No time to cook? That doesn't mean you can't eat right. One Self staffer tries out the best new healthy-food delivery companies so your waistline doesn't have to suffer.
Healthy eating can be full of roadblocks and excuses: It's too expensive, healthy foods aren't available in your area, you don't have time to cook healthy meals, you can't cook or maybe you're just too tempted by the "easier," less healthy options that are available, aka the usual take-out. But as consumer interest in health and wellness increases, the demand for healthy and convenient food options is growing -- and businesses are responding. Think outside the (CSA) box with new subscription and delivery services that cater to any lifestyle. Think of it as a Choose Your Own Adventure.
If the thought of turning on a stove terrifies you . . .
- Healthy Hand: If you're stuck in the office (or it's just frigid like today), let the team at Healthy Hand sort through hundreds of menu items from NYC and New Jersey restaurants. Pay a monthly fee ($28), choose your dietary preference (overall health, weight loss, athletic/muscle or vegetarian) and set a budget. You'll get an email each day with options, and your food arrives around an hour after you order. I opted for a vegetarian wrap and side salad — tasty, but much larger than my normal lunch, and there was no way to check said meal's nutritional info.
- Zesty: San Francisco, we're jealous of you in so many ways. Add Zesty to the list. This just-released app let's you choose filters based on your lifestyle (low carb, gluten-free, paleo) and search for meals from area restaurants. Each entree has complete nutritional info and ingredients listed, all analyzed and evaluated by Zesty's in-house nutritionist, Michelle Davenport, Ph.D., R.D, so you know just what you're putting in to your body. "We are extremely selective about the restaurants that we feature on our app, and only featuring those who are willing to work with us and comply with our nutrition standards," says Davenport.
- Fullosophie: This Dallas-based company promises to deliver the farm to your fork. Focusing on local, fresh ingredients and meals free of hydrogenated oils, preservatives, dyes, or artificial flavorings or sweeteners, Fullosophie makes prepared food that is healthy, but that's totally not "traditional" diet food. Meals are made with organic ingredients as much as possible and most are between 400-600 calories. Be sure to add the best-selling White Chocolate Cayenne Puppy Chow to your order for an extra treat!
- Farm to Fit: Known for its sustainability, and natch, great food, it only makes sense for a food delivery service that offers simple, clean meals in Portland. Choose a 5- or 7-day meal plan based on your target daily calorie consumption (1200-, 1600-, and 2000-calorie plans are available) and allow you to specify any allergies. Your week of meals arrives microwave-ready. No guesswork — plus a great way to support local farmers.
If cooking up a storm is totally your thing . . .
- Blue Apron: I felt instantly more ambitious and domestic when I opened my first box of fresh, pre-measured ingredients for the Chili-Rubbed Flat Iron Steaks with Quick Kimchi. Although I'm not much of a carnivore, my dinner guest was highly impressed by the taste and presentation of the meal. I'm also NOT an expert cook, but the easy to follow instructions (complete with pictures) made it simple to follow along, almost like those paint-by-number books we had when we were younger. Blue Apron delivers to most parts of the U.S., and at around $9.99 a person per meal, it's great for budget-conscious folks.
- Plated: My mouth started watering when I saw the featured cook-it-yourself meal on Plated's website: Potato Goat Cheese Cakes with Balsamic Vinaigrette. The company delivers its signature boxes of fresh ingredients to most parts of the country, and offers four meat-based and three veg-based dishes that all take under 30 minutes to prepare per week. Good-for-you fats and superfoods are incorporated into each dish and an estimated calorie count is provided with each week's menu.
- PeachDish: Scrolling through PeachDish's Insta feed made me want to pull on a pair of cowboy boots and move to Atlanta, where the startup is based. And how could we not yearn for the Handmade Guacamole, Fish Tacos and Caramelized Bananas currently occupying slots on their menu!? The company is less than a year old, but it's already taking the city by storm, and their boxes are often spotted in the mail room at the more than fifteen colleges and universities in the Atlanta area.
- Destination Dinners: Educational take-out? We'll take it! The boxes from DD include the basics for an global-themed dinner -- along with information about the country from which the recipe is from. However, you provide the fresh ingredients. Jerk Chicken & Shrimp -- we're coming for you, even if a trip to Jamaica isn't in our sights just quite yet.
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