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When it comes to the best meal delivery kits, I’ve tried so many. I’m someone who likes to cook (and likes to eat even more), but I’m also a busy working mom, and my goal of serving family meals that are healthy, filling, and varied doesn’t always mesh with my need for fast and easy. Sometimes (okay, lots of times) fast and easy wins.
For a while, meal-kit delivery subscriptions seemed like the solution, but while they frequently ticked the “healthy,” “filling,” and “varied” boxes, they weren’t always fast or easy. A butternut squash and kale lasagna recipe from one company was indeed delicious — but when I pulled a whole butternut squash out of the box, I knew I wasn’t looking at a weeknight dinner. So when I got the opportunity to try Factor 75 — a meal service that delivers healthy, prepared meals right to your door — I was game. A week’s worth of ready-made lunches and dinners that I could pop into the microwave whenever someone in my house was hungry? Sign me up!
Like many other meal delivery services, Factor lets you customize your meals each week, as well as choose the number you want to receive. Options range from just four Factor meals per week (at a price of $15 each) to 18 meals per week (which gets the price down to $11 apiece). But since you’re choosing individually prepared meals, as opposed to one meal to cook for your whole family, you can truly curate your box to meet everyone’s preferences. Suddenly vegan teenager? Keto-curious partner? No problem! Factor meals are divided into different categories: Keto, Calorie-Smart, Vegan + Veggie, and Chef’s Choice — and you can purchase add-ons like desserts, juices, smoothies, and extra proteins, so there’s another way to ensure everyone will be happy.
To that end, let me just say: Factor meals are delicious. While the menu options change every week, my selections included Chimichurri Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Squash & Chile-Garlic Butter, Red Chile Ground Beef Tamale Bowl with Spicy Black Beans & Cilantro Rice, Artichoke & Spinach Grilled Chicken with Roasted Zucchini & Tomato Butter, Pesto Salmon with Creamed Spinach & Tomato Butter Haricot Verts, Creamy Parmesan Chicken with Roasted Broccoli & Tomatoes, and a Charred Corn & Quinoa Bowl with Mexican-Style Zucchini & Chipotle-Lime Dressing. (Is your mouth watering yet?) Without exception, they were tasty and satisfying — and even got the stamp of approval from my 10-year-old. My husband was a big fan of the tamale bowl, while my favorites were the two chicken dishes. The Artichoke & Spinach Grilled Chicken was basically a chicken breast set atop a bed of creamy, cheesy spinach and artichoke dip — and what’s not to like about that?
What I realized, however, is that the selections that were most appealing to me turned out to be the keto meals — and I don’t follow a keto diet. If you do follow a keto diet, I imagine these meals would be a huge help, making it easy to follow what seems (to me, anyway) to be a complicated path to ketosis. But a meal with 50 grams of fat, no matter how delicious, is not what I’m looking for on a regular basis. I also didn’t love that some meals are pretty high in sodium, with one hitting 39 percent of a day’s recommended intake. (Note: Nutrition information for every meal is readily available; I simply didn’t check before making my selections.)
But that leads me to another unique benefit of signing up for Factor: Every subscription comes with a complimentary 20-minute consultation with a nutritionist. When I explained my goals (healthy eating, more energy, and weight maintenance, if not weight loss) to my R.D., Susan, she recommended the Calorie-Smart meals (all 650 calories or less per serving) and offered some hacks for lowering the fat content in any keto meal I might still want to order, such as removing any solid pats of butter from the veggies before microwaving, or cutting each meal in half and supplementing with more vegetables. What I really liked, though, was that our conversation wasn’t limited to discussing Factor meals, so it didn’t feel like a sales pitch. I asked her plenty of general nutrition questions and left our meeting with some specific healthy snack recommendations to help stave off mid-afternoon sluggishness.
Before all of our trial meals were even finished, my husband asked if I’d ordered more. Clearly, the convenience of tasty, 2-minute meals wasn’t just appealing to me. So I did place an order, this time focusing on Calorie-Smart selections like Chicken & Mushroom Marsala and a Chicken Fajita Bowl. I’m also trying one of the add-ons — a variety pack of four fancy juice concoctions. While I don’t anticipate that these meals will regularly replace a cooked-by-me family dinner, I am looking forward to bringing them to the office. And upgrading my usual sad desk lunch? I’ll drink a cold-pressed juice to that.