Nutrition is a confusing subject for many people. There is often conflicting advice in the media as most sources try to simplify or summarize some very complicated nutrition science findings. A meal delivery program can simplify findings and put advice into practice easier than doing it yourself. However the goal for any type of meal delivery program should be to teach individuals how to eat healthy for life because if that is void, life-long healthy eating habits will be too. As a dietitian, I always encourage clients to find what fits for them and their lifestyle. Often times, a food delivery service is a good fit, but there are factors to consider. Overall, it is a great healthy option that can eliminate planning, thinking and cleaning up.
Finding the Right Meal Delivery Service
Meal delivery companies vary greatly in what they do and don’t offer. Some meal programs will provide only freeze dried or frozen meals, while encouraging you to go out and buy your own fruits and vegetables to add to the plan. Other companies provide everything you need for a certain time period, while other newer companies delivery everything you need to create a healthy meal at home. Some of these meal programs are healthy and some are not. I’ve compiled a few considerations to think about before purchasing any meal delivery service.
Healthy Meal Delivery
A healthy delivery meal service will include all foods, because all foods can fit into a healthy diet. Telling yourself you cannot have a certain food or even worse, a certain food group, will inevitably end up in binge eating and regret. While there are certainly foods that you should eat very rarely, eliminating food groups like grains and/or fruit will never end up giving you a weight loss advantage or balanced nutrition. Any weight loss that is incurred while on this type of diet will come back, with additional weight and a poorer metabolism. Therefore, a healthy meal delivery program should encourage customers to make healthy food swaps for unhealthy foods in the diet, which is a better, healthier and more sustainable change.
Find the Right Plan for Your Needs
Weight loss is hard, but it shouldn’t be tortuous. If your goal is to lose weight with a delivery meal program, it is perfectly okay to feel hungry from time to time but it shouldn’t be torturous. This will eventually change as your body becomes accustom to smaller portion sizes. But if you feel ravenous, you may be restricting calories too much or perhaps you are not eating the right types of foods. Consuming fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein-packed lean meats and low-fat dairy will help you stay full and satisfied without breaking the calorie bank. Some hunger is to be expected, but if those ravenous feelings make you irritable, consider your diet foods and/or calorie goals.
Avoid Extremes of Any Kind
Dieters should avoid anything that doesn’t sound both nutritious and delicious. Because in the long run, if it’s not something you can stick with, then you shouldn’t start in the first place. Typically, dieters cannot stick with freeze dried or frozen meals for an extended period of time, nor should they. These meals are very seldom healthy or satisfying. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be a part of every meal, and they should be foods you like. While it may take some time to fully learn to love fresh tasting, healthy foods, you should find satisfaction in how certain meals and food make you feel.
Research the Possibilities
It is important to do preliminary research on any type of meal program before starting. It is also important to understand your own dietary habits and make sure everything aligns before investing into any type of program. Programs selling frozen foods, like Nutrisystem, often lack the fresh and healthy factor. It’s hard to remain a low sodium and healthy program without fresh foods. And certain programs, like Blue Apron or Plated, provide fresh produce but require cooking at home.
This may be a positive or negative to some, depending on your skill level and time available – it may also not serve your weight loss needs. Other programs, like Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating (SSHE), offer the best of both worlds. SSHE’s meal plans provide fresh and healthy pre-packaged meals twice weekly. The meals include fresh fruits and vegetables, and are completely prepared – no cooking necessary. Additionally, the meals follow diet recommendations set forth by the American Diabetes Association, as well as the American Heart Association, so they accommodate those with chronic health conditions.
Be sure to pick an eating plan you can live with now and learn from for the future. Look for a plan that promises flexibility, balance and activity. These approaches will eventually get you to long-term health goals.
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