Lose It! verses MyFitnessPal

Lose weight. Improve your diet. Increase physical activity. Decrease sugar consumption. Increase calcium consumption. There’s a lot to keep track of in cultivating a healthy lifestyle. It takes daily vigilance, a little math, and a lot of record-keeping. But, as the slogan goes, “There’s an app for that.” In fact, there is more than one app for that, but two of the most popular ones in the U.S. for the iPhone are Lose It! and My Fitness Pal. Lets compare the two apps.

Lose It! and MyFitnessPal apps for iPhone both have a full web portal where users can log the same information they keep on their smartphones, as well as manage a few other things regarding your profile, goals, and so forth. As much as the website may come in handy for some—especially if you’re going to enter custom foods to the database—the apps offers a much more realistic way to track calories, because you theoretically always have your phone with you. The number of foods most people eat in a day can get out of hand quickly, so the best way to keep on top of logging is to do it several times a day. That’s why apps are the best medium for this job.

Lose It! App

While Lose It! is classified as a “healthcare and fitness” app, at its core it’s a calorie counter and exercise tracker. You use the app to record what you eat in a day, how much exercise you get, as well as your weight. If you choose to set a goal, such as lose a half a pound per week until a certain weight, Lose It! will help you figure out how many calories you should be consuming and burning in order to reach the target weight. From a Registered Dietitian standpoint, the estimated caloric needs are pretty accurate. In addition, I like that you can view your daily nutrients in a pie chart. A good goal is to shoot for 50% carbohydrate, 20% protein, and 30% fat consumption each day. This feature makes it easy to see what you need to eat more or less of to meet this goal.

Lose It! Food Database

Lose It! for iPhone does indeed help you log your calories burned and consumed while you’re on the go, but not easily as it could. The biggest disappointment was Lose It’s database of foods. The database lacks a lot of items that I (and surely other people) actually eat. Lose It! does offer users the ability to create a custom food in the database, so you can add anything that’s not there, but it can be time consuming. This won’t be a major problem for you if you tend to eat the same thing over and over because your food items will be stored under “My Foods.” In addition, Lose It! does have a convenient bar code scanner to assist with logging prepackaged foods.

Exercise Log

The exercise logging section of Lose It! is good. Options for activities are fairly comprehensive and include all the basics, such as a variety of sports and all the cardio equipment you’d find in a gym. Record having done an activity, and you’ll enter the amount of time spent doing it, as well as the intensity level when required . If you integrate Lose It! with Fit bit, an online fitness tracker that comes with a smart pedometer, Lose It! can more accurately offset your net calories for the day based on how much you’ve walked, run, and climbed (stairs).

Spellcheck

For those that can’t spell! The fact that there isn’t auto spellcheck can get disastrous. So if you type in more information to try and narrow down the results… the more you type, the greater the chance you’ve introduced a typo. One typo can kill the whole search. It’s a nuisance, and when you’re already cranky from trying to reform your diet, you really can’t make enemies with the app that’s supposed to be helping you.

Pros 

More visual than some other calorie counter and exercise logging apps. Free. Integrates with other sites and services. Easy to enter the same meal or food items eaten more than once. Has a bar code scanner. Accurate in estimating caloric needs.

Cons 

No spell check. Not the most extensive database of food. Requires diligent activity tracking for accurate intake recommendations. No metric option.

Bottom Line 

The free iPhone app Lose It!, designed for counting calories and logging exercise, can help you lose weight, especially if you tend to eat name-brand American foods. But for avid home cooks and those with a more international diet, there’s a better app for you.

MyFitnessPal App

MyFitnessPal is also a calorie counter and exercise tracker. It is a mobile app and website that gives you a wealth of tools for tracking what and how much you eat, and how many calories you burn through activity. You use the app to record what you eat in a day, how much exercise you get, as well as your weight. From a Registered Dietitian standpoint, the estimated caloric needs are a little high. Not a lot…but higher than I would recommend for weight loss needs. It also offers a lovely pie chart which allows you to view your macronutrients (carbs, protein, & fat) in percentages for the day.

MyFitnessPal Database

You don’t need to know how many calories are in each food you eat. MyFitnessPal has a database of over 3 million food items, including individual foods, meals at chain restaurants, and branded foods from your grocery store. Good luck trying to stump the database!

Sometimes the massive database can be a bit overwhelming. Searching for food items often reveals dozens of choices, some with conflicting information. MyFitnessPal allows users to add their own information to the database which results in an abundance of information, not all of it correct. Use your best judgment in choosing which option to enter into your diary.

Exercise Log

When it comes to logging exercise, MyFitnessPal scores. There are loads of different exercises to choose from, from running, to skipping. All you have to do is log the amount of time you spent doing the activity or, if you used gym equipment, you can log the amount of calories the gym equipment told you that you’d burnt. In addition, MyFitnessPal can sync with many additional apps and devices to track your calories burned accurately.

Spellcheck

It has spellcheck. Enough said.

Pros 

Enormous database of foods and drinks. Easy to log food, meals, and recipes. Works with a long list of other apps and fitness-tracking devices. Free. Has spellcheck.

Cons

Estimated caloric needs are a little high based on my Registered Dietitian expertise. Requires diligent activity tracking for accurate intake recommendations. Any users can add their own information to the database.

Bottom Line 

MyFitnessPal is one of the best calorie counter app for the iPhone. A simple design, excellent interface, enormous database of food, and huge network of supported apps and devices makes it hard to beat.

My Conclusion

Of the two apps, if I had to choose between the two, I have to give the nod to MyFitnessPal, and the reason is the database.

MyFitnessPal did a better job picking up foods I like to eat on the go. For instance, I love Qdoba. When I wanted to add “naked burrito with chicken and guacamole” from Qdoba into MyFitnessPal it was in the database — but nowhere to be found on Lose It. But either way, if you start typing in what you eat in MyFitnessPal or Lose It!, you could end up carrying around less weight in 2015. And we would all love that, right?

Water

Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

Everyone has heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” That’s about 1.9 liters, which isn’t that different from the Institute of Medicine recommendations. Although the “8 by 8” rule isn’t supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it’s easy to remember.

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

Go drink some water!

Sugar and Inflammation are Married

Sugar and inflammation aren’t just related, they are married. In Biblical terms God refers to marriage in Mark 10:8 proclaiming “Two Shall Become One.” Meaning the husband and wife are no longer two entities but one entity. They no longer function individually but together. Sugar and inflammation work in the same manner; except their marriage is highly dysfunctional.

Let’s start with inflammation.

Inflammation is a key part of the immune response and as we now hear more and more, it’s the root cause of all disease. Diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disorders, and cancer are linked back to chronic and invisible inflammation that lies just below the body’s pain threshold. But inflammation is also to blame for these common health challenges: body aches and pains, congestion, irregular elimination, indigestion, skin outbreaks, frequent infections, advanced aging, arthritis, weight gain, and weight loss resistance.

That’s stuff that’s effecting just about all of us!

Now let’s talk about sugar.

By sugar I mean table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, honey (even raw), maple syrup, corn sweetener, dextrose, glucose, fructose, and any other word that ends in an “ose”, barley malt, rice syrup, liquid cane sugar, concentrated fruit juice and others. Don’t be fooled by the name organic when it applies to sugar either. Sugar is sugar, organic or not.

When we consume sugar over and over, we weaken our body tissues, our white blood cells, and our immune system. When our body tissues and immune system are weak, we can not fend off foreign invaders. Not only are we now susceptible to degenerative diseases but also infectious diseases. And when the illnesses and/or injuries start to set in….and they eventually will….sugar and inflammation go straight from dating to the altar. And the marriage is sealed with a big inflammatory state kiss.

The Good News is inflammation can separate from sugar and finalize the divorce with some focus, determination, and the right information. And I feel pretty safe saying God doesn’t hate this divorce.

Strategies to Calm Inflammation

A growing body of evidence links particular foods and eating patterns with lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers. Both epidemiological studies and intervention trials support a link between diet and a reduced risk of many chronic diseases, and experts believe that the diet-inflammation connection might be one explanation. Diets high in refined starches, sugars, saturated fats, and trans fats and low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids appear to turn on the inflammatory response. But a diet rich in whole foods, including healthful carbohydrates and fat and protein sources, along with regular exercise and not smoking, seems to cool down inflammation.

If you are really struggling with inflammation, you can even take it one step further and do a 2 week “anti-inflammatory detox diet.” This not only involves avoiding the sugars I mentioned above, but also avoiding the No Food List below to accelerate your healing/break up with sugar.

No Food List

Grains, including oatmeal, rice, quinoa, and corn

Dairy, including butter

Beans/Legumes, which includes hummus (made from garbanzo beans, chick peas)

Peanuts (which are technically legumes)

Potatoes (white, red, yellow)

Alcohol

Processed food

Added sugars, including honey, agave syrup, maple syrup

Artificial ANYTHING, sweeteners, flavors, colors, dyes

Fat is NOT a Bad Word

For many years now FAT has been considered a bad word and an enemy to the human body. We have frantically avoided fats and purposefully chemically altered foods to have less fat. A walk down the grocery aisle will confirm our obsession with low-fat foods. We’re bombarded with supposedly guilt-free options: baked potato chips, fat-free ice cream, low-fat candies, cookies, and cakes. But while our low-fat options have exploded, so have obesity rates. Clearly, low-fat foods and diets haven’t delivered on their trim, healthy promises.

We were told that fats clog arteries, adds to body weight, and are responsible for an entire battalion of heart and health issues. Now we’re making a full circle and discovering that the real causes of many health issues today are the consumption of trans fats, sugar, and processed foods, and not consuming enough nutrient dense foods.

In the beginning….there was fat and no trans fats. Let me explain. Genesis 1:29 says, And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.” This verse from Genesis shows that Adam and Eve’s initial foods included a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. God knew our bodies needed fats to survive. After The Fall, God gave Adam and Eve animals for food too, but I won’t be elaborating on that topic today.

Some of the good/high quality fats in the Garden of Eden were: walnuts, avocados, flaxseeds, olives, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, grape seeds, almonds, coconuts, pistachios, cashews, etc.

Now nuts and seeds used to have a “bad rap” because they are high in fat. However, it is now known that the type of fat in them is actually beneficial. They contain mainly monounsaturated fat, some polyunsaturated fats, but very little saturated fat. Those that do have saturated fats, contain MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) that are quickly used for energy and not easily stored as fat. In addition, nuts, seed and some legumes are a good source of protein, omega fatty acids, vitamins (especially vitamin E), minerals such magnesium, phosphorus, and iron, along with fiber.

Eating the right kind of fat is the trick here. Our bodies need good quality fats so that it can carry out various functions. What you don’t need is the trans fat found in processed, packaged and refined foods. Look for ‘partially hydrogenated’ or ‘hydrogenated’ in the label and if these words show up, avoid those products like the plague. Trans fats are used in everything from cookies, so called healthy, multigrain biscuits, to doughnuts, French fries, cakes, etc. If a high fat product says “fat free” or “low in fat”, it likely contains trans fat or something that has been chemically modified. To make the product taste good, something has to be added when the fat is removed.

Good fats in your diet do several things.

Fat supports brain function. Our brains need fat for fuel. Ever felt tired and brain-fogged in the middle of the day? Your low fat diet could be to blame.

Fat is essential for building up your immunity. Fat helps the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).

For athletes, fat helps to reduce exercise induced inflammation. Yes, too much of any form of exercise creates free radicals that can cause havoc within your system.

Fat also helps your liver function properly, and can help improve blood cholesterol levels.

So remember, God designed our bodies to consume fat. 20 to 35% of your daily calories should come from fat. The answer isn’t cutting out the fat—it’s learning to make healthy choices and to replace bad fats with good ones that promote health and well-being.

Has Food and Weight Loss Become Your Idol?

Gluttony, overeating or drinking to excess, is mentioned in the Bible as being something to avoid (Proverbs 23:20-21). Gluttony can lead to health risks and become a drain on our finances, and the love of food and drink can all too easily become an idol in our lives. Anything that takes the place of God or becomes our number-one focus is, by definition, an idol and thus a sin against God (Exodus 20:3-6). Proverbs 23:2 exhorts us to “put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony,” an admonition to restrain our appetites.

So what does that say about our society today? How many of the things that occupy our time, money, thoughts and attention have taken the place where God is supposed to be?

The answer to this questions may be found by analyzing Google’s search data. Each month, there are an estimated 88 billion Google searches, of which millions relate specifically to losing weight. By understanding how Americans seek out information about fitness, we can glean insights into how Americans approach their health and well-being.

For the keyword “How To Lose Weight”, the first chart attached shows the U.S. search volume for the top 10 related keywords:

Do you notice anything unusual? More than 50% of the keywords (6 out of 10) refer to losing weight “fast” or “quick”. On a positive note, 110K searches for “how to lose weight healthy” indicates many Americans are not searching for that quick fix, but a more sustainable, healthier weight loss method. For the keyword “weight loss”, the next chart attached shows the U.S. search volume for the top 10 related keywords:

Like in the previous chart, more than 50% of the keywords (6 out of 10) use the word “fast” or “quick”, or relate to losing weight quickly.

While “fast” or “quick” results may be desirable in the short term, in the long term, sustainable diet and exercise modification leads to lasting weight loss and improved health.

In the New Testament, Paul tells followers of Jesus Christ that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and as such we are to take care of our bodies and keep them as healthy as we can. Since being obese leads to multiple health risks, we need to realize that as much as it is up to us in our choice and amount of food, drink, and exercise, we should strive to avoid becoming overweight.

A down side of this subject of obesity and weight loss is when we take it to the opposite extreme and become obsessed with our body image. Again, when something becomes the major focus of life and it isn’t God, it is sin. So to constantly obsess about exercise, diet, and weight loss means we’ve allowed our bodies to become the center of our lives. While the effects can be better for our health than being gluttonous and overweight, the result is still the same—our bodies have become an idol in our lives. An obsession with weight loss can easily tip over into anorexia or bulimia which also has a negative impact on our health.

The bottom line is that the Lord wants His children to take excellent care of their bodies since they are the residence of the Holy Spirit. A strong, healthy body helps us stay in shape so we can better serve God each day and thus bring glory and honor to Him, our principal reason for living. Eating and being healthy is not a quick fix but an overall lifestyle change. The Lord wants us to keep our focus on Him and not fall into obsessing about weight gain, weight loss, or food and drink, any of which can become an idol in our lives.

Eat Real Food

God created a tremendous variety of food so we would not get bored and to accommodate our taste preferences. But the most important reason for the variety is to help us to get all of the different nutrients that our bodies need. Today we continue to hear just eat “real” food, but many are wondering what is and is not “real” food.

Food was never intended to be complicated, and we have allowed science to complicate food to shape it into something God never intended it to become. Avoiding unhealthful foods in today’s “modern” Western cultures is more challenging and complicated than it was for most of mankind’s history.

Since the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, food “refining” processes and the use of synthetic chemicals have become popular for various reasons, including appealing appearance or taste. But the main driving force has been money. When food spoilage is prevented or delayed, food can be shipped farther and sit on shelves much longer. “Refining” and adding preservatives brought food costs down for producers and consumers. But consumers have paid a high price in their health because these processes usually have diminished the healthful value of the food.

Let’s define a couple things.

food [food] n 1. something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies

real [ree-uhl, reel] adj 1. true and actual; not artificial

I consider real food something that is wholesome and nourishing. It is simple and unprocessed. It is food that is as close to its natural original state without any alteration of any kind.

There are thousands of studies that have made the correlation that poor nutrition is linked to inflammation, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, hyperlipidemia, osteopenia/osteoporosis, and many other chronic conditions and diseases and yet, after knowing this valuable information, there are still millions of people suffering and/or dying from these conditions and diseases.

The quality of food we eat has a huge impact on our wellbeing as a whole. The U.S. is predominantly sick, and we are getting sicker and sicker. The least you spend on food…. the more you will spend on healthcare is becoming a true statement. Here are some statistics.

Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S.

7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year.

Obesity has become a major health concern. 1 in every 3 adults is obese and almost 1 in 5 youth between the ages of 6 and 19 is obese.

A total of 27% of the US population are obese, one quarter of the population!

About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people annually.

Every year about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack.

Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year.

Diabetes continues to be the leading cause of kidney failure, non traumatic lower-extremity amputations, and blindness among adults, aged 20-74.

The good news is that people are starting to catch up and demand better quality products. Slowly but surely we are seeing more organic and natural products out there. Understanding that eating healthy should become a priority and not falling in the sick care trap is key.

What Can You Eat

Whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, and some preferably organic, dairy, also preferably organic, whole grains, wild caught fish (which are free of harmful chemicals), organic or grass feed meat (which are free of hormones and antibiotics), organic poultry, legumes, nuts, seeds, unrefined sweeteners (like raw honey and maple syrup), whole grains (like brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta). Real food is whole foods which is unrefined and unprocessed and does not contain added ingredients.

With a rich real food diet you will obtain an array of needed nutrients that will contain a high concentration of antioxidant phenolics, fibers and numerous other phytochemicals that may be protective against chronic diseases. Eating real food it simply a win win situation.

There is still a lot of controversy in whether or not certain products should be purchased organic. At this point, in my professional and personal opinion, there is no question that organic is best when it comes to certain products like dairy, meat and poultry and certain fruits and veggies. Maybe back in the day when there was non GMO products existent in the market, different strains of fertilizers, and a different array of chemicals lingering in our food supply, I would probably wouldn’t care to buy organic items. Today, it is a different story. The FDA each year introduces a large amount of chemicals in our food supply, and yet hardly any are tested for their damaging risk to the human body.

Out of season foods are now available year round flown and trucked from miles away where harmful chemicals are used to keep these foods intact. There are hormones, antibiotics and many other chemical substances utilized to grow cattle really fast. Did you know that it takes about 2 1/2 years to grow a grass feed cow versus 14 months a corn feed one? In addition a corn feed cow will lack any omega 3’s, which is present in grass feed cows, and have a much higher percentage of saturated fat.

I think, today, organic is best!

There are different things you can do and strategize to decrease your grocery bill if budget is an issue and you want to still get organic items.

A lot of these items can be purchased in bulk or when in season.

Becoming a member of a CSA farmers program can ensure that you are getting local, fresh produce for a fraction of the price.

Buying items at your local grocery store when on sale.

What Not To Eat

Processed food that is fake and junk that have little to zero nutritional value, are high in calories, highly processed, ready to eat and with little preparation. These foods are normally high in fat, sugar, and salt which makes you overweight and sick!!

Some examples are:

Packaged high-calorie snack foods, like chips and cheese snacks

Convenience foods like frozen dinners and pizza

Boxed meal mixes, loaded with sodium and fat

White pasta, white bread and white rice

Canned foods with lots of sodium

Sugary breakfast cereals

Pies and cake mixes

Soft drinks

How Can You Eliminate Eating Processed Food?

Cook your meals from scratch using whole ingredients. This can be a daunting task for someone not used to cooking but you can start by cooking once or twice a week and increasing the number as you get comfortable in the kitchen.

Plan out your meals to avoid several trips to the store, this will ensure you will have the ingredients you need to cook your meal for the week and help you avoid purchasing package processed food. Plan well balanced meals that include plenty of whole grains, organic veggies and fruits as well as lean and organic or grass feed poultry and meat.

Shop for fruits and vegetables that are in-season and local since they will be freshest and cheapest. Look for local farmers markets, or ask your grocer what produce items are in season.

Stay away from the middle isles which normally contain the bulk of the processed foods. If you must buy items like tomato sauce buy them organic and in glass containers. If you buy pasta, rice, bread, couscous, flour etc make sure you get the whole grain kinds.

Make sure you read ingredient labels and don’t purchase anything you wouldn’t be able to pronounce.

Try cooking one item you would have purchased in a processed, packaged form. When you make it yourself, you know exactly what is in it being able to decrease the sugar, salt, and fat content as well as increasing the quality of ingredients. For example, if you like certain cookies you can try making them yourself by adding less sugar and of the unrefined kind, better fat alternative as well as using whole wheat flour in place of the processed kind and perhaps even making it grain free.

Remember eating real food isn’t a fad diet. It’s a permanent, healthy way of eating that, with a little practice, can (and should) become a way of life. Eating real food is eating for the sake of nourishing your body with food as close to its natural state as possible. There is no math, no point system, no insane calorie restrictions. When you begin to replace the processed, fried and unhealthy foods from your diet with whole grains, fruits, veggies and lean protein, your body will automatically become leaner, healthier, and more efficient in many ways.

Mail Meals

What’s for dinner? is a never ending saga for many of us. Despite the fact that dinner occurs EVERY day, we all have those days when dinner is not on our radar until the last moment. Whether you are single, married, in school, working, stay at home, etc., life is busy and many of us have limited time to plan, shop, and cook a gourmet (or for that matter any kind of edible, half way appealing to the eyes, and tasting good) meal for ourselves and/or family.

Today many companies are available to help with meal planning, shopping, and cooking by bringing all the ingredients you need for delicious meals straight to your doorstep. Let’s take a closer look at a few of these “Mail Meal” companies. I will be reviewing Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Home Cuisine, and Katered To You. I will be discussing their services offered, menu/food allergies, cost, location/delivery options, and food wholesalers.

Hello Fresh (https://www.hellofresh.com) is a weekly subscription service. I decided to give them a try since there was an offer on Louisville Groupon. I purchased “2 weeks of meals for two” for $59 (valued at $138). That’s 6 Classic Meals feeding 2 people. Hence, each serving cost $4.92. That’s not a bad deal!

Services Offered: Hello Fresh creates the recipes and does the shopping for you. Then they deliver all the ingredients to your doorstep in a recyclable cardboard box that includes ice packs to keep your food from spoiling before you arrive. At your convenience, you prepare the meals in your own home. The recipes I tried were amazing, but the downside is that they were a little time consuming. I definitely spent more than 45 minutes in the kitchen preparing them. But if you love to cook, and just don’t have time to plan and shop, you will enjoy Hello Fresh.

Menu/Food Allergies: Hello Fresh works closely on recipe development with a team of in-house chefs who’ve graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education and other esteemed Culinary Schools. There are two “boxes” to choose from. You must choose either the Classic or Veggie Box. If you sign up for the Classic Box subscription, you can choose 3 out of 5 recipes offered each week. Unfortunately, this option is not yet available for the Vegetarian subscription. But Hello Fresh stated they are working on it! If you have a food allergy or sensitivity things can get a bit complicated. Besides being able to choose 3 out of the 5 recipes offered for the Classic Box, you will be happy to hear all the ingredients come individually packaged. So you can omit an ingredient from the recipe easily. However, if you have a severe allergy, this company probably isn’t the best for you due to the risk of cross contamination.

Cost: The Classic Box cost $69 for 3 meals feeding 2 people or $120 for 3 meals feeding 4 people. The Veggie Box cost $59 for 3 meals feeding 2 people or $109 for 3 meals feeding 4 people. Delivery is free. As mentioned earlier, you can also take advantage of the Groupon if you would like to try this company at a great price. I “deactivated” my Hello Fresh account after initiating my Groupon without any issues. A word to the wise, all orders, changes, or cancellations for the following week must be in by Wednesday at 11:59pm.

Location/Delivery Options: Hello Fresh delivers to the continental U.S. They deliver Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for all customers, as well as, Mondays and Tuesdays in specific areas. Deliveries typically arrive between 8am-8pm.

Food Wholesalers: Hello Fresh claims to use local supplies. They don’t state to use organic, but one of the supplies on their website, Murray’s Chicken, did state that their chickens are raised without the use of antibiotics, growth drugs or hormones, and have plenty of room to stretch their wings and access to fresh air and sunlight. Although we can’t assume all the products are organic, I was happy to hear that Hello Fresh is taking appropriate steps in providing healthy foods.

Blue Apron (https://www.blueapron.com) is also a weekly subscription service, similar to Hello Fresh.

Services Offered: Blue Apron’s services are also similar to Hello Fresh. They too deliver all the ingredients to your doorstep in a recyclable cardboard box that includes ice packs to keep your food from spoiling before you arrive. And at your convenience, you prepare the meals in your own home. Their website states “Meals are 500-700 calories per serving and take 35 minutes to prepare.”

Menu/Food Allergies: There are two meal plans, a 2 Person Plan or the Family Plan. With the 2 Person Plan, you will receive three delicious recipes and the corresponding ingredients pre-portioned for two. The Family Plan is perfect for feeding a family of four. The culinary team states to create four new Family Plan recipes each week designed to appeal to both parents’ and kids’ palates.

In regards to allergies… my understand is that you don’t actually get to pick your recipes. However, you can customize your menu based on your dietary preferences (which you can change or update at any time). Furthermore, as of now, Blue Apron doesn’t allow any meal choices beyond meat and fish or vegetarian, so it’s important to check each week’s menu for any food allergies or preferences before ordering.

Cost: There are three options. The 2 Person Plan cost $59.94 which includes 3 meals per week at $9.99 per person. The Family Plan (feeds 4 people) includes either 2 or 4 meals per week. The 2 meal plan cost $69.92 and the 4 meal plan cost $139.84. Both Family Meal options cost $8.74 per person. You also get 2 meals free on your first order. There is no membership fee or commitment. In order not to be charged for an order, Blue Apron requires a 6 days advance notice for skipping weeks or canceling an account depending on the delivery day you selected.

Location/Delivery Options: Blue Apron also delivers nationwide. Typical deliveries are made Tuesday through Friday in most locations, and select locations are eligible for Monday and Saturday deliveries. Delivery is included in the price of your subscription.

Food Wholesalers: Some of the wholesalers are listed on their website. I couldn’t get a hold of anyone at Blue Apron to answer my questions about whether or not their ingredients were organic, but a friend of mine who tried their service showed me their meat was labeled hormone and antibiotic free.

Home Cuisine (http://homecuisineonline.com) For almost 30 years, Chef Sandy Pike has been feeding the city of Louisville. She’s owned and founded some of the city’s most beloved food establishments: Jack Fry’s, Café Society, Queen of Tarts. But when a family member had a health scare and needed to change her eating habits, Sandy started cooking simple, healthy meals and dropping them off – and Home Cuisine was born.

Services Offered: As a Home Cuisine client, you can receive 1 or 3 meals a day; 3, 5, or 7 days a week. Home Cuisine recipes never use white flour, sugar, canned ingredients or bad trans fats. Instead, the recipes contain fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, whole grains and organic when possible. Each meal is individually packaged with complete instructions on the small amount of preparation required to put the food on your table (which is usually just a quick ‘warm up’.)

Menu/Food Allergies: There are three meal plans to choose from: Calorie Controlled, Paleo, or Vegetarian.

For people who don’t know where to start when it comes to a calorie controlled meal plan, Home Cuisine has taken the guess work out of healthy eating by offering the Calorie Controlled meal plan that will get you going in the right direction. Just choose how many calories you need per day; 1200 or 2000. Each day will include lean protein, complex carbs and tons of the freshest vegetables and fruits. All meals are prepared according to the American Diabetic Association, as well as the American Heart Association’s healthy guideline.

Home Cuisine has also embarked on a line of Paleo meals at the insistence of several Louisville doctors who were placing their patients on the plan to identify food allergies and for others to lose weight. If you aren’t familiar with the Paleo Diet, it eliminates processed foods, gluten, legumes, sugar, dairy, and starchy carbohydrates replacing them with grain fed meat and poultry, wild caught seafood, organic vegetables and fruits. This meal plan also gives you the option to choose from either 1,300 or 2,200 calories per day.

Lastly, as for the Vegetarian meal plan, the sample menu includes eggs and yogurt, so if you are truly interested in a Vegan meal plan, I would acquire about this before ordering. Like the other meal plans, you get the option to choose from a 1,200 or 2,000 calorie plan.

On all the meal plans, there is an option for a Family Meal. The Family Meal Plan feeds 2 adults and 2-3 children. This option is only for one meal per day but is available for 3 or 5 days a week.

They state to cater to food allergies and sensitivities, but I don’t have all the details in this area. So, I would recommend contacting the owners before ordering if this is a real concern for you or a family member.

Cost: The cost varies depending on multiple factors including: the meal plan and caloric value you choose, whether you want 3 meals or just 1 meal (dinner only), and how many days a week (3, 5, or 7) you want the service.

Let’s start with the Calorie Controlled Meal Plan. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner under the 1,200 calorie plan will cost: $105 (3 days a week), $125 (5 days a weeks), or $150 (7 days a week). The 2,000 calorie plan cost: $120 (3 days a week), $140 (5 days a week), or $165 (7 days a week). Dinner Only for the lower calorie plan cost: $60, $75, or $95 (3, 5 or 7 days a week). The higher calorie plan meal cost: $65, $90, or $105. The Family Meal cost: $140 (3 days a week) or $180 (5 days a week).

Moving on to the Paleo Meal Plan. Depending on if you choose 3, 5 or 7 days a week, the cost is $105, $140, or $175 under the 1,300 calorie option. Then the price jumps up to $120, $155, and $185 on the 2,200 calorie option. For Dinner Only on the lower calorie plan, the price is $65, $90, or $105, and $75, $100, or $115 for the higher calorie plan. The Family Meal option $160 for 3 days a week or $210 for 5 days a week.

Lastly, the Vegetarian meal plan cost: $105, $125, or $150 under the 1,200 calorie plan. The 2,000 calorie plan cost goes up to $120, $140, or $165. The Dinner only plan is $60, $75, or $95 on the lesser calorie plan, and $65, $90, or $105 on the higher calorie plan. The Family Meal option is $140 or $180 depending on if you want the meals for 3 or 5 days a week.

Location/Delivery Options: Home Cuisine is located at 309 R Wallace Avenue, Louisville, KY 40207. You can pick up your Home Cuisine meals at any Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Market. Just let them know which of their 5 stores is most convenient for you, and they will make sure it’s waiting for you there. If you’d rather have your meals delivered direct to your door, they can do that, too! Local delivery in the Louisville metro are starts at $10 per week, and may vary according to total distance traveled. Their website states they deliver twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday after 3pm. However, I don’t know if that means they offer two different days for delivery, or if you receive half your meals one day and the rest another day.

Food Wholesalers: They purchase the bulk of their supplies through Rainbow Blossom. Because of the volumn they order, they are able to take advantage of much lower pricing on whole and organic foods. Their fish is bought from Blue Fin Seafood, and the meats come from several farms located in Oldham County.

They do make their own sausage and ground products. Sadly, they can’t supply only organic because of the cost restraints, but on a whole they strive for the cleanest, healthiest meals possible.

Katered To You (http://www.kateredtoyoullc.com) came into existence when the owner, Katie, turned her love for cooking into a mission to help others live a healthier and happier lifestyle. At an early age she learned the ins and outs of food service while working in her father’s restaurant. You can read more about her biography on her website. She is one talented lady!

Services Offered: Katered To You provides already prepared or as Katie calls them, “Heat And Eat” meals. All meals come in a microwavable safe container. In case you didn’t catch this… THERE IS NO COOKING INVOVLED!! That’s music to my ears!! And if you read Katie’s biography you will discover that she is highly gifted in the musical area. As for me… I am not! I am neither blessed with musical talent or with the love for cooking. God makes us all different for sure.

Menu/Food Allergies: You can order by the day, week, or month. If you are ordering for the day, orders must be placed by 2pm the previous business day for early pickup. For same-day pickup, orders will be ready by 5pm. For weekly or monthly orders, orders are due by 2pm on Friday. The menu is huge. It includes everything from breakfast to dessert. You won’t get tired of sampling the variety here. In addition, if you have a food allergy or sensitivity; if possible, Katie will make the necessary substitutions to any menu item to best meet your needs.

Cost: There are three options for purchasing. 1) A single meal for one is $10. 2) The 12 meals per month (based off a 4 week period) + 2 meals for free is $120 ($8.57 per meal). 3) Or the 20 meals per month + 2 for free is $200 ($9.09 per meal).

Location/Delivery Options: Katered To You is located at 37 Bank Street, Suite 9, New Albany, IN 47150. Delivery is offered on Sunday and Monday for an additional $10 anywhere in the Kentuckiana (Southern Indiana, Louisville, Prospect, Crestwood, and other nearby cities) area. Pickup at the store is free and offered from 2-5pm on Sunday and 9am-6pm on weekdays.

Food Wholesalers: Katie does a lot of shopping from local farmers and Farmer Markets. I too tried this company’s food to see how the food compared to Hello Fresh. I requested that my meals be made with gluten free and organic ingredients. Katie was happy to meet my needs, and I was very satisfied with the customer service, quantity, flavor, and presentation of my meals.

So there you have it! Four different companies with similar goals in mind, and one of the main goals is centered around making it easier for you and your family to consume healthy foods; even when you are busy. These companies take away the stress surrounding meal planning, shopping for groceries, and some even omit the hassle of cooking and cleaning up afterwards. Cooking and eating fresh ingredients helps you and your family stay healthy and beats any type of convenience food, frozen food or fast food. So if you are struggling to get healthy meals to the dinner table on time, one of these companies might be just right for you.