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Diet To Go vs Magic Kitchen

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DIET TO GO

If you want to slim down while still eating food that tastes good, Diet-to-Go could be the best fit. All of the meals prepared by their chef/dietitian team are ready-to-eat and are created "to make losing weight taste great".

Every plan they offer includes free access to a fantastic array of resources, from registered dietitians and nutritionists to certified health coaches who are available to help you set and reach your goals. They also offer an online community of fellow members, giving you programs and resources to keep up your motivation and inspiration while pursuing better health.

Are you thinking that "diet food" can't possibly taste good? Think again: Diet-to-Go's Prepared Meals won a first-place award from Epicurious, a distinction not earned by a number of well-known brands in the weight loss marketplace. Some of their most popular entrees, as rated by their customers, are the Blackened Salmon, Eggplant Parmesan, and Chicken Marsala, if you're looking for some tried-and-true meals to start with.

When creating your plan with Diet-to-Go, you'll choose among four main menus, which have recipes in a five-week rotation. And, if there are meals in your plan that you would rather not receive, you can swap them out for more appealing entrees.

Every Prepared Meals package is priced based on the options you select:

  • Menu Style: Balance (no red meat or pork), Balance-D (focused on those with Type 2 Diabetes), Keto-Carb30 (carb-restricted), or Vegetarian
  • Original or No Seafood
  • 5 or 7 days per week
  • 2 or 3 meals per day? (2-meal plans do not include breakfast)
  • Women's (1200 calories per day) or Men's (1600 calories per day) - only required for the Balance menu plan.

Going through all of the plans, the lowest option seems to be the Balance package for women (or for those who want a limit of 1200 calories/day), with 2 meals per day, 5 days a week. This was priced at $122/week, and an additional $19.98 for shipping. Certain areas in the US - greater LA, Baltimore, NJ, or metro DC - have pick-up options available if you'd like to save money on delivery.

To save a little more, look for discount options; we saved 15% on our first order when we subscribed to Diet-to-Go's email newsletter. You may see this pop up while browsing the site, or look for it as a promotion.

All of your Prepared Meals need to be refrigerated or frozen once you've received them, because they are flash-frozen and shipped in coolers packed with dry ice. If there are any entrees that don't need refrigeration, you'll find them in a separate box included with your delivery. Unless you freeze your meals (for up to 30 days after delivery), expect that they'll have a 7-day shelf life in the refrigerator.

Diet-to-Go is comparable with top-ranked Prepared Meals providers when it comes to customer-friendly policies. There are no long-term commitments. Plans can be placed on hold or cancelled anytime. You can request a credit, refund, or replacement if you're unsatisfied with their service, no questions asked. Customer comments show that the business is doing a great job of responding promptly when any problems come up. We also saw a pleasantly-surprising number of compliments about the food quality: even though all of the meals are prepared by reheating in the microwave, people say that the food keeps its flavor and doesn't get watery.

Diet-to-Go isn't the service of choice for customers who want to spend time in the kitchen, making recipes from delivered boxes of ingredients. It's also not going to be the first-place winner for those who don't want a calorie-restricted diet. But, for people struggling to lose weight that want to enjoy what they eat - and who prefer not to do the cooking - the Prepared Meals from Diet-to-Go will fit the bill.

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MAGIC KITCHEN

For more than 15 years, Magic Kitchen has made it their goal to offer Prepared Meals for seniors and more. Especially for those who don't have access to pots, pans, or a full kitchen, their flash-frozen, TV dinner-style meals are convenient and come in a variety of menu plans for different dietary needs.

Looking at the options provided by Magic Kitchen under the "Dietary Interest" part of the site, you'll quickly see why this service is so useful for seniors. Menu options include:

  • Diabetic-Friendly
  • Portion Controlled
  • Dialysis-Friendly
  • Renal Diet (CKD 3&4)
  • Dairy-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Low-Fat
  • Low-Sodium
  • Low-Carb
  • Senior Diet
  • Vegetarian

No matter which one you choose, each Prepared Meal typically consists of two sides and an entree. Salmon Caponata with Orzo & Spinach, Eggplant Parmigiana with Polenta & Spinach, and Basil Chicken with Rice & Zucchini Saute are some of the more popular entrees on the menu.

You'll find options for purchasing meals a la carte or as part of a package. If you'd like or order individual Prepared Meals, you'll find them categorized by Mains, Soups, Sides, Desserts, and Snacks. Some of those are listed as "family size", so if you need to have a cake big enough for visitors or want to serve a meal to guests from out of town, you'll be able to do all of your shopping in one place.

To get started with Magic Kitchen, you have to reach out to them by phone or email. While that's definitely less convenient than companies that let you sign up for Prepared Meals online, it's part of their process for getting you a customized package that perfectly meets your needs.

What will it cost? That depends on your unique plan, but here's the sample package offered for reference:

  • Low Sodium/Diabetic/Senior Complete Meal Program for 1 Person
  • 1 complete meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner): $75-$85 for 7 days
  • 2 complete meals (choose two from breakfast/lunch/dinner): $150-$165 for 7 days
  • 3 complete meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner): $225-$250 for 7 days

Signing up for the Magic Kitchen email newsletter could also be helpful. They give you information about special deals, and when we signed up we also got a 10% discount off our next purchase.

As with most Prepared Meals providers, there are no contracts or commitments with your plan. Deliveries can be shipped automatically on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. And, you can select the individual entrees in your plan or have them selected for you by Magic Kitchen staff according to the dietary parameters you've indicated.

All of your meals are prepared in and shipped from the Magic Kitchen warehouse in Kansas; they come packaged in dry ice in a recyclable, reusable Styrofoam container. Unfortunately, you have to pay at least $18 to $20 in shipping costs; your final cost is determined by the weight of your package and your zip code.

We appreciate the company's satisfaction guarantee. Should any of your meals arrive in bad condition or spoiled in any way, it will be replaced at no extra charge. And, if any of the Prepared Meals aren't 100% delicious, you can either ask that it be replaced in your next order or that you receive a store credit. Magic Kitchen aims for round-the-clock phone coverage for any questions or concerns, with primary business hours of 7:30A-11:30P Central every day.

Now, for the most important question: how do the Prepared Meals actually taste? Customer responses are a mixed bag. For some customers, especially within Magic Kitchen's primary audience (namely, senior citizens needing healthy meals that are simple to prepare), they and their caregivers say that it's been a good fit. But, others not in that particular group have complained that the meals get watery after being reheated, and that the unappetizing photos of the entrees are an accurate representation of how they taste. Plus, given that the meals have an average cost per serving of $12 or more, they're often disappointing for people wanting more than a reheat-and-eat Prepared Meal.

Magic Kitchen is a good resource for seniors and people who have a specific dietary plan to follow, who want the convenience of TV dinner-style meals that are also healthy. But, their Prepared Meals are priced on the higher end of the spectrum, and they're probably not too appealing for younger customers who want fresh ingredients and new recipes to try in the kitchen.

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Best Prepared Meals

To help you find the Best Prepared Meals, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Diet To Go and Magic Kitchen.

Who has the best Prepared Meals? How many times have you come home after a long day and stared blankly at your refrigerator or pantry, trying to figure out what to eat? Or stopped at the drive-thru for fast food because the thought of coming up with something for dinner was just too much?

You're not alone. For people who'd like the convenience of fast food with the benefits of home cooking, Prepared Meals are the answer. For every imaginable palate and preference, there's a prepared meal service that can help. Several of today's most popular services send you high-quality, often organic ingredients - including fresh produce like shallots and herbs - saving you the hassle of planning your meals and going to the store.

If you have a loved one that needs to start eating a special diet for diabetes or other medical issues, you can choose a prepared meals company that offers ready-to-reheat meals packaged similarly to a TV dinner and that have been carefully created by nutritionists specifically for that condition.

On the other hand, maybe you've been tasked with bringing a mind-blowing main course to an important company function, but your skills in the kitchen are limited to boiling water and burning toast. No problem: just choose a Prepared Meals service that focuses on gourmet-level, special occasion entrees like chicken cordon bleu or even surf-and-turf.

When deciding which company is a good fit for your delivery of Prepared Meals, you'll soon notice that there's a wide variety to choose from. How do you select the one that's best for you? Here are some things to consider as you look at each service:

  • Menu. What does the provider offer? Can you choose from many different plans, like Vegetarian or Mediterranean? If you're trying to meet a special dietary need, like gluten-free or keto-friendly, will there be options for you? Does the type of Prepared Meals they send - reheat-and-eat vs. some cooking required - work for your situation?
  • Price. What will it cost to get your Prepared Meals? Can you choose to buy specific entrees a la carte, or do you have to buy a package?
  • Amount of Food. If you have a large family, is there a plan that will satisfy everyone? Are the serving sizes enough to fill you up?
  • Customer Service and Reputation. What have other people said about the experience of buying Prepared Meals from this business? Are packages delivered on time, with ingredients that are still fresh and properly refrigerated? If not, does the company's customer service department respond appropriately with a refund or credit?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Prepared Meals Delivery Companies available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right company to deliver the kind of meals you want, directly to your doorstep!



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