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Freshology Review 2023: Low-Calorie Meals

Written by: Chelsea Legay on Jan 30th, 2023

Overview

Finding a diet that works for your lifestyle and nutrition preferences can be tough. Then, sticking to it can be challenging and lonely. If you’ve chosen to stick to a low-calorie diet for rapid weight loss, having convenient and completely planned meals delivered to your door may just be the trick to achieving your goals.

All that said, Freshology offers dietitian-designed, low-calorie, fully prepared meals that might work for your weight loss journey.

Pro tip: If you’ve heard of Diet-to-Go, you’ve heard of Freshology – the only difference is the name. I confirmed with customer service that the menu, plans, and service are 100% the same as Diet-to-Go’s. The only difference is in the name! Marketing purposes, perhaps.

Keep in mind that low-calorie diets only work for initial rapid weight loss — the real journey of maintaining your weight starts after the initial loss!

Read on to discover whether this service is a fit for your lifestyle.

Pros

  • Dietitian available after your first order

  • Five-week menu rotation

  • Microwave-ready meals

  • Current deal Save 50% Off

Cons

  • Average ingredient quality

  • Inflexible recipes for allergy accommodations

  • Can’t choose shipping days

What’s on the Freshology Menu

Freshology’s service aims to make calorie-restricted weight loss meal plans as easy to follow as possible.

Freshology offers five plans – Balance, Balance-Diabetes, Keto-Carb30, Vegetarian, and Mediterranean. Each plan’s menu is on a five-week rotation that includes about 15 breakfasts, 20 lunches, and 20 dinners.

Screenshot of Freshology's five-week menu.

Freshology’s menu shows breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals for each five-week rotation.

Since each meal is single-portioned, these plans are best for individuals with extra cash willing to invest in their diet journey. Big families would find subscribing to this meal plan inconvenient and pricey.

The cuisine is primarily standard American throughout all menus, with a smattering of Mediterranean and Italian dishes, and is, of course, completely Mediterranean on the Mediterranean plan.

Screenshot of Freshology's Baked Turkey with Rice

Freshology's main menus are meat-and fish-heavy, except for the Vegetarian menu.

Most Freshology plans are meat- and fish-heavy, so you’ll find plenty of turkey, chicken, salmon, shrimp, and some red meat. Having the vegetarian option is great for vegetarians who want to try a low-calorie meal plan.

None of Freshology’s meal plans are suitable for vegans since most meals include cheese and eggs. While you can exclude meals that contain these items, the remaining options will be far too limited to have a satisfying experience with this service.

Screenshot of Freshology's Balance menu.

Freshology's main menus are meat- and fish-heavy but vegetarians have excellent options on the Vegetarian menu.

Please note – The Keto-Carb30 plan has moderate carbs and fats and won’t achieve the goal of a keto diet – to get your body into ketosis. It doesn’t follow the original keto requirement of 20 g net carbs per day. Instead, it offers meals ranging from 13 g to 43 g of net carbs per meal.

However! These plans are a good option if you’re looking for meals with moderate to low net carbs per meal that include a moderate percentage of healthy fats.

The Balance plan is Freshology’s basic low-calorie plan that excludes dietary specificities. Freshology offers the option to exclude seafood in its Balance and Keto-Carb30 plans but otherwise doesn’t cater to any allergies.

The Balance-Diabetes plan is meant for people who are Prediabetic or have Type 2 Diabetes. Meals follow the American Diabetes Association’s guidelines for daily intake of complex carbs, lean proteins, and veggies.

For an in-depth look into the Balance-Diabetes plan, check out my full review of the Diet-to-Go Balance-D plan! Per my note above, Diet-to-Go and Freshology offer the same exact menus, so you can consider my review of Diet-to-Go’s Balance-D plan a review of Freshology’s Balance-D plan.

A low-calorie diet may harm some people with serious health conditions. Consulting a physician or healthcare professional about your specific needs is the best route to determining whether following the meal plans of either service will work for you.

Recipe Exchange

Freshology’s menu has a set list of recipes for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners on a five-weekly rotation, and meals are selected for you once you pick a plan. However, swapping recipes within a meal plan is easy.

If there’s a meal you don’t want or a meal you’d like to repeat a few times, you can simply choose from the list of recipe substitutes within that rotation.

You’ll see several substitutions for each meal so you can continue eating the same thing or change it up when you want.

If you want to eat Chicken Fontina every dinner and Cinnamon Walnut Cereal for breakfast three times a week – you sure can. 

Screenshot of Freshology's easy recipe swapping.

You can easily swap recipes in your plan for other recipes in your plan's same five-week rotation.

About half the breakfast options on all menus (except KetoCarbo30) are pretty sweet and have some added sugar or agave, like the above Cinnamon Walnut Cereal.

If you’re particularly careful about added sugars and high carbs, you may need to switch out the sweeter breakfast options for more savory ones – like the Mediterranean Egg Casserole.

Screenshot of Freshology's Mediterranean Egg Casserole

Recipe swapping is easy for each meal category so that you can tailor your breakfasts to be sweet or savory, and lunches or dinners to contain more fish or more meat.

While swapping meals is super easy, I’ve watched Freshology’s menu rotate through several cycles, and have seen many recipes repeat for each five-week rotation and between meal plan menus.

For example, the Balance plan and the Mediterranean plans share several recipes each cycle, like the Harissa Salmon, Shrimp and Rice, Blackened Turkey Loin, Chicken and Three Grains, and Parmesan-Spinach Stuffed Chicken dishes. They sometimes even share all the same recipes for a whole week.

Screenshot of one entire week of the Mediterranean and Balance plans.

Since recipes repeat across menus – different plans might work for you if you like their menus! 

Plus, there’s a lot of talk on Freshology’s and Diet-to-Go’s websites about recipes being “science-backed” and “dietitian-designed,” but little information regarding the science and design of recipes. Customer service also doesn’t have information about this for either service.

Ingredient Swapping

You can’t exclude ingredients, swap ingredients, upgrade proteins, or change portions of ingredients in Freshology recipes.

I spoke to a very friendly customer service representative about my gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, sugar-free needs and (mostly) pescatarian adherence, and she bluntly stated that Freshology isn’t for me.

If you have zero allergy concerns and are happy with your plan’s menu options – great! However, if you have any allergy concerns and want to exclude certain ingredients – Freshology isn’t for you.

If you dislike a particular ingredient, your only option is to exclude the entire meal. Double-check each meal ingredient list before confirming your purchase!

The downside of excluding entire meals is that your recipe choices are significantly reduced if your selected plan has a lot of the ingredients you don’t want. 

Recipes include a lot of processed ingredients and there are no complete ingredient lists on Freshology’s website. You’ll find processed foods in recipes like “grape jelly” or “cream cheese” without ingredient lists or nutrient facts. So you don’t really know what you’re eating.

Screenshot of Freshology's incomplete ingredient lists.

Freshology doesn't list complete ingredients for its recipes, so you might want to avoid meals you're unsure will work for your diet.

If you have few allergies, are happy with the standard American diet, and don’t need to read ingredient labels like you’re writing your Master’s thesis on each recipe – Freshology’s meals will work for you.

Unboxing

Freshology delivers fully prepared meals that are individually packaged and labeled. Use-by dates are labeled on each package, so you can freeze or thaw depending on when you’re ready to eat each meal.

Meals can be left in the freezer for up to one year, and you should consume them 5-7 days after thawing or according to the use-by date on the meal package.

Freshology offers two types of delivery – Home Delivery and Fresh Home Delivery. The recyclability of packaging depends on which delivery option you choose. You’ll either receive a cardboard box with reusable gel packs (Fresh Home Delivery), or a styrofoam box with dry ice (Home Delivery).

The website states that you can recycle all meal trays like most plastics, and that styrofoam isn’t recycled in all zip codes. Otherwise, recycling details are sparse on the website so you’ll have to call customer service or research recycling in your area to ensure all packaging materials are recyclable.

More on that in the Shipping & Delivery section below.

Cooking (and Eating) with Freshology

All food arrives fully prepared and frozen, so all you have to do is heat and eat. Meals only take a few minutes to heat in the microwave. If you don't have a microwave – make sure to plan ahead by defrosting your meal first and then heating it in the oven. You can also heat meals using a toaster/convection oven.

Freshology recommends thawing meals before heating them. Once thawed, meals should be eaten within one week or by the use-by date labeled on each meal's package.

When my colleague ordered from Freshology, she found that her meals were somewhat bland. Veggies were watery, and she couldn't taste much difference between each veg. She also found that the chicken and salmon were somewhat dry, and there were several processed foods, including sausage patties, low-fat yogurts, cheeses, and Eggo-ish waffles.

Overall, meal flavors were lacking in flavor.

Aside from the Balance-Diabetes plan, this meal service primarily focuses on weight loss and calorie counting. The blandness is likely due to the lack of fatty flavors to avoid calories and the lack of added preservatives and salt.

If sodium and healthy fats aren’t a concern – feel free to add salt or herbs, spices, and olive oil to enhance flavors! It’s not a major step in meal prep and won’t take up too much time.

Enjoying your meals by flavoring them to suit your palate is an excellent way to stay on track with your healthcare professional's diet recommendations.

Ultimately – if you have a microwave – meal prep is around 2-10 minutes, depending on whether you undertake extra seasoning.

Freshology meals can be left in the freezer for up to one year. This does make me question what preservatives or additives are included in the packaging process. I asked customer service and didn’t receive a clear answer, as the agents couldn’t find updated information.

Shipping & Delivery

Freshology offers two delivery options – Home Delivery and Fresh Home Delivery. Freshology delivers to the 48 contiguous United States, but not for both of its delivery formats.

For Home Delivery, food arrives frozen in a styrofoam box with dry ice in an amount according to the length of shipping time and estimated temperature in your zip code.

Many meal delivery services try to be environmentally friendly with their packaging, and Freshology hasn’t yet caught up. The unfortunate feature of styrofoam is that it’s only recyclable in certain zip codes, and you’ll have to do some research to see if styrofoam recycling locations are available for you.

The Fresh Home Delivery option is a unique meal delivery service feature, and better ensures fresher food than the Home Delivery option. Your food will arrive cool and not frozen on Tuesdays and Fridays.

However, while your food arrives fresh and not frozen, some of it still may have been previously frozen – like sausage patties, a variety of proteins, and even some veggies – for an unknown length of time.

I spoke to several different customer service representatives to get a consensus on what foods are typically frozen before they’re chef-prepared, but I didn’t get a clear answer.

So it seems that the guarantee with the Fresh Home Delivery option is that your food will arrive ready to heat and eat instead of frozen.

The Fresh option is only available in certain zipcodes in and near Washington DC (including Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland), Baltimore, New Jersey, and Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, you can’t choose a preferred delivery day for either option. To start your order, type in your zip code, and you’ll be notified which days Freshology delivers to you followed by a shipping price.

Freshology will then provide you with email updates about when your order will arrive. The first order typically takes two to four days to process and arrive at your doorstep. If you need to make any changes to your order you can do this through your online account. Make sure to make any changes before 12 PM EST on your cut-off day (you can find this on your account).

Subscription

Setting up your subscription to Freshology’s meal delivery service is straightforward and takes 5 to 10 minutes once you know which plan you’d like to order.

How to Sign Up

  1. Enter your zip code to see if Freshology delivers to you, then click the View Meal Plans button.

Screenshot of Freshology's notification of whether it delivers to a zip code.

If Freshology delivers to your zip code, this screen will appear and you'll be able to choose your meal plan.

  1. Choose your plan and the number of meals. Choose how many days you want to receive meals and how many meals per day you want. Note that the more meals you order, the lower the cost per meal.

Screenshot of Freshology's meal plan selection menu.

Price per meal decreases as you order more meals.

  1. Enter your address.  Enter the address to which you want your order shipped.

Screenshot of Freshology's address entry page.

Enter the address to which you want your order shipped.

  1. Enter your payment information and discount code: Save 50% Off You can pay with a credit or debit card.

Screenshot of Freshology billing page.

Don't forget to enter our discount code on the same page as you enter your billing information.

Freshology is a weekly delivery service with weekly meal plans. Your order will automatically ship each week unless you change or cancel your order via the website or customer service.

Per meal and weekly prices update automatically for each plan as you change your selections.

Screenshot of Freshology's plan choices.

Choosing a plan is super easy and you can watch per meal prices change as you change plan features.

After choosing your meal plan and payment details, you can start choosing your meals from the five-week rotation.

Once you enter your payment details and confirm your order, you’ll receive a shipping confirmation email with your FedEx delivery tracking information.

Your first order will arrive 2-4 days after you confirm and pay for it.

Managing Your Subscription

To make any changes you must log in through the website or contact customer service.

Freshology change requests must be completed by 12 PM ET on the cutoff day indicated on your account. Cutoff days are different for each zip code since delivery days are different.

Customer Service

This is an area where Freshology isn’t quite up-to-par in meal delivery subscription services. There’s no app to manage your subscription, email responses are slow, and there’s no live chat. However, the call service is useful.

As mentioned in the previous section, I called several times to confirm plan information and was connected with a friendly agent in under one minute each time. Each agent was friendly and able to answer most questions I had about Freshology’s meal plans.

Customer service’s phone line is strictly available from Monday to Friday 8 AM to 5 PM Eastern Time.

I don’t recommend contacting Freshology’s customer service via the email form, and I don’t recommend using the FAQ for diet-specific and ingredient questions. You’re much better off calling and asking directly since the FAQ isn’t completely updated.

Information became limited with each customer service agent and within the FAQ regarding ingredient sourcing and quality, the time between meal prep and delivery, and what ingredients chefs use during meal prep.

All Freshology meal plans are calorie-restricted and primarily focused on weight loss, so the most readily available information in the FAQs and customer service agents is also about calorie-restricted weight loss.

Customer service agents aren’t healthcare professionals, dietitians, or nutritionists. However, they’re well-versed in the calorie-restricted diet ADA guidelines for the Balance-D menu, macro counts for the Keto-Carb30 Plan, and are happy to help you manage your subscription.

Freshology’s Registered Dietitian Consultation

Freshology offers a free consultation with a board-certified dietitian (RD) after you’ve paid for your first order.

However, Freshology only has one RD, and, while she has a couple of decades of experience in helping people optimize their health, she’s only meant to be available should you have some difficulty with the food you’ve ordered – like high blood sugar spikes or allergic reactions.

The RD can then consult on which other meal options might be better for you. While the consultation is free, and you can have a follow-up appointment or two if necessary, that’s where the consultation and diet “coaching” ends.

Prices

Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

$4.60 per portion

10 meals for 1 week

$9.99 or $19.98

The price per meal decreases, the more you order. The 7-Day plan is cheaper per meal than the 5-Day plan, and choosing three meals per day is cheaper than ordering two meals per day. Before you checkout, you can view the total cost per week.

Below is a breakdown of per-meal prices for each Balance-D option.

Screenshots of each version of the Balance-D plan.

Freshology's per meal prices decrease as you order more meals.

If you opt for three meals a day, then the 7-Day plan costs between $185 to $225 per week. If you opt for three meals per day, the 5-Day plan costs between $140 to $165 per week.

The Bottom Line: Is Freshology Worth It?

When you embark on a weight loss journey, having a complete week of delivered meals helps relieve the challenge of planning, shopping, and preparing food, significantly improving the loneliness of beginning and continuing your plan.

Freshology’s meal plans can jumpstart your journey – if you’re comfortable with a calorie-restricted, medium-carb heavy, low sodium version of the standard American diet, have zero allergy or other dietary restrictions, and can afford the price.

Each plan offers an ultimately convenient menu of three meals per day, seven days per week.

However, Freshology’s core philosophy is weight loss via calorie restriction. Before signing up for this plan or making any major diet decisions, please consult your healthcare professional.

FAQ

What is a low-calorie prepared meal delivery service?

Low-calorie prepared meal delivery services offer portion-controlled, fully prepared meals for a total daily calorie intake of 1,200 to 1,400 calories – like Freshology’s meals. Meals are delivered directly to your home or might be available for pickup depending on the delivery service.

Will I lose weight from a low-calorie meal delivery service?

Yes. Calorie restriction typically leads to initial rapid weight loss. If you choose a low-calorie meal delivery service, you may experience rapid weight loss. However, low-calorie diets are difficult to sustain and aren’t recommended for long-term weight loss maintenance. Speaking to a healthcare professional, registered dietitian, and nutritionist is the best option to determine what weight loss plan best fits your unique needs.

How much is Freshology per month?

Freshology’s monthly price ranges from about $560 to $904 (excluding weekly shipping), depending on how many meals you order per week and which plan you choose.

If you opt for three meals a day, then the 7-Day plan costs between $185 to $225 per week. If you opt for three meals per day, the 5-Day plan costs between $140 to $165 per week.

Is Freshology the same as Diet-to-Go?

Yes. The only difference is the name. The recipes, plans, prices, and service – including the customer service agents – are all the same.

About The Author

Chelsea Legay
Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank
Chelsea is passionate about nutrition and eating in a way that promotes energy, longevity, and mental health. She's a freediver, musician, and jack-of-all-trades content writer with an endless curiosity for all things that reduce stress and promote healthy, balanced living.
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