up to $10 for lunches/dinners).
Bad if: You’re lazy. There’s no delivery option.
MY PRIVATE CHEF
How it works: Our taste-tester placed an order for the “basic package” by emailing the owner, who asked for dietary restrictions … but not much else. Few details were provided, including how many and which meals to expect.
How you get it: Frozen meals are delivered to your doorstep once a week. Drop-off was punctual.
The food: Some of the meals were covered in frost, resulting in excess liquid when microwaved. There was also meat in nearly every meal, which, given a choice, our meat-averse taste-tester would’ve steered clear of. But for the most part, she was pleasantly surprised with the taste and sizes of the meals.
Cost: $150 for a “week,” which turned out to be only five days of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
So?: “I didn’t feel great. The dishes were heavy, and I sometimes got sleepy or a stomachache after eating them. I felt like I didn’t eat anything fresh the whole week. And I gained four pounds.”
Good if: You’re carnivorous. You’ll have meat at every meal.
Bad if: You’re particular. You’ll get what you get, and you’ll like it! (Or not.)
MY FIT FOODS
How it works: Our tester visited a My Fit Foods store to select meals, which are divided by breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks and portion size. An employee helped her determine which sizes to get and offered her a free consultation to discuss her goals.
How you get it: By visiting one of 11 DFW locations. Delivery is also available through diningin.com.
The food: Pretty good—for the first few days. Though the meals didn’t scream “diet food,” the repeated use of several ingredients meant they all started to taste alike by day four. Snacks are a plus, but dinner portions were too small to be satisfying.
Cost: $195 for seven days of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two daily snacks.
So?: “I didn’t lose weight, but I cheated a few times. I did feel like I was eating healthier and was more aware of the calories I was taking in. I’d do it again to kick-start a diet or as a substitute for drive-thru food on a busy workday.”
Good if: You travel a lot. Locations across the region mean you can keep your diet going on the road.
Bad if: You’ve got testy taste buds. The meals lack flavor variety.
How it works: Our tester created an account on the Gourmaleo website, where she could see detailed descriptions of the meals, view prices, and place an order. Though she experienced some technical issues with the website, emails were answered within minutes.
How you get it: Refrigerated meals are delivered once or twice weekly, based on preference. Delivery was on time.
The food: Delicious and generously sized. Smaller or less active people will have leftovers—there are no size options here. The Paleo diet touts a carb- and dairy-free lifestyle, so lunches and dinners were meat-heavy with your choice of vegetable. The menu boasts a lot of variety and changes weekly.
Cost: $370 for seven days of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two desserts. (There’s a $100 minimum per order.)
So?: “I didn’t really feel healthier, as the food feels pretty indulgent, but I certainly didn’t feel deprived. Even I, a meat-lover, started to tire of eating so much protein, but in the end, I lost a couple pounds.”
Good if: You’re a foodie or a hard-core athlete. Taste and portion sizes are great.
Bad if: You’re tight on cash. Entrees will run you $20 apiece.