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Pete's Real Food Review 2023: Paleo, Vegan, and AIP Meals

Written by: Chelsea Legay on Jan 30th, 2023

Overview

Sticking to a paleo, keto, vegan, or AIP diet isn't always easy. With a strict list of foods you can and can't eat, mainstream meal delivery services don't cater to the needs of people who follow these diets. Pete's Real Food (previously called Pete's Paleo) fills this niche by delivering diet-specific prepared meals direct to your door.

After thoroughly researching what Pete's Real Food offers, I was impressed to find a range of prepared paleo, keto, vegan, and AIP-friendly meals that change with the seasons. In fact, you'll be able to enjoy an impressive variety of recipes for each diet that uses seasonally fresh veggies and humanely sourced meats.

Pete's Real Food certainly delivers when it comes to convenience. There's no prep or cooking involved since all meals arrive fully prepared and microwave-ready. Although pricier than other meal delivery services, I think Pete's Real Food is worth it for time-pressed paleo, vegan, keto, or AIP dieters looking for the easiest way to maintain these lifestyles.

Pros

  • Meals are made from high quality, seasonally fresh ingredients

  • AIP-friendly, and kid-friendly meals are available

  • Recipes are designed and prepared by professional chefs

  • Current deal – $10 Off your next order. Code: FRESH10

Cons

  • Meals are pricey

  • Proteins and sides aren't swappable

  • Those with severe nut allergies won’t find many options

What’s on Pete’s Real Food’s Menu

For a meal delivery service that caters to some of the most restrictive diets, Pete's Real Food offers excellent cuisine variety. Meals arrive fresh, fully prepared, and microwave-ready for ultimate meal prep convenience.

The menu includes Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Vegetarian, AIP-friendly, and Kid's Lunch options, with at least 12 recipes per filter. Cuisine variety includes classic American, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Mexican flavors on the menu for each diet.

Pete's Real Food adjusts its menu according to the seasons so that all ingredients are optimally fresh. It offers 60+ dishes on the menu that rotate based on the produce that local farmers are growing and harvesting at that time.

You can rest assured that you're getting the highest quality ingredients from Pete's Real Food, not just because they're local and farm fresh. All veggies and proteins are also free from antibiotics, preservatives, and fillers, while beef, poultry, and pork are grass-fed. Poultry and pork are also free range.

Another unique feature of Pete's Real Food is the founder Pete, who designs all the meals for this meal delivery service. Pete was trained at Le Cordon Bleu and worked at farm-to-table restaurants in Atlanta, including James Beard-nominated restaurants and one that won the best cuisine of the year.

You'll see that all recipes are much more than TV dinners and are closer to fine dining, flavor-packed, fresh meals.

You can choose the Paleo plan for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners or order a la carte from the entire menu. Paleo and Vegan recipes change weekly on Sundays at midnight, while Keto and AIP recipes change seasonally. Kid's Lunches and Vegetarian menus are a mix of all ingredients on the list and can change weekly and seasonally.

Screenshot of Pete's Real Food's Kale, Chickpeas, Watermelon, Radish and Avocado Salad.

Pete's Real Food menu variety includes seasonally fresh ingredients like those found in the Kale, Chickpeas, Watermelon, Radish and Avocado Salad.

You can pick a minimum of five meals per week, ideal for one meal per day for one person, and up to a maximum is 17 meals per week. Each meal is carefully prepared with 4.5 oz of protein and 7 oz of veggies.

You can also choose from a few super healthy add-ons like Pete’s Real Bacon and Bone Broth. You can order 4 lbs to 10 lbs of Pete’s Real Bacon in 1lb increments. Bacon arrives in an unsliced slab so you can cut bacon to the thickness you prefer.

This bacon is “belly, spices, salt, and love” and is cured instead of brined to prevent shrinkage, includes zero added sweeteners, nitrates, nitrites, or other preservatives. Unless you’re shopping at a healthfood store, you’ll find that most bacon as added nitrates, nitrites, and excessive salt. Pete’s Real Food keeps bacon super healthy for you!

Screenshot of Pete's Real Bacon

PRF's bacon is super clean and made from humanely-rased animals with clean diets.

You can also purchase Chicken or Beef Broth on a subscription or as a one-time add-on. This is a bone broth made with super clean ingredients from pasture-raised animals with clean diets free from antibiotics, hormones, and grains. Ingredients include water, chicken or beef bones, carrots, onions, celery, bay leaf, apple cider vinegar – nothing more!

Broth arrives frozen in a four-pack totaling 96 oz or 12 servings. You can use broths to sip on, create soups, or sautee veggies.

Screenshot of PRF"s organic bone broth

In addition to being super clean, this Organic Bone Broth is friendly to AIP, keto, paleo, and gluten-free diets.

What's unique about Pete's Real Food's menu is that there's an AIP-friendly filter of truly AIP-friendly meals. Eating an AIP diet during the elimination or reintroduction phase can be challenging to follow, given that it's one of the most restrictive diets designed to help people find what ingredients cause them inflammation.

AIP-friendly meals are particularly difficult to find. However, I've done plenty of research on the topic. For more on AIP-friendly meal delivery services, check out my article on the 5 Best AIP Meal Delivery Services. Pete's Real Food makes the list.

Having fully prepared AIP-friendly meals is a huge help! The recipes on Pete's menu even look tasty and indulgent, like the Braised Short Ribs with Collard Greens and Sweet Potato Mash pictured below.

Screenshot of Pete's Real Food's Braised Short Ribs with Collard Greens and Sweet Potato Mash.

Pete's Real Food offers tasty recipes for the strictest diets like this mouth-watering Braised Short Ribs with Collard Greens and Sweet Potato Mash dish.

There are even Kid’s Lunches of familiar favorites like Chicken Nuggets with Ketchup and Broccoli for busy parents who want the healthiest meals to boost their kid’s energy throughout the day without all the prep.

Screenshot of Pete's Real Food's Chicken Nuggets with Broccoli and Ketchup.

Pete's Real Food offers kid-friendly recipes with all its whole ingredients like these Chicken Nuggets with Ketchup and Broccoli.

Pete's Real Food's Kid's Lunch menu is rare among meal delivery services. As someone with three brothers whose parents made us brown sack lunches through our high school years, I'm sure my parents would have loved a break from our lunch prep every now and then. Though on the pricey side, meal delivery services with a thoughtfully curated Kid's Lunch menu would have been a welcome break.

Like most other prepared meal services, customizations are limited. There are currently no meat or protein customization options other than "no pork", which the service replaces with other proteins from that week's menu.

The only plan that offers some customization is the Paleo plan when you order dinners. You can double protein portions and add extra dinner sides in portions of five, seven, and ten, as long as you order a minimum of five meals.

Pete's Real Food meals are labeled as gluten-free and dairy-free except for Kids' Lunches. However, the facility where Pete's Real Food preps its meals also manufactures dairy and nut flour products, so this service may not be suitable for people with severe dairy and nut allergies.

For those looking to avoid certain ingredients for non-medical reasons, each meal tray is labeled with nutritional information on the back. Nutritional information can also be found for each recipe on the website's main menu page, so you don't have to worry if you toss the wrappers too hastily.

For those with dietary restrictions – or who just want more control over their meals – Hungryroot's super customizable menu may be a better choice. Hungryroot offers 100+ meal kits of recipes with completely swappable ingredients. So if you don't mind cooking for yourself, you'll have more flexibility to swap out ingredients and alter recipes to your preference.

If you're not a picky eater, have no allergies, and don't mind the lack of meal customization, then Pete's Real Food might be just right for you.

Unboxing

Since Pete's Real Food provides premade meals, the unboxing process is pretty simple. Each box contains all of your ready-to-eat meals in microwave-safe trays. You'll find your meal selections packaged in vacuum-sealed trays when you open your box.

A standout feature of Pete's Real Food is that all its meals are delivered fresh, not frozen. This food delivery service prioritizes providing whole foods in their freshest form, so you're eating optimally nutrient-dense meals. Thanks to the sealed trays, your fresh meals will stay good for up to 10 days in the fridge or six months frozen.

Screenshot of Pete's Real Food shipping box and meals in trays.

Unboxing Pete's Real Food is super simple since meals arrive in individual trays.

Every meal tray is labeled with nutritional information on the back, which can also be found for each recipe on the website's main menu page.

If like me, you like recycling items of packaging at home, you'll be pleased to learn that most of Pete's Real Food packaging materials are either recyclable or reusable. The gel packs in your delivery box are reusable, and the outer casing is recyclable according to your local and state guidelines.

The natural fiber pads are also recyclable. Simply remove them from the polyfilm and recycle them where cotton materials are accepted. The polyfilm on top of each tray is recyclable along with your plastic bags, and the cardboard box containing your delivery is curbside recyclable.

However, one of the trickier items to dispose of is the dry ice. If your delivery still has unmelted dry ice, you’ll need to place it in a well-ventilated room and let the ice sublimate (turn back into a gas). Dry ice shouldn’t be disposed of in a regular trash can when it's still solid.

Cooking and Eating with Pete’s Real Food

Cooking with Pete's Real Food is super easy because there isn’t any cooking involved! All meals are delivered fresh and fully cooked so that all you have to do is heat them up.

On average, meals take about two minutes to heat up in the microwave or a little longer if you choose to sauté them instead. When microwaving, don’t worry about removing the packaging first because the trays and film seals are microwave safe and BPA-free.

Meals are fresh, not frozen, so there’s no need to thaw them out unless you choose to freeze them yourself. If that’s the case, then it’s recommended that you thaw them in one of two ways:

  1. Put your meal tray in the fridge the night before you want to eat it.

  2. Submerge the vacuum-sealed tray in a bowl of lukewarm water for 20 minutes (or until fully thawed).

Once you’ve enjoyed your meal, there’s no cleanup involved. Just recycle the package according to local guidelines in your area.

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

I was impressed with the variety on Pete's Real Food’s menu – especially for a food service that caters to some of the most restrictive diets!

One of the things that most impressed me about Pete's Real Food is the noticeable commitment to flavor-packed cuisine variety. With meals like the Butter Chicken with Cilantro Cauliflower Rice that’s keto and AIP-friendly, restrictive dieters might more easily stick to their diets with this tasty meal.

Screenshot of Butter Chicken and Cilantro Cauliflower Rice.

Pete's Real Food makes following restrictive diets super easy with tasty dishes like this Butter Chicken.

Each meal is carefully prepared with 4.5 ounces of protein and seven ounces of veggies. Only Kids’ Lunches, Paleo breakfasts and Paleo lunches have slightly smaller portions.

Every dish is perfectly balanced so you can enjoy indulgent-sounding meals like this keto and AIP-friendly Caramelized Onion Burger with Roasted Brussels and Butternut Mash.

Screenshot of Caramelized Onion Burger with Roasted Brussels and Butternut Mash.

Restrictive dieters don't have to eat cardboard and can instead enjoy flavor-packed meals like this Caramelized Onion Burger.
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Since meals change with the seasons, you’ll be able to try new tastes and flavors throughout the year. For example, the winter menu includes delicious dishes like the Vegan Jambalaya, a flavor-packed homey dish with a kick.

Screenshot of Vegan Jambalaya.

Pete's Real Food not only offers super healthy ingredients, it offers great cuisine variety for each diet it caters to.

Unlike some meal delivery services, which place meals on rotation, the menu here changes every week for Paleo based on what farmers are supplying so there’s no shortage of variety, which means you’ll never get bored.

Shipping & Delivery

Pete's Real Food delivers to contiguous US states via FedEx and offers customers the option to track the status of their deliveries via email. Two-day shipping is free for all states except Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. Shipping for Washington depends on the zip code and I couldn't get a clear estimate of what it costs from customer service.

Shipping to Alaska and Hawaii is expensive and ranges from $25 – $45 depending on the size of the order and the zip code. This is the same if you choose expedited (24-hour) delivery.

While free shipping is excellent, I was disappointed to see that you can't choose your delivery days. If you want to pick a specific date or time for your delivery, you'll have more success with other meal delivery services like Freshly, for example, which offers customers flexible days and times for deliveries.

Although you can't pick set delivery days, the whole process is straightforward. Each order made by midnight PST on Sunday is shipped on Wednesday to arrive by Thursday or Friday. Orders or changes made to orders after that cutoff time are applied to the next week's orders.

Pete's Real Food organizes delivery this way because all of its meals are made to order during the week. All ingredients arrive within 1-2 days of dispatch and are carefully prepped and packaged to arrive by Thursday or Friday. This is great for maintaining ingredient quality and freshness but limits rescheduling options if something comes up during the week.

For customers living in remote areas, Pete's Real Food recommends upgrading your shipping to the Express service, to ensure that the delivery arrives promptly.

While you can’t choose your delivery days, you can choose whether you receive your order once per week or every two weeks. If you need to skip an order, you can call customer service, message on live chat, or simply log in via the website portal and adjust your delivery as necessary.

A great feature of Pete's Real Food is its shipping guarantee. This backs up your orders in case they’re delayed in transit, lost, damaged, spoiled, or stolen. If this happens, your order will be reshipped with meals of the equivalent value to your original purchase.

Subscription

To manage your Pete's Real Food subscription, you simply start by picking a plan. Once you’ve done this and paid for your order, you can login to your account, make changes, skip deliveries, or cancel your subscription at any time.

How to Sign Up

  1. Pick your meal plan. Click the Start Here button at the top of the main menu page, then choose one of four available meal plans.

Pete's meal plans

Choose the Paleo plan with chef-picked meals, or choose your meals withe the three other plans.

  1. Pick your meals. For the Paleo plan, all you have to do is choose the number of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you want, starting with a minimum of five meals for each meal type. For the remaining three plans, you choose a minimum of five meals.

Paleo plan meal options.

You can choose how many breakfasts, lunches, and dinners and whether you want weekly or biweekly deliveries.

Mix and Match lets you choose your own meals from the entire menu, while Kids’ Lunches and Vegan plans let you choose from the plan-specific menu. However, you can find Kids’ Lunches and Vegan meals on the Mix and Match menu.

Screentshot of Mix and Match meal options.

You can choose a la carte from the entire menu when you pick the Mix and Match meal plan.

  1. Click Check Out then select meal plan add-ons or continue to checkout. then The Dinner Extra Sides and Dinner Double Proteins are only available before checkout if you choose dinners on the Paleo plan. Broths and Bacon are available on all plans. Once you’ve confirmed your order you can either contact customer service to add Sides or Proteins to your order.

Screentshot of Mix and Match meal options.

You can choose a la carte from the entire menu when you pick the Mix and Match meal plan.

  1. Enter your address and payment information. Enter the address you want your meals delivered to and input your payment details. And that’s it – you’re done!

Screenshot of shipping and payment forms.

Enter your shipping and payment information, and make sure to double check your address before you confirm your order.

Managing Your Subscription

Once you’ve created an account you can manage your subscription by navigating to the website and clicking on My Account in the drop-down menu.

For example, if you don’t want to receive meals for one week, you can choose to skip a week. Or, if it turns out that the service doesn’t suit you, then you can cancel your subscription altogether. 

Customer Service

Having available, responsive customer support is one of the most important features of meal delivery services. While Pete’s Real Food completely re-branded and updated its menu to include almost twice the recipes it once offered, its customer support remains a bit behind.

The website states that you can reach customer support agents via email, live chat, and phone. However, I was only able to reach customer support via email, despite trying the live chat and calling the phone number many times during the website’s stated customer support hours of 9 am to 5 pm PST.

An agent eventually returned my phone call twice, once after five hours and another time 24 hours later.

Agents were responsive at an average rate of about once per hour during customer support hours. This is pretty inconvenient if you want to make a last-minute change before the weekly cutoff time or have a question about the food, service, or your delivery before completing your order.

However, you can manage most details of your account and weekly orders via your website login. Once you’ve created your online account, canceling your subscription is pretty simple. Simply log in, navigate to My Account (you’ll find this at the bottom of the dropdown menu), and cancel your subscription. You can also cancel via email.

Regarding the live chat, it’s important to note that it’s not quite live. It’s a chatbot that offers many useful answers to FAQs, but if you need answers other than what the bot offers, it requests your email and states that an agent responds via email.

If you’re comfortable contacting customer service via email and are used to adjusting your order details through your website account – this service will work for you. There’s also an FAQ section you can search through with keywords.

Prices

Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

$15.25 per portion

5 meals per order

Free to $45

Prices for Pete's Real Food meals start at $15.25 per portion based on one order of five meals per person.

What’s great about this service is that most orders come with free two-day FedEx shipping. The only states that charge for shipping are Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. All shipping other than two-day is expedited and priced from $25 to $45 depending on the zip code.

The menu is a bit confusing and makes it seem as though there’s a Paleo, Vegan, Mix and Match or Kids’ Lunch plan, but those are all a la carte menus except for the Paleo plan. Prices per meal on the Paleo plan range from $15.30 for breakfasts to about $20 for dinners.

Prices for a la carte meals range from $9.50 on the kids menu to $21.00 on the Mix and Match menu.

While the average per meal price is a bit higher than other fully prepared meal delivery services, it offers the highest ingredient quality of any meal delivery service, fine dining recipes, and the company also offers double protein portions and dinner sides for Paleo plan dinners.

Double protein portions are available in 5, 7, and 10 portions as add-ons when you choose dinners on the Paleo plan. Add on prices per protein portion are:

  • 5 – $53.65

  • 7 – $71.75

  • 10 – $99.77

Dinner sides are also available when you choose to order dinners from the Paleo plan. Sides also only come in 5, 7, and 10 portions and are priced as follows:

  • 5 – $43.51

  • 7 – $58.10

  • 10 – $79.47

Other add-ons include Pete’s bacon and Bone Broth. Bacon starts at minimum of $53.39 for 4 lbs (minimum) for a one-time or a recurring order and Broth starts at $76 for 96 oz or 12 servings of broth.

The Bottom Line: Is Pete's Real Food Worth It?

Pete's Real Food is a great option for people who want to maintain a paleo, keto, AIP, vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free diet without the stress of meal planning and prepping. With seasonally fresh farm-to-table ingredients and humanely raised proteins, the service is a great way to eat healthy when you don't have time to spend in the kitchen.

That said, Pete's Real Food is pretty expensive compared to some other meal delivery services and doesn't offer much in the way of customizations. People who want more control over their recipes – or actually prefer cooking – might not find what they need.

In these cases, I'd recommend looking at alternative meal delivery plans like Trifecta's build your own recipes in its Meal Prep plan or Fresh N Lean which offers less expensive paleo, keto, vegan, and low-carb vegan fully prepared meals. Both services offer similarly sourced, farm-fresh, high quality ingredients like Pete's Real Food.

FAQ

How much does Pete's Real Food cost?

Pete's Real Food offers a range of meal packages starting at $15.30 per meal (based on the Paleo breakfast plan). Prices increase incrementally for lunches and dinners. Kids’ Lunches start at $9.50, and the remainder of the a la carte menu starts at $14.00.

Can you freeze Pete's Real Food meals? 

Yes, you can! Pete's Real Food meals can be frozen and will keep in the freezer for up to six months. This is a great way to make your meals last longer. When you’re ready to eat your meal, simply thaw in the fridge overnight, or place in lukewarm water for approximately 20 minutes (or until fully thawed), before reheating as per the usual instructions.

Is Pete's Real Food worth the money?

Pete's Real Food is a good option if you’re looking for a way to eat nutritionally balanced meals without having to worry about meal prep or cooking. However, as the meal delivery service is on the pricier side, it isn’t accessible to every budget. That said, Pete's Real Food is well-priced in comparison to other organic, specialist meal delivery services.

How do you cancel your Pete's Real Food subscription?

Simply log into your Pete's Real Food account to manage your subscription. You can cancel your Pete's Real Food membership at any time. To do this you’ll need to click on Manage My Account in the dropdown menu on the left-hand side of the Pete's Real Food homepage.

Will Pete's Real Food help me lose weight? 

Pete's Real Food isn’t specifically designed for weight loss. However, its a good option for people looking to achieve a paleo or keto diet to meet their health and wellbeing goals. All meals come with full nutritional information labeled on each tray.

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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