Diet services cater to countless eating and health habits, but to choose the right option, you need to dig deeper than what’s at face value. With a name like “Fresh n’ Lean,” it seems like there wouldn’t be much to complain about. We delved into the key factors — and salivated over the menu photos — to help you make a more educated decision.
How Fresh n’ Lean Works
The Fresh n’ Lean meal delivery service advertises itself as a health-conscious, straightforward alternative to other options. Subscribers receive a box of meals each Friday, but you can select from the A La Carte menu to sample whatever’s currently available.
As its name implies, this service offers fresh fare, and the meals you receive will be packaged with cold packs in vacuum-sealed trays.
Although you can freeze them for up to eight weeks, Fresh n’ Lean advises simply refrigerating them for as long as 7 to 10 days.
If you freeze your meals, you’ll want to let them thaw for up to 48 hours before digging in.
With most of these meals, all you have to do is heat them. Unlike some meal services, you don’t have to add extra ingredients, although choosing to dump fresh fruit into the breakfast granola or supplement your dinners with side salads is up to you.
What You Can Expect From Your Fresh n’ Lean Meals
This service advertises its meals as being chef-prepared from local, fresh ingredients. This means that the items on the menu reflect what’s in season, which should appeal to those trying to minimize their environmental impacts.
The company offers five distinct meal plans that all include exclusively organic vegetables:
- Protein +: This plan consists of some form of animal protein with every lunch and dinner meal along with whole grains and vegetables.
- Paleo: The paleo diet features animal products and vegetables. It excludes legumes and grains entirely.
- Keto: This subscription includes animal proteins with all entrees and combines larger quantities of healthy fats with high-fiber ingredients.
- Plant-based: This fully vegan option features plant-based proteins, whole grains and vegetables.
- Low-carb/low-calorie plant-based: This vegan-suitable plan features two plant-based meals daily. One meal includes grains, and the other doesn’t.
This company seems to update its menu weekly based on what’s in season near its Anaheim, CA, headquarters.
Users can, however, customize their orders to an extent.
For instance, the online ordering system lets you add extra snacks or bulk ingredient items to any order. This feature might not prove so helpful for those who have trouble sticking to strict diets, but it helps that the snack options are also healthy.
One nice aspect of Fresh n’ Lean is that it seems very willing to accommodate people’s habits. For example, you can submit allergy information and other essential details with your order to make the most of the experience.
You can also let the company know how you feel by reviewing the meals you receive.er
Fresh n’ Lean’s prep service appears to pay close attention to the details that go into healthy diets. The meals are made fresh from scratch, and the company forbids its chefs from using cooking methods like frying in favor of steaming and baking. The ingredients are also non-GMO, and they exclude processed or artificial foods.
All of this service’s meals are completely free of soy, gluten and dairy.
The animal products are free of antibiotics or hormones, and the firm advertises itself as being committed to working with humane, sustainable farming partners.
The plant-based ingredients are locally grown, although “local” might constitute a wide area considering the firm’s SoCal location near the country’s most significant agricultural zones.
Dietitians approve the meals you’ll receive here, but the company notes that some customers may want to add supplements to their diets. Conveniently, the A La Carte menu includes a variety of healthy snacks, such as almonds and sesame chips, to help cover some of these needs.
Breakfast — Golden Raisin Pepita Oatmeal
This 400-calorie breakfast includes gluten-free rolled oats, golden raisins, pepitas, almonds and maple syrup. With 11 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat and just 10 mg of sodium, it’s not a bad way to start the day. It’s also relatively high in iron and potassium, and you can get a similar option with zante currants and cranberries instead.
Lunch — Sesame Pasta Salad
This brown rice pasta recipe comes in at only 370 calories, but it provides 16 grams of protein and 20 percent of your recommended daily iron. It’s a nice alternative to the standard tomato-based pasta dishes in that it includes cabbage, yellow squash, tamari, ginger and other exciting flavors.
Dinner — Curried Chickpeas and Spinach
This dish delivers 20 grams of protein in about 460 calories. It also includes almost half of your daily iron intake and 20 percent of your daily calcium. Like most Fresh n’ Lean meals, it’s low in fat, although its 470-mg sodium content is a bit higher than some of the other options on the menu.
Fresh n’ Lean delivers to all U.S. locations except for P.O. boxes, which makes sense because you probably don’t want your meals sitting around getting warm at the local post office. The vacuum-sealed meals are housed in styrofoam that keeps them cold, and everything comes via UPS or FedEx — along with tracking numbers.
You can’t get meals shipped during the weekends, but considering that you never have to spend anything on shipping, this is a small price to pay.
Delivery is also relatively speedy, with subscriptions rolling out weekly for Friday arrivals.
A La Carte orders usually take two days to arrive when placed before the 1:30 cutoff times on Monday through Wednesday.
While you don’t have to be around to receive your order, it’s probably best tohave someone there to put it in the fridge as soon as possible.
Fresh n’ Lean subscriptions vary in price. The vegan options are at the most affordable end of the spectrum, running at around $8 to $10 per meal.
The other subscription options are slightly pricier at around $11 per meal. If you want to eat from the A La Carte menu, you’ll notice that the per-meal prices are still in the same ballpark, but you’ll need to hit the minimum total of $85 to place an order.
Again, this service won’t charge shipping fees unless you elect to get your subscriptions on a day other than Friday.
One convenient aspect of Fresh n’ Lean is that subscribers don’t have to receive every meal. When you select your plan, you can pick your preferred combination of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Choosing just one of the three is an excellent way to control what you spend while you see if you like the service.
Food for Thought
This service seems serious about meeting a wide range of dietary needs and being a socially responsible company. For instance, its boxes include water-soluble ice packs that you can pour out into the sink, and almost all of the packaging is recyclable. The trays are also BPA-free.
Fresh n’ Lean’s focus on fresh ingredients and seasonal fare makes it an excellent choice for those considering meal services and their health. Its dietician-planned weekly menus should also appeal to those in search of diet inspiration.