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WIAW 88: A Week of Eats

Posted May 01 2013 6:00am
Happy May 1! In Germany , it's Labor Day.

But I don't have the day off, since I live in Boston . :P

This WIAW, the first of the new month (and the month in which summer break starts - I'm done as of the 19!) comes to you courtesy of Diet to Go .

Diet to Go - Healthy Eating Made Easy

Diet to Go is a meal delivery service that, despite the name, isn't just for dieters. They offer choices of a 1200 and a 1600 calorie meal plan and, if you're not trying to lose weight, you can add snacks to the 3 square meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) that they send you.
Diet to Go Tomato-Veggie Casserole
If you are trying to lose weight, their meals are designed such that you don't have to buy anything. The meals include fruits and vegetables, so you don't even need to buy those! Though if you do want salad, I think you might need to buy that (there wasn't any with any of the meals that I received).

Diet to Go Claire's Quinoa Salad

Menus change week-to-week and you can choose to get a low-carb plan, a vegetarian plan, or a traditional low-fat plan. I chose the vegetarian plan, of course!

Another thing that I really liked was that you can s ee the menu ahead of time online and, if there's anything that doesn't really strike your fancy, you can substitute that meal for another one in the same category. That means that you can't substitute a lunch meal with a breakfast meal (probably to keep the healthful balance of foods that they plan out) but you can substitute a breakfast meal with another breakfast meal.

Because I'm one of those annoying picky people who likes everything my way, and to see if they can actually deal with multiple substitution request, I substituted two meals in each category with alternatives.

They got it right most of the time. They forgot to include the blueberry pancakes meal (or anything in its place), as well as the veggie pizza meal (or anything in its place).

I'd also asked for the yogurt & granola breakfast meal, but all that I got was the yogurt. It was a nice touch that they went for organic yogurt, though!

Anyway, logistics aside - let's get to the food!

Peas and Crayons

It arrived in two boxes - a large cooler box with the frozen meals and a smaller box with the pantry-safe foods.

For me, that included the fruits, orange juice, crackers, flatbread, and condiments. I moved these to the fridge, because I like my fruit chilled.

I was pleasantly surprised by the portion size of the meals! Despite the promise that the service works for maintenance, as well, I was a bit worried that the meals would be tiny little dieter's portions and do nothing to sate my (rather large) appetite. 
But all of the meals were in nice, healthy portions that actually did satisfy me! And even frozen, the meals looked promising.

Diet to Go Bean Burrito Dinner

One possible drawback is that the meals aren't clearly labeled for when they're meant to be eaten. If you're using the service to try to drop some weight, that could be a bit impractical (though the day-by-day plans are accessible in the online menu managing tool and there are both heating instructions and full nutrition labels (with ingredients) on each package. I thought that was a nice touch!
Though I was less than impressed by some of the ingredients. They use pretty much exclusively refined flour (aka: white flour) when it really wouldn't be that tough to make the muffins/pizza/burrito wrapper/bread whole grain! I also didn't like seeing corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils in their foods and thought that, for a service that prides itself on providing healthy meals, they could really do a better job on changing some of those things.
But they're definitely good at providing tasty meals that you want to eat. I didn't eat them in any sort of order and I did eat my own foods in between them, as dictated by convenience, since I wasn't trying to lose weight.
I started with the black bean soup.

Like the rest of their meals, it should take only about 2-3 minutes to warm up in the microwave. My dinky old microwave is on its last legs, however, so it took it more like 6-7 minutes. But the soup was absolutely delicious, though a tiny bit salty for my taste, and very hearty and filling. They also included plenty of vegetables (most notably the bell peppers) in the soup, which I really enjoyed. And there's a soft, doughy pretzel to dunk into the soup and a mandarin pudding cup for dessert!

Again, I would have preferred if the pretzel were whole grain and the pudding didn't have corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils in it. Still, the meal was tasty, filling, and a solid 590 calories.

The Chugwater Chili meal blew the Black Bean Soup meal out of the water, good as it was. The chili was delicious and the texture was absolutely spot-on. It was filling, delicious, and accompanied by a roll with cream cheese, a slice of string cheese (which I think may have actually belonged to the Black Bean Soup meal...) and a low fat chocolate pudding cup.

Diet to Go Chugwater Chili

Obviously anything involving chocolate already has my vote.

Since the wrap in the Grilled Veggie Burrito meal is a bread product, it's probably best warmed up in the oven. I was hungry, however, so I nuked it in the microwave and was pleasantly surprised to find that the wrap didn't get too soggy!

It still would have been a bit messy to eat without utensils, so I used a fork and knife. There's a side of creamy polenta (also tasted, though not exceptional). The dish normally comes covered in shaved cheese, but I removed what I could before microwaving it, as my stomach doesn't do well with cheese.

The wrap is nice and thick, so it's really doughy (almost like pizza), but the veggies inside are also really flavorful and aren't overwhelmed by the wrap. I especially liked the generous slices of eggplant - roasted eggplant is so delicious!

Also worth noting is that this is one of the few dishes that incorporated whole grains and it tasted all the better for it. I hope they'll make the switch from refined grains in more of their dishes!

The Bean Burritos meal also had whole grain wraps and used brown rice in its spanish rice side, which I appreciated. It was tasty and definitely a sufficient portion, but I preferred the Grilled Veggie Burrito meal. Though I did love that this one came with really fresh broccoli and cauliflower that steamed up delightfully and tasted great with the little cup of salsa!

The Tomato-Veggie Casserole was also quite tasty, though there was a bit much cheese for me.

Underneath are a variety of veggies  (potatoes, tomatoes, onions, etc.) in a tasty tomato sauce.

And I really enjoyed the side of cous-cous!

Another savory meal that I really enjoyed was the soy creole.

Brown rice, yay!

And okay, so I'm a bit of a five-year-old gustatorily, but I really enjoyed the soy chicken nuggets.

Random other snapshots

Gotta love your veggie burger! I appreciated that the bun was partially whole wheat and the salsa (you can see a bit on the side) was really flavorful.

The peach crisp (a dessert with one of the meals) was unexciting and the granola was soggy and minimal, but it was still good enough (just not particularly memorable). I ate it warm, with the last raspberry sprinkles from the bottom of a bag of frozen raspberries (my own, not included in the service).

The meltovers are like pita pizzas - but the tomato slices tasted really fresh! Yum.

Lest you think the service is all about the savoury daytime meals, let me share my breakfast food experiences with you, too.

The muffins were both sweet and delicious (I had strawberry banana and cranapple) and came with orange juice, a piece of really fresh fruit (not frozen), and some cream cheese/Laughing cow (respectively).

 It's a smaller breakfast than I'm used to, but fine with an earlier lunch (or a good mid-morning snack).

For a lot of people, it would probably be a totally adequate muffin, as the muffins are your standard continental breakfast size (not mega-muffin size, but like something you might find on a buffet line).

But since I'm a voracious breakfast-eater, I enjoyed the muffins as a snack.

The baked cinnamon bar was also quite tasty. On the menu planner it was labeled as a baked cinnamon bar and on the package it was labeled as a power bar.

Of the two options, it was definitely more of a baked cinnamon bar type thing. It was hearty and tasty, with a texture that was like a cross between a muffin and a scone (and it was scone-like in shape, approximately the size of my palm).

The cinnamon bar meal was probably the most filling breakfast that I received.

Again, best with some cream cheese or a laughing cow wedge.

If you want to try Diet to Go for yourself, they're running a promotion where you can get a discount for referring friends/family that want to try it with you.

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