Pre-made meals. Too good to be true?

Before I go away for an extended period (as in more than a weekend), I try to empty the house of all food that could spoil and wreck havoc. That means there are slim pickings the day before we leave and even less upon return. I’ve always thought about making a batch of chili or other freezer meal that I could thaw when I get back, but um, that hasn’t worked out thus far. It’s the thought that counts, right?

This time, though, I was proactive and started researching a few delivery services that specialize in pre-made meals. Because as much as I love my Plated boxes, I knew I wasn’t going to be in any shape to whip up a fancy dinner after 20 hours in the car. Unfortunately, 95% of said services don’t deliver to my area.

With persistence, I stumbled upon GoReadyMade, a company that lets you choose the meals you want while leaving them the dirty work. And, lucky for me – there was a Groupon* that came with a significant discount. This first box included eight meals for $35 (regular price $79.92).

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Milla was so excited to check things out

What I Loved

The Plan – There are several options to fit every need – anywhere from 4-10 meals per delivery.

The Schedule – Pick the delivery days that are best for you and skip the ones that aren’t.

The Options – Select different recipes or all of the same – there are so many choices. Dishes include yummy concoctions like cauliflower mac & cheese, smoky chicken fajitas (pictured below), and sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce.

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The Ease – Many of the meals take less than 5 minutes to heat in the microwave. Just dig in!

The Taste – The dishes were wonderfully seasoned and bursting with flavor. Also, not salty.

The Rewards – You can earn credits when you invite friends to join the service.

What I Didn’t Love

The Calories – Many of the meals are upwards of 700 calories. I try to keep my meals (especially dinner) around 400 calories, so I ended up splitting up several of the meals into two portions and adding a side salad or extra veggie to my plate.

The Size – The meals are advertised as enough for one adult or 1-2 children. The tortellini with tomato sauce was barely enough to keep a toddler full (even my husband remarked on this!), yet had a whopping 750 calories.

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#stillhungry

The Inconsistency – I ordered two portions of the cauliflower mac & cheese, and while one container was nearly full, the other one was only half full. It was disappointing that they weren’t evenly distributed.

The Price – Understandably, you’re going to pay more for convenience, but at this rate, I could pick up burgers and fries for around the same nutritional value and a lot less cash.

Bottom Line: I think there is huge potential for this service, but it just wasn’t for me. While I did like a lot of the features, the calories and price weighed heavily in my stomach. This purchase served as a trial for a long-term solution of incorporating healthy, cost-effective pre-made meals into a weekly rotation. Unfortunately, this service will not be “the one” and the search to give myself a cooking break continues.

 

*Groupon may not be available in all areas and may be subject to change after this posting. Check your local deals for more info!

#chickswholift

If you love to workout, a monthly subscription from Miss Muscle Box is definitely for you. Each themed box comes with seven or more goodies to help you stay motivated and reach your fitness goals – expect a quality tank top, workout guide, and yummy snacks to help you power through or recover from the toughest of workouts. At just $22.99 plus shipping, it’s a great value for the money.

I was lucky enough to receive TWO recent boxes to try out and review. The themes were Dumbbell Damage and Strong is Sexy.

Dumbbell Damage

Treign ‘Squad 1’ Tank- $25
Dumbbell Damage Workout Guide – $10
FATE: CLA Softgels – $9.99
Protes Protein Chips – $4.99
Shanti Bar: Vitality – $3.50
Shanti Bar: Boost – $3.50
Shanti Mini: Recovery – $2.00

Retail Value – $58+

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Strong is Sexy

‘Strong is Sexy’ Limited Edition Singlet – $19.99
‘Strong is Sexy’ Limited Edition Hydracup – $12.99
Explosive Plyos Workout Guide – $10
3 Zoganic FruitZip – $7.50
OhYeah! Victory Bar – $3.00
2 NuGo Slim bars – $7.00

Retail Value – $60+

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My Favorite Items

HYDRACUP– The possibilities are endless with this dual section cup. The most obvious option is to carry your pre- and post-workout formulas in one shaker. But, you can get pretty creative and use one side for your drink and the other for ice, snacks, or storage. You get 28 oz of space on the inside and a motivational message on the outside. It’s also more spacious than a traditional shaker cup. What’s not to love?

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FATE CLA Softgels – Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid naturally found in meat and dairy. Okay, that doesn’t sound so appetizing, but research indicates that it can help decrease body fat and improve lean muscle mass and strength. It may also curb appetite and improve metabolism. That’s great news for someone who is ALWAYS hungry!

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Tanks – You can never have enough workout tops. But at $20 a pop, who can afford to have a closetful? Thankfully, it’s no longer an issue.

Workout Guides – Each box comes with a fun workout guide tailored to that month’s theme. I love these because you can take them anywhere – even on vacation – and don’t need to find a TV, fiddle with a DVD player, or watch videos on a tiny cell phone screen.

Rewards

Get your friends to subscribe to Muscle Box, and you’ll earn $5 off your next box. Just share your unique link as many times as you wish. Your next box could be free!

More Options

Muscle Box – For men who are into fitness

Protein Muscle Box – For men and women looking to get healthy and build muscle.

The bottom line: I love subscription boxes because you get to try out so many different products – some you probably haven’t even heard of. This box is worth every penny. I suggest trying it out for a month or two to see what you think. It would even make a great gift for the fitness lover in your family or group of friends.

Visit Muscle Box for more information or to purchase.

 

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored by Muscle Box. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

Graze on this

Have you heard of Graze?

It’s a subscription box (I love those) company that sends 8 hand-picked snacks straight to your home or office on a schedule you determine.

The company was started by a group of friends who were looking for a healthier way to snack.  They developed over 100 different snacks that are void of high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial flavors and colors, and genetically engineered ingredients.  In other words:  they are pretty good for ya!

Get started by setting up your taste profile – looking at a list of snacks and rating them with “trash,” “try,” “like,” or “love.”  The company aims to fill your box with “love” items.  This is an important part because you CAN’T select your own snacks – you can only customize by taste preferences.

Graze admits that the company “is not suitable for those with allergies, as all of our food is packed in the same place.”  BUT they make the extra effort to allow customers to choose snacks that are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and nut free.  That’s pretty great!  You can also take it a step further and cut out raisins, spicy food, chocolate, or a few other ingredients.  This is definitely not a one size fits all company!

As far as delivery, you can choose to receive a box every week, two weeks, or once a month.  You can also “snooze” a month in case you go on vacation or take a break from snacking.  Yeah right!

There are also a TON of box types to choose from.

  • 8 Snack Variety Box ($11.99) – the taster that lets you try all of Graze’s snacks
  • Sharing Box ($25.00)– 5 bags with 20 portions each; good for a classroom of office
  • Flapjack Box ($6.99) – 4 pack of family recipe rolled oat bars
  • Popkern Box ($11.99) – 8 pack of popcorn & half-popped kernels
  • Sweet Treat Box ($11.99) –8 nutritionist-approved sweet-tooth indulgences
  • Savory Box ($11.99) – 8 snacks inspired by tastes found around the globe
  • Top 20 Box ($11.99) – 8 snacks selected from the top fan favorites
  • Breakfast Box ($11.99) – 8 tasty delights to start off your day
  • Carb Count Box ($11.99) – 8 low-carb snacks for you to enjoy
  • Protein Box ($11.99) – 8 snacks that will sneak a little extra protein into your day
  • Calorie Count Box ($11.99) – 8 snacks under 150 calories that won’t break the bank
  • Sugar Count Box ($11.99) – 8 tasty snacks under 5 grams of sugar

Snacks include fun things like:  snickerdoodle dip with cinnamon pretzel sticks, butterscotch popcorn flapjacks, chili honey almonds and peanuts, garden of England fruit medley, and Chinese shitake soup.  Yum!

And, the best part?  You can try your first box for $1.  I’m not kidding.  You can sign up for Graze’s 4 Snack Variety Box for just a $1 for shipping.  Try it and see what you think.  You can cancel any time after receiving your first box.

You can also go one step further and use code:  LV6LK3Y9B to get your 1st & 5th Graze Box for FREE.  No commitment and cancel anytime.

Happy Snacking!