I received a Fresh Diet advertisement in the mail earlier this week. I couldn’t tell you how they got my address, but brava to who ever does their marketing research. The beginning of the year is the most wonderful time for meal delivery companies. Many of us have resolved to lose weight, shape up, and get healthier. And if the research Health magazine reported on still holds true, 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later. Surely this year can be different with the support of fresh, healthy meals delivered to your home. But are they actually good for you?
Yes! Fresh Diet was developed by a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef in 2005 and provides three freshly prepared meals and two snacks daily. The company provides members access to certified dietitians and an online meal planner to ensure that your meal plan fits your specific needs. Chefs Diet is another company that offers a similar product and services. Healthy Chef Creations, based in Florida, has even made the commitment to only using preservative-free, organic, and environmentally conscious foods in their prepared meals.
Margie Greenberg, a registered dietician in Upstate New York says there’s value in which ever program you choose. “It can help those who just want to eat healthy and don't have the time to do the prep work, those trying to take off baby weight, their 5 pound holiday weight gain, or those who genuinely struggle with managing their weight.” But, she warns that “they don’t provide the individualized behavior modification component that is vital to attaining life-long weight management.” Even if these programs do help in the short-term, there’s no guarantee that they will help to influence a healthier diet and lifestyle.
Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietician and author of The Flexitarian Diet, also notes that they don’t teach people long-term the approach to eating and/or preparing their own food.
That’s what makes classes, like those offered by Pravassa in New York and Spork in LA, so valuable. They teach the culinary skills that make it easier to create great tasting meals that will nourish our whole body. As for those remaining lifestyle changes, the Mayo Clinic offers strategies that are anything but fad-worthy: make a commitment, find your inner motivation, set smart realistic goals. This way you can enjoy healthier foods, get active, stay active, and change your perspective. Remember, no matter what wellness goal you’re striving for this year: healthy is a journey, not a destination. - Danielle E. Alvarez