What Are Meal Subscription Services?
Are you an employee or a student that devotes most of their time to work or an individual with no cooking skills up your sleeve? Well, fret not! This is where a meal subscription service comes into play.
Often referred to as food or meal deliveries, a meal subscription service delivers high-quality, healthy foods to your door instead of you having to go out or spend money at restaurants.
For this reason, various meal subscription services have been gaining popularity within the past decade. They offer a variety of healthy and delicious meals wrapped in high-quality packaging and delivered straight to your doorstep.
Benefits of Using a Meal Subscription Service
Now that we have a general idea of what food subscription plans are, here are some reasons why you should switch to these services rather than ordering takeout:
Junk foods or fast foods from restaurants are very unhealthy. While containing many calories, they can be quite pricey as well. Comparatively, meal kits not only ensure that the food you are eating has the desired amount of calories, but it also saves time and isn’t very heavy on the pocket.
Signing up for a meal subscription service means focusing more on other aspects of your lifestyle. You don’t have to worry about what time you eat your next meal or where you will get food from. Instead, you can spend those precious hours working on your life goals – live your life at your convenience!
Customize Your Meals According to Your Diet
If you are someone who is on a special diet or is planning to go on one, a meal service is what you need. They fetch all the right ingredients you need, calculate your macros, and provide you with nutritional data labeled right on top. This way, you can target your specific needs alongside working on your fitness goals!
Besides these bullets, we love meal subscription services because of the following reasons:
- Easy preparation
- Nutritional value and taste
- How much it reduces food waste
You don’t have to worry about cooking or preparing meals from scratch anymore nor live your life on leftovers!
Comparing Nutrisystem and Freshly
Speaking of meal kit services, two companies that have been expanding rapidly in recent years are Nutrisystem and Freshly.
Nutrisystem was created by 34-year-old Harold Katz in 1972. The system was inspired by his mother’s struggles regarding obesity. Thus, the goal of Nutrisystem is more inclined toward aiding weight loss and helping people lead happy and healthy lives. Meal kits may be purchased at various stores such as Costco. However, customers prefer buying products directly from their website which allows access to a greater number of products. Nutrisystem is a popular choice among customers who wish to lose weight quickly.
Freshly, on the other hand, was founded in 2012 by Michael Wystrach and Carter Comstock. It mainly targets busy bodies with little to no time for cooking. It provides its clients with both foods that are healthy and nutritious to make sure that you are consuming a healthy balanced diet as well as foods that aid in losing weight.
Pricing and Shipping
There is no doubt that Nutrisystem and Freshly both offer great discounts and are relatively a lot more cost-effective than regular grocery shopping.
Nutrisystem offers you three different pricing plans as per your budget and dietary requirements. The basic plan is the most affordable of all. However, it provides you with the least flexibility. Meanwhile, it also has a 4-week plan starting at $9.99/day for women and $11.64/day for men.
If you wish to get more flexibility and a larger number of meal options, The Uniquely Yours plan is perfect for you as it offers 150+ menu choices and starts at $12.14/day for women and $13.99/day for men.
The Uniquely Yours MAX plan is a tad bit more expensive, starting at $13.57/day for women and $14.64/day for men. It is a perfect choice for you if you wish to customize your meals to create your desired menu by mixing and matching ingredients according to your taste and dietary requirements.
The company sells protein shakes, snacks, and side dish bundles as add-ons at an additional cost. It also offers a money-back guarantee which is limited to first-time clients only who purchase a 4-week plan. Another plus point is that it provides free shipping across the continental USA.
Freshly, on the other hand, has a slightly different pricing criteria:
- 4 meals per week cost $11.79 per meal.
- 6 meals per week cost $9.99 per meal.
- 9 meals per week cost $9.49 per meal.
- 12 meals per week cost $8.99 per meal.
Freshly also offers side-ons at an additional cost that ranges from $0.99 to $4.99. Unlike Nutrisystem, Freshly does not offer free delivery. Delivery charges are based on the number of meals you order per week. Thus, the greater the number of meals, the lower the shipping fee. The shipping fee usually ranges from $9.99 to $11.99.
Freshly and Nutrisystem both use real, fresh, and very high-quality ingredients. Their recipes are a mixture of whole grains, veggies, and proteins along with antioxidants. However, the meal plans and menus that both services provide are considerably different.
Freshly’s menu offers the following categories, from which you are free to choose which category serves your dietary requirements the best:
This plan is for vegetarians and provides meals that are 100% plant-based and dairy-free. It only contains healthy plant-based recipes with no extra added preservatives and additives.
This plan contains meals that consist of major allergy-causing ingredients including dairy products. This collection mostly deals with meals that are required by an average person for a healthy balanced diet.
This plan mostly contains meals for people who wish to lose weight. The dishes are enriched with proteins, whole grains, and veggies. Furthermore, it contains recipes that have low-carb content to keep your sugar levels under control.
Proteins & Sides
This plan appeals to your health-conscious side as it contains meals such as Grilled Chicken Breasts, Mac & Cheese, Baked Turkey, and much more.
On the other hand, Nutrisystems provides its clients with six meals per day. Each meal is constructed according to the plan you have chosen. If you choose The Uniquely Yours plan, experts will create a food plan according to your food preferences, body type, and goals. Moreover, The Uniquely Yours Ultimate plan provides you access to more than 160 finger-licking menu options including frozen dishes.
A sample menu plan may include the following:
- Breakfast: Cherry Cheese roll and glass of low-fat milk
- Snack 1: Pistachios
- Lunch: ½ Turkey Sandwich and garden salad
- Snack 2: Low-fat string cheese and orange slices
- Dinner: Margherita Pizza and carrot sticks
- Snack 3: Low-fat yogurt and strawberries
The only downside of Nutrisystem is that it does not provide gluten-free meals, but there is still a lot to choose from!
Both Nutrisystem and Freshly use fresh and very high-quality ingredients.
Nutrisystem offers packaged meals as well as other foods that you can purchase which include protein-rich foods, for example, nuts, lean meats, legumes, tofu, seeds, and meat substitutes. Carbs and veggie options offered by Nutrisystem include spinach, kale, broccoli, salad greens, carrots, cabbage, asparagus, mushrooms, radish, turnips, onions, cauliflowers, etc. The company also provides its clients with a multitude of fresh fruits and meat types. Examples include chicken, beef, turkey, pork, etc.
Likewise, Freshly also aims to find the perfect balance of high-quality food that is free from artificial ingredients and processed sugars.The company offers veggie and meat options that are similar to the ones Nutrisystem offers, but the menus and the dishes it provides are different from Nutrisystem. Freshly goes one step further to ensure meats that are free from fillers and chemical additives and preservatives.
Nutrisystem and Freshly both successfully satisfy the appetite of clients with contrasting dietary preferences by offering meal options that appeal to everyone.
Along with plans mentioned earlier, Nutrisystem also allows its customers to select their meal plan, namely, the Standard Meal Plan which is targeted toward weight loss, Nutrisystem D which is a meal plan that provides high protein and fiber meals to clients that have diabetes type 2, and the Vegetarian Plan which, as the name suggests, does not contain meat dishes but may feature dairy products.
Similarly, Freshly also offers meal options for calorie-conscious clients along with chef-crafted meals that contain less than 20 g of carbs in their carb-smart category. Another plus point is that it offers gluten- and dairy-free dishes as well.
Do They Offer Keto, Paleo, and Low-Carb Plans?
Currently, Nutrisystem does not offer a Paleo- or Keto-specific plan. However, it does provide its customers with various Paleo and Keto meal options, for example, Turkey Sausage and Egg Muffin, cheesesteak pizza, etc. You can add up to four Keto-friendly meals each day to your order.
On top of that, the company has replaced the concept of a low-carb diet with that of a smart-carb one. They offer dishes that are high in proteins and fiber, healthy fat, and good carbs. Thus, it can be said that their meals aren’t exactly low in carbs. Nevertheless, these diets have successfully helped people lose weight without feeling hungry.
As for Freshly, FreshlyFit, the healthier offshoot of Freshly, provides its clients with delicious Keto and Paleo-friendly meals. The company even provides Keto versions of comfort foods such as shepherd’s pie with cauliflower mash and other delicious meals such as chicken with pesto cream sauce.
Unlike Nutrisystem, Freshly offers a specific low-carb diet plan. The plan offers nutrient-dense dishes with less than 20 g of carbs and essential dietary fibers that keep you fuller for a longer time. For instance, their famous Chicken Parm features gluten-free almond flour instead of breadcrumbs which have a high carb content.
Both Nutrisystem and Freshly offer vegetarian plans.
Nutrisystem’s Vegan Plan, like the name suggests, is fully plant-based but may feature dairy products such as eggs, cheese, etc. However, each meal is loaded with nutrition and taste. For instance, Nutrisystem’s Vegan Plan may offer you Spinach and Cheese Pretzel Melt for lunch, which features the following:
- Protein/meal: 12g
- Carb/meal: 32 g
- Calories/meal: 230 cal
- Time to cook: 28–30 minutes to bake
Freshly, also offers a Vegetarian Plan known as Purely-Plant, which offers 100% plant-based meals that contain neither meat nor dairy products. Freshly’s Purely Plant offers various dishes, for example, Unwrapped Salsa Verde Burrito, which features the following:
- Protein/ meal: 11g
- Carb/meal: 58g
- Calories/meal: 400 cal
Cooking Skills Required
Meals from Freshly and Nutrisystem hardly require any cooking since the meals come prepared and cooked by the companies. However, they do require heating.
Nutrisystem offers an abundance of delicious chicken dishes packed with proteins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
Their Bourbon-Style Chicken features a hearty amount of seasoned chicken, roasted potatoes, and crisp vegetables. The dish incorporates the following:
- Protein/serving: 25g
- Carbs/serving: 30 g
- Calories/serving: 360 cal
- Time to cook: heat for 9 minutes
Freshly also offers some mouthwatering chicken protein meals.
Their Very Verde Chicken contains lean, grilled chicken sliced in pesto sauce, loaded with kale, basil, and cashew butter. The meal houses the following:
- Protein/serving: 40g
- Carbs/serving: 11g
- Calories/serving: 470 cal
- Time to cook: Bakes for 30 minutes
Nutrisystem and Freshly offer various delectable beef dishes packed with proteins, vitamins, etc.
Nutrisystem’s Hearty Beef Stew contains tender beef chunks, potatoes with delicious carrots, and peas. It consists of the following:
- Protein/serving: 13g
- Carbs/serving: 11g
- Calories/serving: 150 cal
- Time to cook: 60 seconds
Freshley’s Slow Cooked Beef chilli is packed with proteins. This flavorful dish is simmered with onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and celery. It contains the following:
- Protein/serving: 28 g
- Carbs/serving: 30 g
- Calories/serving: 470 cal
- Time to cook: 3 minutes
The menu options offered by both companies allow their users to enjoy not only chicken, beef, and turkey dishes but also offer them the delights of seafood which is low in fat and rich in proteins.
Nutrisystem’s delicious Cajun-Style Chicken And Shrimp Sauté allows the clients to enjoy the goodness of both chicken and shrimp tossed in creamy cajun-inspired sauce. The meal contains the following:
- Protein/serving: 24 g
- Carbs/serving: 48 g
- Calories/serving: 350 cal
- Time to cook: 9 minutes
Freshly’s Cuban Mojo Shrimp contains paprika and cayenne-seasoned shrimp tossed over in their Cuban-inspired mojo sauce served with carb-smart riced cauliflower with hints of cilantro, garlic, and lime. The delicacy contains the following:
- Protein/serving: 31 g
- Carbs/serving: 20 g
- Calories/serving: 410 cal
- Time to cook: 3 minutes
Do They Accommodate Food Allergies?
Nutrisystem does not accommodate food allergies, such as peanuts or soybean allergies, nor does it offer a plan for clients on a vegan diet. However, it does allow you to filter out certain ingredients while searching for meals.
Freshly, on the other hand, does accommodate food allergies such as dairy products, peanuts, gluten, etc. All you need to do is to filter out the allergen ingredients while ordering your food.
How Easy Is It to Order?
It is fairly easy to order from either of the companies.
For Nutrisystem, all you have to do is this:
- Create your own Nutrisystem account.
- Sign up for any of the three plans mentioned earlier.
- Add the meals of your choice to your cart.
- You will then be directed to a page where you will have to enter your name, email address, Nutrisystem password, and other details including your shipment details.
For Freshly, all you have to do is this:
- Enter your email address and zip code in the signup box on the homepage of Freshly’s website.
- Pick your meal plan.
- Pick your delivery day from the available days mentioned. The day chosen will be a weekly delivery day unless changed.
- Pick the meals of your choice.
- Add your contact information, delivery address, and payment details.
Can I Skip a Box or Cancel My Subscription?
Nutrisystem does not allow you to skip a box, but it does allow you to cancel your order. If you wish to cancel an order or cancel your subscription, you must call their cancellation toll services on the number displayed on their website (1-800-585-5483) at any time before 6:00 pm EST. That is a day before your order is processed.
If you cancel your order or your subscription after the 14-day money-back guarantee period and before you’ve paid for your second shipment, your preferred payment method will transfer a cancellation fee of $125 to Nutrisystem.
Contrastingly, Freshly does allow you to skip your boxes and cancel your subscription.
If you wish to skip a meal, all you have to do is the following:
- Go to the Freshly website or app.
- Find the deliveries you’d like to skip under “Upcoming deliveries.”
- Press Skip Delivery and confirm.
Freshly also allows you to cancel your subscription by going to Settings and clicking the Cancel Subscription link under My Subscription.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Even though both Freshly and Nutrisystem are helpful and one of the most popular meal delivery services, they both have some benefits and negatives.
- More than 150 menu options.
- Eat up to six meals a day
- Excellent option if you wish to lose weight.
- May improve blood sugar regulation.
- Provides free shipping on specific orders.
- Enjoy a large variety of meal options for diabetics and vegetarians.
- Not suitable for pregnant ladies, people with chronic kidney diseases, food intolerances, and people following a specific diet.
- Longer delivery time may take up to 4–10 days to deliver your order.
- Limited subscription plans are available.
- Offers creative plant-based dishes.
- 30+ meal options are available.
- Packaging is recyclable.
- Accommodates allergies.
- Relatively smaller portions
- Lesser meal options as compared to Nutrisystem
- Does not allow users to modify their meals
- No breakfast or snack options
Is the Packaging Eco-friendly?
Yes, both Freshly and Nutrisystem utilize eco-friendly, recyclable, and biodegradable packaging.
Both Freshly and Nutrisystem’s websites have an extremely user-friendly GUI that allows the client to easily navigate through the meal catalog. They also have specialized search options to filter and search meals according to your preferences.
Nutrisystem is ideal for people who wish to lose weight or believe that meal programs work for them, while Freshly is ideal for people who wish to eat healthier meals and are finding an alternative to unhealthy fast foods or grocery-prepared meals.
Even though Freshly offers fewer meal options than Nutrisystem, we believe that Freshly might be better for busy customers as compared to Nutrisystem. This is because Freshly entertains both people who wish to eat healthily or lose weight. Furthermore, Freshly is affordable as well, proving itself to be a perfect choice for people on a limited budget.