There are so many different types of meal subscriptions. Some like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh send packages of ingredients and recipes for you to cook meals easily. Others like Freshly or Factor75 send complete meals already prepared and packaged ready to heat up and eat.
You might think–what makes these pre-packaged meals any different from frozen meals brought at a grocery store? The difference is these meals are cooked fresh and shipped in coolers in two days. So, think of it as preparing food and putting it away to eat as “leftovers” later on.
The concept seems so simple and convenient. But is it worth it?
Why I got a meal subscription
During Lent, I decided I wanted to try and eat vegetarian and just healthier meals. I initially wanted to get one of the boxes with the ingredients and recipes to cook for myself. I was so excited to try new foods and cook for myself, but I realized I didn’t have the time nor the funds.
So, I began to research, like I usually do, for the best plan for me and my situation. Thanks to my searches, I came across many ads curated for me about meal subscriptions. I saw one for a program called Factor75. They were offering 50% off my first 10 meals.
This caught my attention. I checked out Factor’s site, which offered simple explanations about how the service was easy to use, for good food, and a reasonable price. I loved the minimalist look they had and how transparent they were about their process, ingredients, and company. Before registering or buying anything, I was able to see their menu and food options. I decided to use their promotion and do business with them.
How it works
I decided I only wanted to get 4 meals a week for my weekend dinners at work, and I only paid $30 a week with my discount. Plans range from 4-18 meals a week, with the price per meal decreasing with the more you purchase.
Once you choose your plan, you pick your meals for each week the week before they’re scheduled for delivery. There are about 20 different meal options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Factor is all about good nutrition. They offer consultations with nutritionists included with your subscription, and each plate contains info about its nutritional value. The meals offered are meat-based, vegetarian, and vegan, with all-natural ingredients.
Every week you choose your meals or let them pick for you, and Factor cooks and ships within 2 days.
What it is REALLY like
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first signed up. Would I like all these new and different meals I received? Well, I better like them since I paid for them! I don’t like wasting money or food, so I knew I had to eat them whether I liked the food or not. It turns out, most of them were tasty! Though some were “too healthy” for my taste buds.
I am used to very seasoned, heavily buttered, fries-for-every-side kind of meals. But I did this subscription, and Lenten promise, to try and move away from tater tots or rice as my staple carbs or side meals. I love my tots and Cuban rice and beans, but I love trying new foods and possibilities.
As you can see in the photos on the site, meals come plated and packaged in black containers with compartments for your main dish and side. And for the most part, these photos don’t lie. A meal comes in a sleeve with the Factor logo on top, labeled as to which meal it is on the side, nutrition facts on the back, and heating instructions. There’s a film ling the top of the black container, which you’d poke holes into and can heat up in the microwave or oven.
I don’t have photos of every meal I had with Factor, but here are a few of my favorites. Out of the meat-based ones, I liked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Breast. It came with zucchini noodles, and green beans and tomatoes on the side. I discovered I really like zucchini noodles, and they are an excellent substitute for regular noodles. For the fish, I loved the Horseradish Crusted Salmon and the Thai Pineapple Shrimp Bowl. The fish came with cauliflower mash, which I now know I love, and plan on using as a mashed potato substitute.
Is it worth it?
For me, it was worth it. In my busy life, not having any time to cook meals to take to work, this was the perfect option. I usually hoped my family would have leftovers for me to take to work, or I’d have to buy myself a meal to take.
I think a Factor meal subscription is worth it for anyone who is always on the go, trying to eat healthy foods, or wants to try new dishes.
If you have time to cook, I suggest ingredient subscriptions like Hello Fresh. Their site is a little confusing to use, and I even accidentally signed up for it just trying to check out what meals they have. With Hello Fresh, you indicate how many people you’re cooking for, how many recipes you want a week, and then choose which ones you like. They then deliver a box with the precise amount of ingredients needed for the meal and portions, so there are no leftover or wasted ingredients.
Hello Fresh is something my college peers who live on their own use. It’s helpful for them to get shipped ingredients and recipes to help them learn how to cook tasty and healthy food.
After Lent ended, I quickly stopped my meal subscription with Factor. Now working from home, I don’t have to worry about having meals for work. Also, my 50% off conveniently ended around the same time. Would I start using Factor again once we’re back in the workplace? I would if my budget allowed me to spend $60 a week.
I wish I could say I now eat the healthy cauliflower mash and zucchini noodles substitutes, but I just had a big plate of pasta and heavy meat sauce last night so, no. I’m still living at home and will just eat whatever is made for the family. Once I move out on my own I hope to eat these tasty, healthy meals again, this time made by my own hands.
Any questions about my experience or meal subscriptions, comment below! I’ll gladly help in any way I can.