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Do Diet Meal Delivery Plans Work? Pros and Cons

Updated on October 4, 2011
Cheese has derailed more than one diet. Here wheel's are stacked at the Cowgirl Creamery factory-shop in Pt. Reyes Station, CA.
Cheese has derailed more than one diet. Here wheel's are stacked at the Cowgirl Creamery factory-shop in Pt. Reyes Station, CA.

Pros and Cons of Diet Meal Delivery Plans

Do diet meal delivery plans actually work? Or is having a "perfect diet meal" delivered to your door they just one more expensive scam exploiting a nation with weight problems and a cultural appetite for quick fixes?

Well, it depends on the diet delivery plan you choose, of course.

Most weight loss programs work best with some element of support, so whether or not your program includes counseling or support is surely something to consider as you shop for a meal delivery service.

Arguments in favor of diet meal delivery services

There are many pros to signing up for a diet meal delivery service if you are serious about losing weight. These meal delivery programs can be expensive, especially once you add in delivery or FedEx charges. But if a meal delivery program like In The Zone helps you achieve the weight loss results you crave, that might be money well spent. (Of course, that money will be followed by even more money when you go to buy your new, smaller wardrobe!)

Here are reasons to consider signing up for a diet meal delivery service to successfully lose weight:

  • Delivered diet meals remove the guesswork. They contain only a set number of calories, usually under 1,500 calories, and should result in weight loss — so long as you do not cheat.
  • People are busy, and planning meals for a week and then cooking them, which is necessary for a successful diet, can be too much trouble for people who work full time. Diet delivery plans like Zone Diet or Bistro M.D. are perfect for professionals who want to lose weight and are short on time.
  • All this talk of good carbs and bad carbs, good fats and bad fats, low-glycemic diets or Atkins- or Dukan-like all-protein diets gets confusing. You aren't a nutrition expert. How do you know which diet really is the best for losing weight? Many meal delivery programs are designed by a nutritionist, again taking away the guess work.
  • Having your meals all prepared and ready to go could help with self-control and will-power. You know what you will have for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, so you don't have to worry about being weak and making the wrong selection when you buy lunch or are at the grocery store. You also can rid your fridge and cupboards of non-diet foods, since you won't be cooking.

Arguments against Diet meal delivery programs

As simple as they sound, having your diet delivered to your door may not be the answer to your diet prayer. Especially if you think you are apt to cheat or "supplement" the meals that get delivered, you are better off saving your money.

Other reasons to carefully consider a diet delivery program before you sign up to have diet food delivered to your door:

  • You might not feel satisfied. Any diet meal program that delivers prepared or frozen meals to your door is based on a delivering a limited number of calories so you will be calorie deficient and lose weight. To do so, especially if they choose more "indulgent" sounding meals, the actual meal may feel small and you may feel hungry.
  • You may not like the way the food tastes.
  • You may not feel that there are enough fresh fruits or veggies. This could particularly be the case with frozen or packaged meals. Jenny Craig asks you to make your own dinner and to supplement it with fresh vegetables.
  • Meal delivery plans come with dessert, and you may want to use those calories in a different way. Maybe you don't need a sweet end to your meal, but most diet delivery companies give you a sweet treat as dessert. You may want to eat the same number of calories with another, more satisfying or more filling food, but you don't know how many calories, carbs, grams of sugar, grams of fat or protein are in that item, so can't improvise. This lack of control will grate on some people.
  • You do not have a convenient way for the meals to be dropped off at your house or work.

A Guide to Diets that Deliver To Your Home

In the Zone

In the Zone is based on the Zone Diet, in which 40 percent of calories come from carbs, 30 percent from protein and 30 percent from fat, which supposedly is the ideal nutrient mix and promotes weight loss, increases energy and stabilizes insulin levels. This delivery program costs $40 or $50 per day for three frozen meals and two snacks, depending on which plan you choose, plus a $10 delivery charge. You can lose 1 to 1.5 pounds a week.

Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig's plan combines prepared meals that take out the guesswork with some in-person support and counseling and a weekly weigh-in. The program costs about $25 a day if you pick up the packaged foods yourself at a Jenny Craig center, and about $65 a day if you have it delivered to your home. The meal delivery includes three meals and a snack, and you add your own fresh fruits, veggies and dairy. You can lose 1 to 2 pounds a week.


The Nutrisystem diet is based on low glycemic foods, and it costs over $300 for four weeks of non-perishable meals. You can do a cheaper program in which one-third of the meals are frozen. You will lose between 1 and 2 pounds a week.

Bistro M.D.

This delivery program provides portion-controlled frozen meals. The idea here is that the number of calories varies from day to day so that your body doesn't get used to a set number of calories so you don't plateau. It costs around $150 for 5 days of meals or $180 for seven days, along with a $25 delivery charge. You can lose 1 to 3 pounds a week.

Each city will have its own, local services, which may be cheaper and may incorporate more frequent deliveries so more fresh foods. Some other well known national companies that delivered diet meals are:


Diet To Go


Dine Wise


Good luck! Happy hunting....


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