Bariatric Review: Freshly Meal Kits
Single serving, fresh, chef cooked meals
Meal kits for bariatric surgery patients
There is no doubt the meal kit industry has exploded. It was not long ago that I first heard of Blue Apron® and wondered if these boxes of ingredients and recipes sent to your door would become the next big thing.
Here we are today with more meal kit companies than my Google search results can bring back in a single page.
The questions is, can it work for weight loss surgery patients?
Herein lies my current project. Researching, ordering, cooking these meal kits to see if there is a viable option. You can read my review of Hello Fresh here.
My next meal kit to try was actually Home Chef but before I had the chance to write that review, I tried Freshly. It seems like the best option that I have found thus far, so I wanted to get the information out sooner!
By the way, here is snapshot of the table I’ve started making the pros and cons of the meal kits I’ve tried so far. (This list is not comprehensive. I have looked at some companies without ordering because it was clear they would not work. Factor® for example focuses on Keto meals and the fat content is 50-60 grams per meal which I cannot advise for post-ops).
Freshly® meal kits nutrition and bariatric surgery
The nutrition profile of the Freshly meal kits are not perfect, but they are feasible too. I would not say that I recommend all of their meals.
I recommend looking for recipes on their FreshlyFit® page not only because the options will be focused on better choices but because the nutrition information seems to be better updated.
Similar to my tips on looking for meals at a restaurant, you’ll want to focus on meals that are protein based without potatoes, pasta or rice.
Big thing to note: On the Freshly® website for the regular menu, I noticed that while the calories change for each recipe, the protein, carbs and fat are listed the exact same on every recipe. This, of course, is not right and customer service told me the accurate information would come on the meals when they arrived. Not very helpful if you want to review the nutrition before buying the meal.
The FreshlyFit® meals do list nutrition. I recommend looking for options that have more protein than carbs and ideally less than 20 grams of fat. Truth be told, that is still too much fat in my ideal world but that is the nature of pre-made meals. More on that later.
It does take some clicking around because some dishes will have more than 30 grams of fat even on the FreshlyFit® options. Because these are pre-made meals, you cannot cut down on the fat when they arrive. (Something you can do with Hello Fresh® and Home Chef®).
Portion sizes for FreshlyFit meals
One thing I noticed very quickly in meal boxes – the protein size varied greatly.
This Chicken Livorno for example had right around 8 ounces of chicken. That might be two or three meals for one post-op patient depending on the person. This photo was after I cut the chicken in half.
Compared to this Southwest Power Bowl where the chicken included weighed just 2.6 ounces. It had more veggies and less protein. Having some pre-cooked chicken strips on hand to mix in this bowl would easily stretch this meal but interested the big difference in ounces of meat.
How it might fit in a post-op eating plan
I mentioned before these meals are higher in fat than I prefer. If I were looking for a frozen meal that had more protein than carbohydrates and an ideal amount of fat I would try to find something under 10 grams, maybe 15 grams.
There are differences here!
1) these are fresh and not processed meals.
2) many post-op patients could eat two meals out of these
I do think it is helpful to keep a food journal so you can see how the overall fat intake is going in your diet. If you have higher fat items at breakfast and lunch and one of these meals at dinner, you may see more than 30% fat in your macro chart (I try to aim for 50% protein, 20% carb and 30% fat).
Keeping an eye on fat in the other parts of your day makes these meals doable. Also, if you have half a serving of the Chicken Livorno it would be 9 grams of fat which takes us back to my ideal of staying under 10 grams for a pre-made meal.
I also tried the Protein Packed Chicken Parm and the Baked Turkey Meatballs. The flavors were solid but did need some seasoning.
The Chicken Parm had 5.11 ounces of chicken but the meatballs had just 4 small meatballs. The difference in meat size is a bit of a surprise when you open it up! Most patients could split the chicken into two meals, depending on how much protein you need to control your hunger.
For the meatballs I would have heated up frozen turkey meatballs to add to the meal. Then focused on meatballs and limited the starchy squash it comes with. The carbs were 30 and fat was 20 for that meal so adding protein and splitting up those carbs would help.
What post-ops might use FreshlyFit® meals
These meals are not inexpensive. With one of their current promotional offerings my first week of meals (6 single servings meals) was $52.30 shipped.
This is not a bad price for trying them out when you consider the time and groceries of 6 meals otherwise. Although $8.71 per meal at the discounted rate doesn’t sound like the budget focused choice either. It will depend on the person if this is a good choice.
The meals are also focused on single servings. These meals would be ideal for someone who is just looking for meals for themselves and not a family. Possibly a couple who are both post-op or are okay with supplementing protein as needed for those recipes that come with a small amount of meat.
FreshlyFit meals have thus far been the best shot at bariatric suitable meal kits…that I have tried. There are now SO many meal kits on the market, I am certain it is not the only one, just the only one I have tried!
They are not inexpensive but could be a good fit for a single post-op or someone who struggles to eat what the family is having and is willing to pay for their own meals.
Each meal differs in how much meat is included. You might get a 6 ounce piece of chicken but 4 small meatballs another day. I would keep some pre-cooked grilled chicken strips or turkey meatballs on hand for the days you need to supplement.
If you can split the meal into two servings, this is ideal. Add some extra meat to stretch the meal and this will cut down on the fat/carbs in one particular meal and increase the protein. This also stretches your meals out and makes them more affordable!
If you want to try Freshly® here is a coupon code for 30% off.
30% Off Your First Week of Freshly® Meals
(This is an affiliate link which means Bariatric Food Coach will get a small profit. This blog is not sponsored or endorsed by Freshly® and all comments are truly mine!)
Leave a comment if you have tried Freshly® or any other meal kit company!