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These meal kits and ready-to-eat dining solutions are satisfying and nutritious!
Weight loss is frustrating to say the least; if it was easy, everyone would be able to lose weight and successfully keep it off. According to a recent review of 29 long-term weight loss studies, most people regain lost weight within five years. Common reasons for this include continued overindulging and eating high calorie and processed foods. Sedentary lifestyles and difficulty following restrictive diets also plays a role. This is where meal prep services and meal delivery services geared towards weight loss offer a possible healthy solution; they can provide balanced and healthy portions and great tasting, satisfying food that isn’t boring. These services can also offer social support through social media groups or nutrition coaches, because just like everything else in life, it’s easier to accomplish your goal when you have a team cheering you on.
“Weight loss meal delivery services can help take the guesswork out of healthy eating and can get you into the habit of preparing nutritious meals,” says registered dietitian Stefani Sassos, Deputy Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab. “You’ll be able to learn new healthy cooking methods and try new foods that you may not have thought to incorporate into your diet before. Depending on the service you choose, many plans also offer additional dietary customizations such as gluten-free and vegetarian recipes, making it easy to manage your weight while working with your dietary preferences or allergies.”
The food and nutrition experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute conducted a three-month-long meal delivery service study with over 200 real-life home cooks and industry experts across the United States. We researched and evaluated over 40 services, including traditional meal kits, affordable meal delivery services for everyday life and semi-prepared and ready-to-eat meals. Using this data, our registered dietitians chose the best meal delivery services for weight loss.
We also want to acknowledge that weight loss, health and body image are complex subjects. Before embarking on any diet, we invite you gain a broader perspective by reading our exploration into the hazards of diet culture.
Here are the 10 best meal delivery services for weight loss according to our experts and testers:
This service was founded by medical doctor Caroline J. Cederquist and her husband after watching countless patients in her practice struggle with weight loss. The meals are designed specifically for healthy and sustainable weight loss and they also address issues such as heart health, diabetes and menopause. Most meals average between 280 to 350 calories. All meals are chef-prepared, created with registered dietitians and ready-to-eat in five minutes. BistroMD encourages users to join their private Facebook group to swap tips, and share goals and progress updates.
How it works: Start by selecting a program to fit your dietary needs, including a women’s and men’s weight loss program, gluten-free, diabetic, menopause and heart healthy. You can decide whether you want five or seven days worth of food for the week, and select from over 150 meals which come frozen and ready to pop in the oven or microwave. Favorite meals include artichoke spinach and roasted red pepper frittata with turkey sausage and grilled salmon with creamy pesto.
Lab lowdown: Testers raved about the variety of flavorful meal choices to chose from, commenting that they would “never get bored.” They also appreciated the “diet, nutrition and helpful weight loss tips available on the website.” Our registered dietitians loved that the meals are balanced, satisfying and science-backed.
Trifecta is the official meal delivery partner of Crossfit. Rest assured, you don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy these meals. The chef-designed menu includes something that can fit into almost any diet including if your goal is to lose weight. Meals range from 350 to 500 calories, 20 to 40 grams of protein and moderate to low carbs. Ingredients are organic, locally sourced and gluten-free with wild caught seafood and grass-fed meats. Meals are delivered fresh and only require heating. This service also offers an app where you can track your nutrition and fitness goals.
How it works: Choose from a variety of meal plans including Paleo, keto, Whole30, vegan or vegetarian. Pesto chicken breast with veggies, roasted Brussels sprouts with quinoa and turkey bacon cheddar frittata are some of the popular meal choices. Meals arrive vacuum sealed and can last in your fridge for six to 10 days or in the freezer for up to three months.
Lab lowdown: Testers raved about the “variety of meals” and “convenience.” They reported portions were satisfying and having access to healthy meals made their week “stress-free.” Our experts appreciate the balanced, nutritious and sustainable ingredients and that the company provides community support. Customers can connect with other members and Trifecta’s team of experts on their Facebook nutrition group page.
Factor offers ready-to-eat, individually portioned meals that are designed by registered dietitians and chefs. Their “calorie smart” plan offers meals that are 550 calories or less. They also offer keto, vegan, chef’s choice and add-on proteins. Customers can schedule a free 20-minute nutrition consultation to help select the best meals for their individual tastes and preferences. They also offer more-in depth nutrition coaching programs with packages available for purchase for one to three months.
How it works: The menu rotates weekly meals and users start by choosing their dietary preference and how many meals per week they would like to receive, from four to 18. Calorie smart menu favorites include sour cream and chive chicken, and Peruvian shrimp bowl with red pepper cauliflower “grits.”
Lab Lowdown: Our testers loved the convenience factors, commenting that the meals were an “easy way to eat healthy food.” Other testers commented that the “variety of food, great flavor and generous portion sizes made life easier.” Our registered dietitians and experts appreciate the extra nutritional support offered to help customers build healthy habits.
This service stands out for offering one of the widest ranges of dietary preferences and if you are looking for calorie conscious meals, their Lean & Clean plan is the one for you. All meals in this category are under 600 calories and contain at least 10 grams of protein and five grams of fiber. The Lean & Clean meals can be ordered ready to heat and eat or as a traditional meal kit with prepped ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes.
How it works: Choose from the weekly Lean & Clean menu or other popular weight management dietary options including paleo, carb-conscious, diabetes-friendly and Mediterranean. Select two or more dinners for two to four people. Favorite lean and clean menu options include Thai turkey salad with cabbage, basil and cashews and salmon with cilantro-lime sauce.
Lab Lowdown: Testers raved about the quality and ease of preparing the meals. “The variety, freshness and portion sizes were outstanding,” exclaimed one tester. Our dietitians and experts appreciate the fresh and flavorful, USDA-certified organic ingredients, inventive dishes and balanced nutritional profile.
We come in all shapes and sizes and everyone’s needs are different. A 1200 calorie diet may seem slight for some but may be perfect for others. Veestro offers a 1200-calorie meal plan and for those who require more calories, a la carte options are offered. All meals are chef-crafted, and arrive frozen and ready to heat and eat. They are 100% plant-based and made with ingredients that are more than 96% organic. Kosher, soy and gluten-free options are available.
How it works: Begin by selecting from one of two plans, a la carte or weight loss. Choose your dietary preferences, including high-protein, low-calorie, gluten-, soy- or nut-free, kosher and seasonal. The weight loss plan provides three meals a day for either five or seven days and averages at approximately 1200 daily calories. The a la carte option allows you to choose 10, 20 or 30 meals. Some favorite meals include portobello steak dinner and soba noodles in peanut sauce. Breakfast options are also available, although limited, and include menu items such as a breakfast burrito.
Lab Lowdown: Testers loved that the meals required little to no preparation and that they were satisfying with generous portions. Testers also commented that “coming home to these meals took the guesswork out of what to make for lunch and dinner and allowed more time for other activities instead of spending time preparing meals.”
Blue Apron is one of the OG meal delivery services that made cooking at home enjoyable again. This service offers a few options in terms of weight loss and weight management. Choose the WW recommended meals that take into account calories, protein, sugar and saturated fats. There is also a Carb Conscious menu that emphasizes foods higher in fiber, including veggies and whole grains, and limits carbohydrates to 48 grams or less. Customers can join the Blue Apron community on Facebook and Instagram for social support.
How it works: Opt to feed two to four people with two, three or four meals per week. Choose meals from the Wellness menu which include WW-recommended offerings or the vegetarian menu which features meat-free dishes that rotate seasonally. Also, the nutritionist-approved wellness menu includes carb- conscious and WW selections, as well as meals that are 600 calories or less. Some favorite meals include couscous-stuffed poblano peppers, and sheet pan miso-ginger salmon.
Lab lowdown: Our testers loved the fresh ingredients and variety of proteins and spices. They found the recipes easy to follow with generous portions. Our registered dietitians appreciate that sugar, saturated fats and fiber were taken into consideration in their menus.
If it’s protein you are looking for, Fresh N Lean is the place to go. Their Protein + plan contains meals with an impressive 36 grams of protein, with a majority of menu items falling under 500 calories. This service is also notable for its diverse set of offerings including; keto, Whole30, Mediterranean, paleo, vegan and low carb vegan and most of which are under 500 calories. Meals can be prepared and ready-to-eat in five to seven minutes in the oven or three minutes in the microwave. If you follow plant-based diet, the Vegan Low Carb meals contain approximately 300 calories, 13 grams of protein, 33 grams of carbs and 11 grams of fat per meal.
How it works: Begin by selecting your plan, either five days or seven days and select breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. Add any allergies and food preferences. The menu is updated weekly and nutritional information for each meal is available on the company website. Protein + menu options include grass fed steak with roasted broccoli and ginger sesame rice and teriyaki chicken breast with green beans and quinoa. The Vegan Low Carb menu options include, ginger glazed yams with black beans and roasted veggies, and a lentil bowl with potatoes and plant-based meatballs. Breakfast options include zucchini and bell pepper frittata on Protein + and a limited menu of chia puddings on the Vegan Low Carb.
Lab lowdown: Testers gave the service top scores for variety of dietary preferences, convenience and fresh-tasting meals, as well as commenting on how satisfying the meals were. Our registered dietitians appreciate the diversity of menu options and that ingredients are non-GMO and organically sourced.
Staying true to it name, Freshly delivers fresh, ready-to-eat meals that can be on the table in under three minutes. This service meets a wide variety of dietary needs including gluten and dairy-free, plant-based, low-carb and calorie-conscious meals. Calorie-conscious meals are 550 calories or less and carb-conscious meals contain less than 20 grams of carbs. All meals are chef-prepared and single-serve.
How it works: Choose from over 35 menu options and how many meals you would like to receive, between four and 12 per week. The FreshlyFit menu contains the calorie and carb-conscious meals. New meals are added weekly and contain options such as grilled lemon-tahini chicken and baked turkey meatballs and zoodles. Meals can be heated in a microwave or oven.
Lab lowdown: Our experts appreciate that multiple dietary preferences are taken into consideration. Testers loved the convenience factor of heating and eating; one tester commented that “week day lunches are now a breeze.” Multiple testers commented on the freshness of ingredients, “perfect” portion sizes and flavorful meals.
This service offers multiple diet varieties with meals designed by local chefs and registered dietitians. All meals are ready to eat in under two minutes and are free from dairy, gluten and refined grains. If you are looking for weight conscious meals, there are multiple options, including meals under 500 calories, and the Low Carb menu contains less than 30 grams of carbs per dish. Each meal comes with easy-to-follow macronutrient breakdowns, portion size information and full ingredient details including the inspiration behind the dish.
How it works: Choose between different dietary preferences such as Paleo, Low Carb, Keto Friendly, Plant Based, Whole30, Mediterranean, Pre & postpartum and <500 calories. Menus rotate often and include seasonal ingredients. Some of the favorite <500 calorie and low carb meals include pesto spaghetti squash with Italian sausage, and grilled salmon with creamy spinach and cauliflower. You can choose add-ons such as lemon turmeric cashew bites and grilled salmon.
Lab lowdown: Testers gave the service top scores for large portion sizes, convenience of ready-to-eat meals and variety. Our registered dietitians appreciated the in-depth nutritional profile of the food, inspiration notes on each meal and macronutrient breakdowns.
Dinnerly is consistently our top pick for being the most affordable meal kit delivery system. They offer multiple dietary options, including low calorie (650 calories or less), low carb (40 grams of carbs or less) and keto-friendly dishes (20 grams of carbs or less and higher in fat and protein). Meals are quick and easy to prepare in 30 minutes or less with minimal ingredients. Recipes are developed by a chef and dietitian and include extensive nutritional information.
How it works: Choose from either a two-person or four-person family plan box. The menu changes weekly and customers can choose from over 40 meal options per week including plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free meals, in addition to others. Recipe cards are available online or on the company app. Favorite weight loss menu options include low-cal chicken fajita tacos, low-cal and low-carb miso-glazed salmon and low-carb eggplant parmesan bake. Subscribers can also add on chicken breast if more lean protein is desired.
Lab lowdown: Our testers continue to give Dinnerly a high satisfaction rating due to “large portion sizes, delicious flavor and easy-to-follow recipes.” Our experts and dietitians appreciate the affordability for healthy, nutritious food.
Keep in mind that when it comes to weight loss, there is no one size fits all approach, which is why there are so many different plans geared towards making every calorie count and taste great. Ultimately, a good weight loss meal delivery service should either provide tools to help you learn how to create nutritious meals and stick with it, or offer a convenient mealtime solution to keep you consistent with your health goals.
The best meal delivery service for you is the one that you enjoy and works with your lifestyle, whether you prefer prepared meals that are ready to heat-and-eat or traditional meal kits.
We made our selections based on tester feedback and the availability of nutritious, calorie- and portion-controlled weight loss menu options. We also looked at the breadth of menu choices, overall satisfaction, cost, recycling efforts and availability.
We tried to meet every age range, dietary preference and effort level. Some testers prefer ready-to-heat over the full cooking experience, so we included both options. We’ve also found that customization is important to many testers, so we took that into account. Last but not least, while taste is subjective, we chose companies that scored high points overall with testers.
As a result of our testing, we believe the companies spotlighted above deserve recognition for their performance in their categories. That said, this is a fast-growing segment in the food industry and we’re likely to see exciting new entrants emerging in the near future. We are currently and constantly testing new offerings in this category to keep readers up-to-date.
If you’re looking for calorie-controlled portion or meals geared towards weight loss, you can’t go wrong with any of our picks. If these choices are above your budget, check out our cheap meal delivery services, or for a more comprehensive guide, our best meal delivery services.
As a registered dietitian, Amy Fischer has worked with thousands of patients to improve their overall health through a whole foods and nutritious diet. Amy believes that food is to be enjoyed even on a weight loss journey and that while calories count, the focus should be on overall health, eating and living better and not just losing weight.
Having been through her own weight loss journey and providing nutrition counseling to patients and clients for the past eight years, Stefani Sassos is passionate about sustainable weight management and healthy eating practices. She’s extremely well versed in the current meal delivery landscape also, utilizing meal delivery services herself for convenience and leading category testing efforts for Good Housekeeping.