You’ve probably heard of — or even tried — the meal delivery service Freshly, which sends chef-created meals you can just warm up at home, portioned for one person, straight to your door. Many people, of course, have been naturally turning to meal delivery services like Freshly during the pandemic to avoid grocery shopping — and food waste.
But what if you’re counting calories or carbs, or you’ve made a resolution to step up your healthy eating game in 2021, but you’re not a great cook or don’t have the emotional energy to meal plan right now? Enter FreshlyFit, a new line of carb-conscious meals delivered to your door that you can heat up in just three minutes.
To get started, you just sign up at the FreshlyFit website and select from one of its plans (four, six, 10 or 12 meals a week), pick your meals from a menu of choices and you’re good to go. The company can accommodate gluten-free and peanut allergies, but note that it currently doesn’t offer a ton of vegetarian options in the Fit line. The cost works out to about $50 to $110 per week, including shipping, depending on what plan you select. And you can plan your meals up to three weeks ahead of time, so you can do all your “meal prep” at the beginning of the month and totally forget about it.
Freshly’s meals are already somewhat healthy, so it wasn’t surprising the brand would launch a line crafted for energy and performance. I sampled a selection of the meals and loved the simplicity of grabbing one from the fridge every day for lunch and having a quick, nutritious meal.
The instructions for all of the meals are pretty straightforward: Remove the plastic container from the cardboard sleeve, peel up a corner to vent, heat in the microwave for three minutes, let sit for two minutes and then enjoy.
I tried 10 different meals, and my favorites by far were the bowls. I found if I cut a few slits in the plastic film (instead of just pulling up the corner) the bowls heated very evenly. My favorites were the Keto-Friendly Chicken Bowl With Super Greens Pesto & Cauli Rice, the Wholesome Chicken Sauté Bowl With Pad Kee Mao Sauce, the Carb Swap Cauli & Sausage Casserole With Parmesan Cheese and the Sesame-Ginger Bliss Bowl With Noodle-Cut Hearts of Palm. I was not as much of a fan of the meals that were a lean meat with sides, as I found the meat tended to be a bit dry and not that appetizing.
What I really liked about the FreshlyFit meals is how fresh they taste compared to so many other premade meals I’ve sampled. I’ve tried frozen lines like Smart Ones and Healthy Choice over the years, and have also had Atkins-style meals delivered -— because who doesn’t love an easy workday lunch? — but the FreshlyFit meals had so much more flavor, like the fresh pesto in the Keto-Friendly Chicken Bowl and the brightness of the pad kee mao sauce.
All of the meals clocked in under 600 calories, with many in the 300 to 400 range, but none left me feeling hungry a few hours later. I ate one bowl for lunch prior to a 5-mile walk, which I would have been hungry after if I’d had a small sandwich, and I was full until it was time for dinner.
Is FreshlyFit a good choice for you? It depends, says Boston-based nutritionist Kristen Ciccolini. “Ask yourself how you want to feel. What does healthy mean to you? Is it to feel energized and satisfied?” she explains. “If so, look for protein, fat and fiber represented in the meal, which will help keep blood sugar stable and provide you with better energy throughout the day.”
If you’re trying to eat healthier meals, Ciccolini advises not focusing so much on calories but instead on what feels good for you.
“I suggest people focus on their hunger and fullness signals to decide when to stop eating, rather than counting calories, especially because every meal is different and 500 calories of one set of ingredients might not be as satisfying as another,” Ciccolini says. “Our inner technology is pretty smart, and our bodies naturally tell us what portions we need. Though it does take practice to get to know your own signals.”