Throw the word diet into any food brand and most people acknowledge upon purchase they are signing up for a tasteless, unfulfilling experience. But according to Marketdata Enterprises, despite the lack of taste, aroma and quality of typical diet foods, American’s still spend more than $64 billion annually in attempts to lose weight.
Even with this heavy investment of American capital, few if any diet food providers have figured out a way to combine the concept of good for you with enjoyable to eat.
As a healthy eater at a decent weight for my height and age, I’ve never considered a diet meal delivery service, but when Diet To Go offered to send me five days of their diet meals to test and review, I’ll admit I was excited to give it a try.
If anyone could master the art of diet food, it would be a company that has been doing this for over 20 years. (Psst – they are also offering you 10% off your first purchase).
What became abundantly clear after unpacking our large delivery, was the key to healthy weight loss in the eyes of Diet to Go resided in portion control and a balance of calories from proteins, carbs and fats. The portions from Diet to Go aren’t exactly small, they just have a finite end, since there are no seconds.
I also appreciated the fact there isn’t some crazy this or only that food philosophy you have to embrace. The meals sounded and looked like something I would create at home. Before we talk specific meals, I must note I am a vegetarian so all of these meals will be sans meat. In my mind, doing vegetarian meal delivery correctly is harder, because with freezing and packaging veggies tend to become limp, flavorless and devoid of texture.@DietToGo Review: Taking Diet Meal Delivery For a Spin Click To Tweet
Diet to Go does offer meat-lovers plans (not what they call them for the record) and other options like non-seafood, diabetic friendly or carb30 (averages just 30 net carbs per day) and you can customize your order based on preference.
Diet To Go Review: The Balanced Vegetarian Plan
The package I reviewed was the Balanced Vegetarian plan, developed by their chefs and nutritionists to be nutritionally balanced and calorie-controlled for weight loss. My first foray into this Diet To Go review was the Moroccan Lentil Salad with Whole Wheat Pita Bread, Yogurt Mint Sauce and Applesauce:
In the past I have tried other services that required 20-30 minutes of cook time to wake their meal from its deep freeze. This process from packaging to plate took 3 minutes.
During that three minutes, the aroma of curry spices began to drift through the kitchen, and my mood changed considerably. Maybe this diet food wouldn’t be so bad.
The lentils were seasoned with a mix of warm spices like turmeric, garam masala and coriander and intertwined with the classic mirepoix of celery, onion and carrot. This wasn’t a mushy platter of goop, the lentils held their texture, the celery had a noticeable crunch and the yogurt mint sauce added a nice tang to the mixture.
This was a substantial meal that left me feeling something I don’t often from diet food: full.
Next was Vegetables Smothered in Curry with Brown Basmati Rice and an Indian Bean Salad:
The fear with any sauce based meal, like this curry dish, that has been pre-packed and reheated is that the sauce will break up into watery parts and clumpy parts, while the vegetables will taste like overcooked pasta, lacking any flavor or texture.
Again, three minutes to heat, which is ridiculously efficient. The sauce did a little of what I feared, drifting off into some watery pool that needed to be drained. But the flavor was on point.
So often with diet meal delivery services, the food is over-salted to act as a preservative. Sure they get to say “no preservatives” but the meal itself is something a deer would love. (Deer love salt licks – is that too out there of an analogy?). My point is, if anything I had to add a little salt to this meal which is a welcome change. I’d rather control the amount of salt in my meal than be burdened with someone else’s heavy salt hand.
The bean salad wouldn’t have been my favorite part of the experience, but the curry sauce and the still crunchy texture of the vegetables far overcame this one blight.
I won’t bore you with every meal I ate – but I will handle one more and then conclude. It was the second days lunch – Chickpea BBQ with a Kaiser Roll and Cole Slaw.
After my first two meals, I was genuinely excited about this one. As a happy cook myself, whenever I see a menu item that makes me say, “oooh, I’ll have to try making that myself someday” we’re off to a good start.
Chickpeas are a staple of this vegetarian’s existence, but I’ve never thought to pair them in a BBQ sauce mashed on a Kaiser roll with a Cole Slaw topper. As someone who feels left out of the summer BBQ experience, this was akin to my personal 4th of July party.
The Kaiser bun was perfectly fresh, the chickpea mash had just the right mix of smoky notes, brown sugar and tomato base, while the cole slaw, which I of course threw on top rather than the side, added a nice vinegary tang and crunch to the whole thing.
Again, consider me full and satisfied.
Over my five days eating Diet to Go meals, I snacked less because I was genuinely full after each meal. I looked forward to meal time, knowing it would be convenient, easy to clean up and taste really good. While I was given these meals for free, the normal price comes in at around $11 per serving and there is no way I could have eaten this quality of food at that price point either by shopping and cooking myself, or going to a restaurant.
Consider me a diet food convert… well, at least from Diet to Go.