Try again: Prepared meal diets
About a month ago – I proudly and enthusiastically proclaimed here on Hoboken411 that I was turning a new leaf, and starting a healthy diet of regular juicing and improved food choices.
I’m known for my often hasty decisions in life. Sometimes they work out great (411), and other times I realize that I didn’t “think it through” enough and fail miserably.
This whole “let me buy a fancy juicer” plan was definitely not well thought out.
The Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite I purchased was definitely a fantastic appliance that worked as promised. However, I failed to consider the external factors. I stopped using the juicer because:
- Time. I have little spare time to begin with. To perform your own regular daily juicing requires quite a bit of commitment. For starters, you need to constantly be stocked with a plethora of various fruits and vegetables. This requires frequent trips to the market. Additionally, you need to consider prep time as well as cleanup time. A pain in the neck really.
- Space. If you have a modern 500+ sq. ft. kitchen with counter-space aplenty, it sure is swell to have a dedicated space to house your new juicer. However, if you live in an older building with a very small kitchen, this juicer takes up a mountain of space. Which means it just gets in the way. It created a domino effect which saw my living space go to shambles in a very short amount of time. Not having that!
- Overall Hassle. When I added it all up – I realized that this is just not my bag of apples. While I enjoyed the taste and nutrition – the extra 10-15 hours a week to maintain such a lifestyle was not in my horoscope.
What am I going to do now?
Well, the next step was going back and figuring out how I can eat healthier while meeting the following conditions:
- Fast, easy & convenient
- Relatively enjoyable
- Not budget-busting
It dawned upon me that just because NutriSystem advertises like mad on television, that they can’t be the only option, right? Plus, after reading reviews of the NutriSystem diet (along with others like Jenny Craig) – I noticed that most people found the food not fit for a dog even!
So Googling “better than Nutrisystem” – I found that there are dozens of similar programs, with supposedly better products. While not nearly as cheap as Nutrisystem (some were quite costly in fact – approaching $50 – $60 a day in some cases!) – my decision was to pick FOUR companies, and try them each for a one week trial period.
Diet to Go
My first option will be Diet To Go.
They have a few different plans (traditional low-fat, vegetarian or low-carb). You can customize whether you want it 7 days or 5, a full three-meals or just lunch and dinner, etc. For the purpose of these tests, I’m choosing the 7-day plans (with snacks, if offered.) The Diet To Go plans do NOT include snacks.
Cost is $135.99/week, and with shipping comes out to $152.95 (or $21.85 per day).
Biggest Loser Menu Plan
Originally, I was going to choose the Bistro MD option (which received positive reviews on the web), when I stumbled across the Biggest Loser Menu Plan, which essentially has the same food – from the same place – minus the “bonus” expert advice and online tools (who needs that crap?)
While I never really watched that Biggest Loser show, I’m only considering this option because of the relationship with Bistro MD (and the lower cost).
Cost for a 7-day plan (with snacks):
$169.95 plus shipping comes out to $194.90 (or $27.85 per day).
I’m including the eDiets.com plan in my trials because it was one of the lower-cost plans.
I have a feeling I’ll regret this decision, because some reviewers thought that the food quality and taste was sub-par (calling it “bland” and “barely better than Jenny Craig,” etc.)
However, the “glowing” reviews from both Epicurious.com and Redbook Magazine convinced me to find out for myself.
Cost is similar to Diet To Go $139.65 plus shipping is $159.60 per week (or $22.80 per day).
Pure Foods – Fresh Start
I found Pure Foods Fresh Start first, and will leave them for the end of the trial – because they don’t seem to offer regular weekly plans. Just a “3 day sampler” or the “3 week Jump Start” program.
Why not give it a shot, and eliminate the thought (and mistakes) out of my daily and weekly food planning?
Cost is $159.95 – plus shipping is $189.90 per week (or $27.13 per day).
Well – when my six-week experiment is done – I’ll try 7-days just eating wraps at Healthy for Life in Hoboken. Since it’s only a few blocks away, I could essentially eat just as much, for even less than these four options. I can combine my dog walks with meal pickups.
I also considered Zone Manhattan, but the cost was prohibitive ($46 a day) and the food is delivered daily between 5-6am. I predicted many problems with that (besides the cost).
On the fringe of my choices was Dine Wise – which has an incredible selection and flexibility. Cost is high though, about $270/week delivered ($38.50 per day).
Once I place the first order – I’ll begin reviewing each of the four (plus local) options and report back my results!