See that magificent creation? That, my friends, is "diet food," more specifically, it's a Fontina BLT Pork Waffle from The Fresh Meal Plan, a meal-delivery service available in South Florida and Orlando.
I had the opportunity to try out a few days of the plan this week and I was pretty happy (and satiated) with the three days of meals.
The nice thing about the plan is that you don't have to commit to a large, expensive plan. You can get two meals a day on a five-day plan for $79 a week, which is a good idea if all you want is someone to make you lunches and dinners. There are 5, 6 and 7-day plans and you can go all the way up to three meals and three snacks a day if you really want to make it a no-brainer. The maxed-out plan is $270 a week but you really won't have to buy any groceries at all. This isn't one of those plans where they ask you do supplement with your own produce or dairy products -- everything is included.
And even if you're doing the two-meal plan, you can still add on snacks or desserts if they strike your fancy, and if you do, may I suggest the Fontina BLT Pork Waffle. It's listed as a snack but I ate it for lunch this week and it was fantastic. It's basically pulled pork and cheese on a waffle with lettuce and tomato, all for around 300 calories.
The plan features free-range chicken, wild-caught fish, grass-fed bison and natural meats, and, as I found, the vegetables and fruits are equally fresh. I chose meals from the traditional plan, but there also are vegetarian and Paleo plans, if you're so inclined (but you won't be getting any pork waffles -- just sayin').
Above is a sampling of what you'll eat on a typical day. Clockwise from top left is a breakfast pizza made with potatoes, cheese, eggs and turkey bacon on a thick foccacia-like base, a big turkey meatball with marinara sauce over pasta with garlic bread and spinach, a couple of gluten-free, Paleo snickerdoodles (all the desserts are Paleo and gluten free) and chicken with paella rice.
Truth be told, while the snickerdoodles were good, I'd prefer to have a more protein-rich afternoon snack. I also sampled a hazelnut cupcake and a blackberry bar. There was a little dessert labeled "Twix bar" but it was nearly 200 calories and I didn't feel like it was worth the calories.
But the meals were all definite winners. I would heat them in my microwave in their BPA-free containers and then transfer the meals to a plate. Whether you're doing meal delivery or frozen meals, don't eat them out of the plastic container -- it's just a much better dining experience.
A couple other meals that were worth raving about:
This is a blueberry French toast eggwich. I would have never thought to put egg whites, mozzarella cheese and turkey sausage between two pieces of French toast but it totally works. It's topped with fresh berries and nuts and comes with a couple of orange wedges.
At right is a bison burger topped with cheese and served on a pita half with arugula and potato wedges, for around 400 calories. The burger was big and juicy and the arugula had a nice kick. It was a great lunch.
And as you can see, there's not a salad to be found. It's not stereotypical diet food. In fact, the company serves as the official pre-and post-game meal provider for the Miami Dolphins, and they work nutritionally with some of the players on and off season. They also work with Orangetheory Fitness and I AM CrossFit, the largest CrossFit group in South Florida.
Along with the meals, snacks and desserts, they also have a line of organic cold-pressed juices, which you can add to your meal plan. I tried the Beet Down, a mix of apple, beet, carrot, ginger and lemon, and the Green Power, a blend of kale, cucumber, apple, romaine lettuce, spinach, parsley, celery and lemon. Both juices were great -- the beet one was definitely sweeter than the green one, but the green one had a nice balance -- not too sweet, not too "lawn-clippy."
So there you have it. My philosophy on meal-delivery services is that they're great if you're single or want to bring a healthy, balanced meal (or two) to work every day. It's a little trickier if you're in a family setting because you end up making meals for everyone and eating your own food. But it's also good if you want to jumpstart your healthy eating for a few days and want to reset your brain as to portion size and meal ideas.
Disclosure: I was provided three days' of meals from The Fresh Meal Plan. All opinions are my own. And I love BLT pork waffles.