I’ve been going over popular health/lifestyle choices these past few weeks, and I thought I would end up this little series with something a bit different. I know there are a million different diets that I didn’t get to, but if I were to go through every single one it would take forever and you would get really bored. Hopefully with this series you have been exposed to a lifestyle that you found interesting as well as learned how to objectively look at a diet and see if it is the right one for you.
Today I am taking a look at meal delivery/replacement services. As you can see from the title, I don’t really view this as a lifestyle choice and I will get into that a little bit later. There are numerous meal delivery services out there, including Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Freshology, and many other brands. Just a quick Google search pulled up a ton I had never even heard of. The basic premise of these programs is that they take care of all food prep for you. They send you all the meals you will eat for the day/week and all you have to do is either heat them up or some other minimal form of prep work. Many of these services also allow you to customize your program for food allergies or intolerances, such as gluten free or dairy free. These programs do all work of figuring out portion sizes and calorie counts so you don’t have to.
I’ll start with the good, which quite frankly isn’t much. I’m not a huge fan of counting calories, but that is a personal preference and I know that for some keeping tabs on how many calories you eat is the best way to stay healthy. These programs make it very easy to keep a close eye on your daily calorie intake since everything is figured out for you. They also help with portion control, which is a big problem lately. We have gotten used to gigantic portion sizes, that we have no idea how much we should actually be eating. With meal delivery programs, they have already portioned out the right amount of food. All you have to do is make sure you only eat the allotted food for each meal.
That is pretty much all I have for the good stuff. In case you couldn’t tell, I am not a huge fan of meal delivery services. My biggest concern is that the food you are receiving is not actual food, but processed food-type things. You all know how I feel about processed “food”. Many of these meals are laden with chemicals and preservatives, both things that are not beneficial to your health whether you lose weight on these systems or not. I know with some of these programs you can supplement with real food, but for the bulk of them you are eating whatever they send you. One other problem with these programs is that you aren’t really learning how to eat better or healthier. You are fully relying on whatever they “cook” or make you, and not gathering the skills to sustain a healthier eating lifestyle. Most of the time you are just giving your microwave a workout. Meal delivery systems aren’t really a sustainable lifestyle choice. Which leads me to my last dislike, these programs are NOT cheap. You are relying on one service or company to provide your food as opposed to being able to shop locally and at various different stores where you can find the best price for your food. Eating well does not have to be an expensive endeavor. I feed my husband and I on usually no more than $50/week and I know others who eat delicious, healthy meals on even less than that. I could be totally wrong, but I don’t think people join Jenny Craig thinking that they will eat their food forever, and when they do decide that they have reached their goal weight, what have they really learned? They haven’t learned how to cook better meals for themselves! They might have learned what a portion looks like, but they probably don’t know how to measure it out on their own. That’s the important part of choosing a certain lifestyle, being able to learn how to make the healthiest choices on your own and be able to sustain the lifestyle for the rest of your life.
I mentioned meal replacements in the beginning, and I just wanted to briefly touch on them. I dislike these even more than meal delivery services. Slimfast, Special K, and any other type of company that makes you swap out a full meal with what pretty much counts as a candy bar or milkshake is not the way to go to be healthier. Sure, you will lose weight. That’s what happens when you don’t eat a real meal. These “programs” are usually used for quick weight loss results (like getting ready for a wedding or wearing a bikini) and aren’t meant to be sustained indefinitely. You’re better off steering clear of these products, as you’re doing your body and your health a huge favor. Trust me.
I know that there are a ton of other lifestyles/diets that I did not cover. But I hope that these have given you some insights into different ways of eating and living and will help steer you in the right direction for your health. When you decide that you want to be healthier, make sure you do a lot of research, ask questions, talk to health professionals, and experiment until you find the best way for you and your life. That is the most important thing! I hope that you all had a fantastic weekend. Adam and I celebrated the beginning of fall by going apple picking and enjoying the fabulous weather! Have a great Monday!