What Is the Diet-to-Go Balance Meal Plan?

diet-to-go balance meal plan

Verywell / Debbie Burkhoff

At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

Diet-to-Go is a meal delivery service designed for weight loss. Its menus are calorie-controlled and nutritionally balanced and have been rated highly for taste. The company offers four types of meal plans: Balance, Balance-Diabetic, Keto-Carb30, and Vegetarian. The meals are made with familiar foods like chicken, seafood, vegetables, and grains. Depending on your needs, you may find the convenience useful. However, the limited-calorie plan can be difficult to sustain.

Diet-to-Go was founded in 1991 in Virginia by entrepreneur Hilton Davis. A pioneer in the diet food delivery industry, Diet-to-Go offered one of the first diet meal mail-order products in 1999 and now prepares over 40,000 meals per week. It operates a local pickup service through providers like Gold's Gym, World Gym, and Walgreen's in New Jersey, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. (including northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs). Elsewhere, the foods are shipped frozen overnight by express courier.

What Experts Say

"Diet-to-Go is a meal delivery service for those trying to lose weight. By offering different types of meal plans—like vegetarian and low-carb—it is able to cater to a wide range of needs. However, experts agree the calorie levels may be too low for some individuals."
Chrissy Carroll, RD, MPH

What You Can Eat

When signing up as a Diet-to-Go customer, you choose which of the four menu plans you would like. All of the dishes are made with familiar ingredients (such as chicken, seafood, vegetables, and grains), except for some flavor enhancers used in chicken stock-based sauces.

You can either receive the meal plan as it comes, with dishes delivered in rotation every five weeks or put together a customized plan on the Diet-to-Go website. The meals come in plastic trays, ready to heat and eat.

What You Need to Know

The Diet-to-Go plan is simple because you will receive completely prepared, portion-controlled meals from the service. The Balance plan provides 1200 calories per day for women and 1600 calories for men. To meet a weight-loss goal, you will need to stick with the provided meals and not add extra calories (as in sauces, beverages, side dishes, desserts, etc.).

In addition to its Balance plan, Diet-to-Go also offers a vegetarian Balance plan and two low-carb plans. Keto-Carb30 replaces carbs with fat (similar to the Atkins diet) and delivers an average of 30 net carbs per day. The Balance-Diabetic plan meets American Diabetic Association guidelines (an average of 45-60 g of carbs per meal). It is designed to control blood sugar.

You can choose whether you want to receive Diet-to-Go meals five or seven days per week, and whether you want three meals per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) or just two (omitting breakfast). Again, if you are trying to meet a weight-loss goal or stick to a low-carb plan, you will need to make your own decisions about how many calories and/or carbohydrates you consume when you prepare your own meals.

As with other major diet meal plan providers, Diet-to-Go offers its customers certified health coaches to help meet their weight loss goals. Unlike Jenny Craig, the coaches don't make regular one-on-one contact but are there for support when needed.

Sample Meal Plan

The Diet-to-Go meals come pre-packaged and calorie-controlled. There is flexibility in which meals you choose for your plan each week. The meals are provided for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Everything for the meals is provided, including sides and condiments. Everything is pre-prepared and ready to eat. Keep in mind, this is not an all-inclusive meal plan, and if following the diet, you may find other meals that work best for you.

Day 1

  • Breakfast: Blueberry pancakes; turkey sausage
  • Lunch: Sofrito chicken melt on pita bread with tomatillo salsa
  • Dinner: Penne pasta with turkey meat sauce; carrots; sugar snap peas

Day 2

  • Breakfast: Waffles with blueberry cream cheese
  • Lunch: Salmon burger with mango salsa
  • Dinner: Herb-crusted tilapia; polenta; broccoli with lemon

Day 3

  • Breakfast: Kale and swiss frittata; chicken sausage
  • Lunch: Chicken pesto salad; whole wheat roll
  • Dinner: Thai turkey tenderloin; green beans; tomatoes; brown rice

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Portion- and calorie-controlled

  • No meal planning or preparation

  • Menus can be customized

  • Four different menu plans

  • Meals are tasty and good quality

Cons
  • May not be sustainable

  • Limited calories may leave you hungry

  • $20/week shipping fee in addition to cost of meals

  • Low-carb plans based on average net carbs, not a strict limit

Pros

Convenience

Diet-to-Go meals require no preparation, except for reheating. Especially if you get the full 21-meal weekly plan, you will not have to think at all about what you are eating. Everything is pre-planned and prepared.

Flexibility

While all meals are pre-planned, you can choose from the four different types of plans and then customize the menu within the plan (for example, if you have certain allergies or don't care for seafood).

Taste

Diet-to-Go meals are made fresh each week, and the quality of the food is high. Nothing is overly seasoned, so customers can add their own additional seasoning if they prefer.

Safety

Meals are prepared in a commercial kitchen that is frequently inspected by government agencies. They adhere to nutritional guidelines issued by the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and American Diabetes Association. The meal plans do not overly restrict particular nutrients or include questionable supplements.

Still, these meal plans need to be carefully considered to determine if they are the best choice for you. Restricting calories, carbohydrates, and food choices to this degree may be difficult to sustain.

Cons

Sustainability

It is hard to stick with a restricted-calorie diet for the long term. Using a pre-planned menu means you don't learn to change your eating habits to continue this diet on your own.

Cost

Diet-to-Go meal and shipping prices (about $165 for 21 meals) are better than or comparable to other meal delivery services. And you will not necessarily need to grocery shop for supplemental items. However, you may find it hard to keep paying this amount week after week.

Net Carbs

Diet-to-Go's Keto-Carb30 and Balance-Diabetic low-carb plans are based on an average daily number of net carbs (30/day and 45/meal, respectively). This means that some days will exceed that number. If you're on a strict low-carb plan, you may need to keep tabs on the daily carb count and make adjustments.

Is Diet to Go a Healthy Choice for You?

Diet-to-Go's Balance plan is similar to other portion-controlled meal delivery services in terms of offerings and cost. It meets USDA guidelines for nutritional balance. The Balance plan includes all food groups and is designed to be calorie-controlled and nutritionally balanced. It's simple to follow this diet, as most or all of your meals are pre-planned and provided. (If you travel frequently or need to eat out for business meetings, this may be more difficult for you.)

Health Benefits

Food Groups

The Diet-to-Go Balance plan meets the guidelines for nutritional variety, offering a healthy selection of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and other proteins (the meals do not contain red meat or pork). Vegetarian meals are similar but do not include chicken, turkey, or fish. The low-carb plans shift the proportions so that the emphasis is on protein and fat.

Helps Control Blood Sugar

If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, the Diet-to-Go Balance-Diabetes plan can make controlling your blood sugar much easier. This is especially the case if you are new to needing management of your blood sugar levels. The plan will provide appropriately balanced meals so that your blood sugar levels stay at a healthy level. Speak to your doctor about your personal medical condition before adopting any new diet plan.

Health Risks

Calories

The USDA recommends around 2000 calories a day for weight maintenance, with calorie levels depending on factors such as age, sex, and activity level. The Diet-to-Go meals are designed for weight loss and clock in at 1200 (for women) to 1600 (for men) daily calories. This may or may not be right for you, depending on your age, health, current weight, and activity level. To estimate your own needs, use this Weight Loss Calorie Goal Calculator.

May Leave You Hungry

Calorie requirements vary from person to person. For some people, 1200 calories or 1600 calories may not be enough and may lead to constant hunger. This (or any) delivery service may not be able to accommodate your personalized needs.

Sustainability

It could be challenging to maintain this level of calorie restriction for the long term, and the diet does not teach you how to eat this way without the structure provided by the prepared meals. As well, the cost of the plan may make sustaining it long-term prohibitive for some people.

A Word From Verywell

For those who would rather not cook or want more structure in their diet routine, Diet-to-Go may be a good option. The prices (including delivery) are reasonable, and the quality and variety of meals are good.

Following the diet could help you lose weight, especially if you stick with the delivery meals and use caution when eating off-plan meals or snacks. However, it may be challenging to sustain the low-calorie diet for the long term and keep buying the program meals indefinitely. Remember that long-term weight loss, maintenance, and overall health result from a variety of factors, including diet, exercise, and sleep.

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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