Meal delivery services are becoming an increasingly popular way to lose weight due to their convenience, ease of use, and controlled portions, but with so many different options out there, how can you choose the best one?
You’ve probably seen commercials for popular programs like Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig that show dramatic before and after photos and have found yourself feeling a bit skeptical. Do they really work? And does that food actually taste good? Our goal as Meal Delivery Experts is to help you sort fact from hype. Here, we’ll be taking a look at a lesser known diet meal delivery program – Diet to Go.
In this Diet to Go review, we’ll take a look at how much the program costs, the quality and variety of the food, how it compares with the competition, and if it can actually help you lose weight so that you can decide for yourself if it’s the right fit for you or if you should look elsewhere.
What is Diet to Go?
Diet to Go is a meal delivery service designed specifically for weight loss that claims to be the best because they use fresh ingredients prepared in-house to make healthy, low-calorie meals. While it isn’t as well-known as some other diet plans, Diet to Go has been in the meal delivery business since 1991, so if they’re still in the game more than 20 years later they must be doing something right. They are USDA-certified and approved for food safety by the FDA.
As a company, Diet to Go appears flexible and progressive – they encourage customer feedback and complaints so that they can make their meals better. In 2014, the company actually revamped its menu based on common suggestions from customers.
The rest of this in-depth Diet to Go review will examine if the service is worth the bang for your buck, or if you’re better off spending your money on a different meal delivery program.
If nothing else, Diet to Go is extremely convenient. You don’t have to worry about setting aside time to cook or scrub pots and pans – appropriately portioned meals are sent straight to your door in recyclable packaging.
While this applies to nearly all meal delivery plans, Diet to Go does offer something extra and unique – in addition to home delivery, there are over 200 local pick-up locations across the United States. Because nearly all of these locations are fitness centers, it makes it easier to incorporate exercise into your diet.
While some diet meal delivery plans require you to go out and purchase extra food and buy your own condiments, we like that Diet to Go is all-inclusive – you get everything that you need, from jam for a biscuit to mayonnaise for a sandwich, so your meal budget stays simple.
Cost and Value
To assess the value of anything, you have to know the cost. Is the food you’re getting worth what you’re paying for it? Cost sets an expectation of quality – because fast food is cheap, you know not to expect restaurant quality food, and if you pay $80 dollars for a steak, it better be amazing.
Compared to most other meal delivery services, Diet to Go is relatively inexpensive. The average meal costs about $6.80, which is cheaper than a sit-down restaurant but more than the average fast-food meal or frozen dinner from the grocery store. One full week of meals for one person (3 per day for 7 days) will cost you around $140, plus another $20 to cover shipping costs.
Diet to Go also offers a 5-day plan if you’re looking to save a bit of money or like to go out to eat with friends and family on the weekends. You can also cut the cost by leaving breakfast out of your plan, since a healthy breakfast is relatively cheap and easy to prepare on your own.
Level of Commitment
It’s much easier to start a diet when you don’t have to make a huge commitment, both mentally and financially, so we particularly liked that there were no contracts with Diet to Go – we could quit at any time without having to pay a cancellation fee.
Unlike some other meal delivery plans, you don’t have to pay for an entire month at a time – you pay by the week. So even if you find that you don’t like the food or hit hard times and can no longer afford it, it’s very easy to quit, making it a relatively risk-free endeavor. You can easily pause your deliveries for a few weeks and then start right back up again.
Is The Food Fresh?
Everyone has different taste preferences, but we can all tell whether something is fresh or not. In this next part of our Diet to Go review, we’ll judge to overall quality and freshness of the food.
We were pleased to find out that all Diet to Go meals are prepared in-house and flash frozen using dry ice. Flash freezing helps food resist frost burn, last longer, and eliminates the need for unnatural preservatives, so we can say with certainty that the food is fresh.
But because the food is flash frozen, it needs to be thawed and heated, which can cause some problems if you aren’t careful. For example, some people report that when they heat a meal with vegetables, they can come out a bit soggy. However, when they heated the vegetables separately from the rest of the dish, they came out much better.
How Does The Food Taste?
But what about flavor? No one in their right mind would stick with a diet that tasted like cardboard.
Well, if you’re expecting gourmet, 5-star restaurant food for $6.80 per meal, you might be a bit disappointed. But that’s certainly not to say that the meals aren’t good – Diet to Go was actually ranked by Epicurious as one of the best-tasting diet meal programs out there, along with The Biggest Loser and Chef’s Diet. Of those three, Diet to Go was the most affordable, so it does have the best tasting food in its price range, but do keep in mind that it’s nothing too fancy. Think a good step or two above frozen diet meals at the grocery store, but a step below a restaurant that costs $15 or $20 per meal.
Just like with any restaurant, you’ll find meals that you love and meals that you can’t stand – which is why customization is so important to a meal delivery plan.
Level of Customization
One of the things about Diet to Go we like best is how highly customizable your personal menu is. You can create a menu with or without breakfast, a menu that’s entirely vegetarian, or a menu that avoids a certain type of food that you really just don’t like, such as seafood or Greek. And because deliveries are weekly, not monthly, if you decide you don’t like something, you aren’t married to it.
Diet to Go offers four different menu options – Balance, Vegetarian, Balance-D, and Carb30.
• Balance Menu – The standard menu, this is most affordable and most commonly chosen option.
• Vegetarian – Exactly what it says on the tin – a menu without meat. There are still meals that contain dairy, so it isn’t vegan.
• Balance-D – This menu follows the American Diabetes Association’s guidelines to create a diabetic-friendly selection of low-sodium and low-sugar meals.
• Carb30 – As the name suggests, the Carb30 menu only has 30 net carbs per day. While it is a bit more expensive than the other plans because it’s so heavily concentrated on protein, it’s the most heart healthy option and the fastest way to lose weight.
You can switch your plan at any time, but do keep in mind that the costs vary between them.
Variety of Selection
A varied diet doesn’t just keep your taste buds from getting bored – if you keep putting the same things into your body over and over again, your metabolism will eventually slow down.
To keep things fresh, Diet to Go has their menus on a 5-week rotation. The menu will change every week for five weeks before reverting back to the first week’s menu, so you’re never stuck eating the same old same old.
A common complaint about the menu variety is that they don’t offer any snacks. While most other diet programs offer healthy snack bars to beat cravings between meals, Diet to Go doesn’t.
Is Diet to Go Vegetarian / Vegan /Allergy Friendly?
Meal planning is difficult for everyone, but it’s even harder for vegetarians and vegans and for those who follow certain religious dietary restrictions. Avoiding meat and still getting enough protein in your diet can be a challenge.
Diet to Go does offer meal plans tailored to a vegetarian diet, but it doesn’t offer many vegan options yet. And unfortunately, for those with a gluten intolerance, there aren’t any gluten-free options yet either.
If you just plain don’t like something, or need to cut out a certain meat for religious reasons, it’s easy to avoid it and make substitutions when you’re building your menu for the week. If you have a specific food allergy, each meal has a detailed ingredient list so that you can avoid it.
Does Diet-to-Go Keep You Full?
No matter how healthy the food is, if a diet doesn’t make you feel full, it just won’t work. A good diet shouldn’t make you feel like you’re starving all the time, so does Diet to Go pass the fullness test?
Unlike tiny freezer-aisle meals, our Diet to Go review has found that they serve up some pretty big portions for a diet program while keeping within the daily calorie limit to promote weight loss.
However, if staying full is something you particularly struggle with, then Diet to Go’s Carb30 menu may be the best option for you. Because protein is what keeps your body feeling full throughout the day, the low-carb, high-protein choices on the Carb30 menu like the spicy salmon and spinach salad and pork chop Pomodoro will keep you satisfied longer than some of the Balance menu options.
Will You Actually Lose Weight?
In a tie with taste for the most important part of this Diet to Go review, we examine if the program can actually help you lost weight. On their website, they claim to be able to help you lose 10lbs in 30 days – but is that true?
For the most part, weight loss boils down to calorie intake. There is no one-size-fits-all solution – depending on your gender, weight, and height, you need to consume a certain number of calories to maintain your current weight. So, say you need 2,000 calories a day to maintain your weight – if you start consuming less than that, you’ll eventually start to see results.
Diet to Go does take different body types into account – before you even sign up, they take all those factors listed above (gender, age, etc.) and use them to calculate your BMI, which is then used to recommend the best plan for you. They offer 1200, 1300, and 1600 calorie plans, so if your doctor recommends you eat more than 1600 calories in a day you might need to supplement your meal plan with your own snacks or extra side dishes. This probably goes without saying, but always talk with your physician before starting any diet, especially if you’re diabetic.
While the exact numbers vary, most people on a Diet to Go plan do report losing weight. The average is 1 to 3lbs per week, but how much you actually lose depends on your starting weight – the more you weigh, the easier it is to lose, and the less you weigh, the harder it is. So the “lose 10lbs in 30 days” claim isn’t exactly accurate, but it is possible depending on your body type. And if you aren’t satisfied with the results, it’s easy and fee-free to cancel your subscription.
Support Network and Fitness Component
While Diet to Go doesn’t offer quite as many bells and whistles as some other diet delivery programs when it comes to support, you will have access to advice from a nutritionist, a dietician, a health coach, and an online forum of others on the same diet.
There is very little focus on fitness with Diet to Go. There are no workout plans or fitness diaries, which can be disappointing if you wanted to speed up your weight loss by combining diet with exercise. Of course, you can still do that on your own, it just isn’t integrated into the diet program.
How Does Diet to Go Compare With the Competition?
The growing popularity of meal delivery systems means that there a lot to choose from – so how does Diet to Go stack up against some of its main competitors?
• Nutrisystem costs around $5 per meal compared to Diet to Go’s $6.80, but the difference in price also denotes a difference in quality. Because you get an entire month’s worth of food at once, Nutrisystem meals are processed and packed with preservatives.
• Jenny Craig is a popular celebrity endorsed diet that’s per meal cost is about the same as Diet to Go, but adds on additional membership fees. Jenny Craig places more emphasis on exercise and trainer support.
• BistroMD is another relatively lesser known meal delivery program, but it’s far more expensive than Diet to Go at around $8.50 per meal. However, you do get what you pay for – the meals are highly rated for their overall quality and taste. Unlike Diet to Go, BistroMD does not yet have vegetarian options, but it has recently introduced a gluten-free plan.
The Final Verdict
As we reach the end of our Diet to Go review, let’s recap the main pros and cons.
• Convenient home delivery or local pick-up
• Affordable price and no contracts – quit whenever
• Most people do lose weight
• Fresh ingredients that are flash frozen
• Diabetic friendly options
• 5 rotating menus
• Large portion sizes that keep you full
• Easy to customizable
• Vegetables can become soggy if not heated separately
• Not vegan/gluten allergy friendly
• No snacks
Whether Diet to Go is the best meal delivery plan for you will depend largely on your priorities and dietary restrictions or preferences, but overall the benefits are worth the cost. While it may not have all the extra features that some other diet programs offer, the meals are tasty and the prices are affordable. The fact that they’ve been around for over 20 years and have been able to maintain a good reputation makes Diet to Go a safe choice for anyone looking to start a diet meal delivery program.
Overall score: 4/5
Did you find this Diet to Go review helpful? For more information on meal delivery services, check out our other reviews at Meal Delivery Experts.