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Freshly deliver prepared meals that people can quickly heat up at home. The company emphasize that their meals are healthful and dense in nutrients. Each meal is gluten-free, but there are no vegan or vegetarian options.
This article looks at how Freshly’s service works and who might use it. It also describes the menu options and potential health benefits, plus some alternatives to consider.
Please note that the writer has not tried this service. All information is purely research-based.
Freshly deliver ready-to-eat meals that people can heat up in 3 minutes or less. The company highlight that their meals are healthful and contain:
- nutrient-dense ingredients
- quality proteins
- complex carbohydrates
- healthful fats
A person subscribes to the service and can decide to skip a week or cancel at any time. The price depends on how many weekly meals are in an order.
A person chooses the week’s meals from a menu of more than 30 dishes. All the options contain meat, poultry, or fish.
People can filter the selection by dietary preference, so as to only see choices that are free from dairy or soy. A person can also choose to see only options that carb-conscious or contain extra protein or fewer than 500 calories.
People who already buy ready-made meals, including takeout, might find that Freshly provides a healthful alternative.
The meals may also suit people who do not cook. Each can be heated in the microwave or oven.
Freshly’s service may also suit people who are busy or whose housemates or family members have vastly different tastes and preferences.
Also, people concerned about food waste might consider having a meal service to address the issue. In the United States, the Department of Agriculture estimate that food waste represents 30–40% of the national food supply.
A person who opts for fully-cooked, single-serve meals likely needs to do less grocery shopping. This might lead to less waste because people often buy ingredients that they never end up using or cook big meals with servings that go uneaten.
Also, Freshly say that each of their meals is certified gluten-free. Therefore, the meals are suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. According to the website, every meal is also peanut-free.
Some meals do contain nuts, however. Anyone with a nut allergy should take precautions — particularly if the allergic reactions are severe. Review the ingredients list of each meal on the website before to making a selection, and verify the ingredients on the package sleeve prior to heating.
Overall, due to the possibility of cross-contamination during the cooking process, the service may not be suitable for people with severe food allergies. Anyone with concerns may want to contact one of Freshly’s representatives before placing an order.
Freshly’s meals are also not suitable for people with vegetarian or vegan diets, as each meal contains an animal protein source.
Freshly provide a range of meals under different headings. Some examples include:
- Golden Oven-Fried Chicken & Mash
- Cauliflower-Shell Beef Bolognese
- White Bean Turkey Chili Bowl
- Sausage Baked Penne
- Hearty Chipotle-Chicken Stew
- Masterful Meatballs
These meals have more protein and fewer carbs, and they have been inspired by popular diets, according to Freshly’s website.
- Protein-Packed Chicken Parm
- Very Verde Chicken
- Oven-Baked Chicken Florentine
- Pulled Pork Al Pastor
- Unwrapped Steakhouse Burrito
- Chicken Pad Thai
Freshly’s health claims seem to align with some recommendations from health authorities.
For example, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 recommend that people limit their intake of saturated fats so that these represent less than 10% of the total caloric intake.
Freshly aim to help with this by substituting vegetables such as mushrooms for some ground meat and rotating red meat with leaner sources of protein, such as chicken and fish.
The 2020–2025 guidelines also recommend eating nutrient-dense foods and reducing the intake of added sugars. Freshly’s meals are low in added sugars.
Also, the company add extra vegetables or nut butter to sauces and replace some simple carbohydrates with mashed cauliflower or squash noodles. These steps help make the meals more nutrient-dense.
Freshly’s website makes clear that their meals are not designed to address health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease.
However, having meals that are portion-controlled and thus calorie-controlled might help a person manage their blood sugar levels or lose weight, if this is a goal.
Choosing the options that contain a maximum of 500 calories might also help people manage their weight. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggest that a person might safely lose 1–2 pounds per week by creating a deficit of 500–1,000 calories per day. However, as the NIH note, it is crucial to have a doctor’s approval before trying this.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight may help reduce the risk of obesity-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Freshly’s gluten-free options likely represent a healthful choice for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Switching to a gluten-free diet may help relieve symptoms such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea, for example.
Many of Freshly’s offerings are also high in protein, which may be especially important for people such as older adults or those trying to build muscle, who may require more protein than the general population.
The animal protein in Freshly’s meals represents a “complete” protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids and is thus optimal for supporting muscle protein synthesis and preventing age-related muscle loss. Doctors refer to this loss as sarcopenia.
Anyone looking for the most healthful premade meal service should note that Freshly do not offer vegan or vegetarian options. There is some evidence that a plant-based diet has beneficial effects on health.
People seeking the health benefits of a plant-based diet and the muscle-building advantages of consuming animal protein may want to consider a flexitarian diet.
Many other delivery services provide meal kits or premade meals designed to suite a range of diets and preferences. Some examples include:
Also, many free resources can help people design healthful, convenient meals. The MyPlate planner is one option.
Anyone looking to make cooking more time- and cost-effective might also consider cooking larger meals and freezing batches.
Freshly’s meals may suit busy people and others who hope to avoid cooking. The meals are fairly healthful, peanut-free, and certified gluten-free.
The service might suit people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, as well as people looking for calorie-controlled options.
While Freshly’s meals contain plenty of vegetables, grains, beans, and other plant-based ingredients, there are no vegan or vegetarian options. Other meal delivery services may offer a more comprehensive range of choices.