Trifecta Review

Meal delivery tailored toward meeting fitness goals

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3.8

Trifecta

chicken breast, vegetables, and mashed potatoes on a white plate

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

Trifecta is a good choice for individuals seeking a gluten-free meal plan to support strong fitness goals, including bodybuilding. If you aren’t a picky eater and are looking for pre-selected, portion-controlled, ready-to-heat meals high in lean protein and low in carbs, this may be a good choice for you. Just be mindful of the strong use of diet culture language across the board.

Pros
  • Decent overall flavor

  • Satisfying portion sizes

  • A la carte options

  • Registered dietitians on staff

Cons
  • Can’t view menu prior to ordering

  • Use of diet-culture language such as “clean eating”

  • Inaccurate heating times

  • Unappealing packaging

3.8

Trifecta

chicken breast, vegetables, and mashed potatoes on a white plate

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

The Trifecta meal delivery service specializes in single-serving, pre-made meals designed for athletes or those interested in adhering to a calorie- or portion-controlled meal plan, available for all meal occasions every day of the week. All meals are 100% gluten-free made with minimally processed whole foods. Meals arrive vacuum sealed on plastic trays, fresh, not frozen, ready to reheat in a matter of minutes.

Trifecta was founded in 2015 by two siblings who wanted to develop a subscription service that combined their passions for food and fitness in order to make it easy for customers to eat healthily. We tried several of Trifecta's meal offerings to see what the service is all about.

Trifecta has a team of nutrition, fitness, and culinary experts to provide additional support and credibility for its programs.

Pricing: Cost-Effective 

Trifecta offers different pricing plans based on the number of meals ordered per week. Starting at $12.99 per meal for a minimum order, the Vegan and Vegetarian plans are the lowest priced. The Clean, Paleo, and Keto plans are all just slightly higher, starting at $15.49 per meal for a minimum order. Weekly pricing increases from there depending on whether you add breakfast, dinner, or a third entree, but the more total meals you order, the lower the cost per meal. Customers can order up to 28 meals per week. Shipping is always free.

A brief breakdown on pricing:

  • Clean Meal Plan: $110.99 per week (7 lunch entrees per week)
  • Paleo Meal Plan: $110.99 per week (7 lunch entrees per week)
  • Keto Meal Plan: $110.99 per week (7 lunch entrees per week)
  • Vegan Meal Plan: $99.99 per week (7 lunch entrees per week)
  • Vegetarian Meal Plan: $99.99 per week (7 lunch entrees per week)

How It Works: Select a Meal Plan 

Trifecta has two major categories of meal plans: Convenience and Control. Both are designed as heat-and-eat meals or meal components. The Convenience meal plans include Clean, Paleo, Keto, Vegan, and Vegetarian. Once you choose a plan, you will be asked to select what kind of meals you want daily (breakfast, lunch, dinner, third entree), and choose between five and seven days. Note that the minimum order is lunch or dinner for seven days. The five-day option is only available if two meal types are selected (breakfast and lunch, for example).

Customers can choose a maximum of every meal type delivered every day of the week (28 meals total). The “Control” meal plans are available for those wanting bulk orders of multiple trays for family members or to meal prep for the week. These give more flexibility in terms of preferences and customization. Meal plans in this section include Meal Prep, Classic Meals, Budget Meal Prep Kit, and Meat Lovers Prep Kit. These plans allow customers to mix and match proteins and sides or order multiples of a selection of individual combined meals from a core menu.

If you are not sure which is the right plan for you, customers can opt to take a quiz with prompted questions about personal health and fitness goals, lifestyle, and food preferences to generate a recommendation. We found the meal plan process to be a bit overwhelming and confusing since there were so many options and combinations to choose from, so we recommend the quiz to help narrow down your options.

Trifecta said its mission is "revolutionizing health and transforming lives by giving you the food, tools, and coaching you need to crush your goals and feel your best." Trifecta has a team of nutrition, fitness, and culinary experts to provide additional support and credibility for its programs. The team includes a doctor and two registered dietitians (including the nutrition director, who served as the dietitian for the Navy SEALs), as well as an executive sous chef with a background in nutrition and a robust culinary team with chefs specializing in culinary nutrition.

trifecta prepared meals in white trays on a counter

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

Choosing Meals: Limited Customization, Not for Picky Eaters

Meal selection options vary based on the type of meal plan. Meals in the Convenience section are a chef’s choice, so they change weekly based on seasonal selections. Customers can specify up to two meal preferences or allergies such as omitting a major ingredient from all meals like red meat or shellfish.

Meals from meal plans are all single servings and pre-selected. After signing up, you can edit the selections by increasing and/or decreasing the number of specific meals. Meals in the Control section are more customizable in terms of mixing and matching and choosing specific meals and meal components. All meals are made with gluten-free whole grains, high-quality proteins (cage-free eggs, pasture-raised/grass-fed beef, and sustainably caught seafood), locally sourced produce, and organic vegetables when possible. Any changes, skips, or cancellations must be made the Friday before the following Friday's delivery (because boxes are packed well in advance of shipping).

It is not clear how many options there are for the Convenience section because the meals change frequently. However, after placing our order for the Clean Meal Plan, we received a total of 10 meals with seven different items (three meal trays were repeats of another meal in the box). When perusing the menu for the Control plans, on the “Classic Menu” tab there are two different breakfast options and 10 lunch/dinner options but with a lot of overlapping ingredients. For the a la carte items, there are 14 different proteins, five different carbohydrate sides (including one dessert), five different vegetable sides, and two snacks (both almonds).

The special dietary plans are defined as follows:

  • Clean Meals: “A traditional 'clean eating diet' that can quickly improve your body composition but still includes some simple carbohydrates for those of us that are active and might not be a great fit for Paleo"
  • Paleo Meals: “Includes 'Paleo' style foods that are modeled after eating foods that are our ancestors would have eaten in the Paleolithic Era and includes anything we could hunt or find—meats, fish, nuts, seeds, and veggies"
  • Keto Meals: "A unique diet that can promote fat loss while keeping your appetite in check. Trifecta Keto meals include plenty of low-carb ingredients, satiating healthy fats, micronutrients, grass-fed meats, and sustainably caught seafood. This meal plan combines the three keys to a healthy diet—macro balance, calorie control, and whole-food ingredients."
  • Vegan Meals: "A traditional Vegan diet and includes some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, and carbohydrates available on the market today. These meals are also macro-balanced to ensure all customers are getting a good base of protein and carbohydrates to fuel ideal body composition."
  • Vegetarian Meals: "A traditional Vegetarian diet and includes some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, and carbohydrates available on the market today. These meals are also macro-balanced so you can enjoy a plant-based diet. Because the meals are dairy and gluten-free, they are very similar to the Vegan meals; however, they do include eggs for breakfast."

What We Made

We chose the five-day Clean Meal Plan, which included a combination of lunch/dinner meals, and had 10 meals total (seven different dishes).

We focused on these five for the purposes of this review:

  • Zucchini and bell pepper frittata
  • Shrimp with sumac carrots and chickpeas
  • Grilled chicken with herb roasted potatoes and lentils
  • Thyme pot roast with quinoa
  • Cilantro rice and beans with chipotle salmon

Packaging: Minimal and Fully Recyclable

The box arrived neatly and minimally packed with the vacuum-sealed trays stacked with numerous ice packs on the bottom, on top, and between the trays. There were no additional support materials, but each tray had a stick-on label with the name of the dish, ingredients, nutritional information, and heating instructions.

The box was well insulated with two Temperpacks made of renewable plant-based components and paper as well as six ice packs that could be cut open, emptied, and recycled, or simply reused. Each meal came in a Cryovac recyclable plastic tray that had been vacuum-sealed and easily slid into the refrigerator for easy stacking.  According to the Trifecta website, the packaging is 98% biodegradable. The only downside was that we found the trays frustrating to open since there was no pull-back tab for the film or easy-opening instructions.

trifecta meals in cardboard shipping box

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

Customer Support: Abundant and Prompt

Customer support and supplemental resources are abundant at Trifecta. While there are no support materials in the box, there are heating instructions and ingredient and nutrition information on the stick-on label for each meal. As far as additional information, upon subscribing we immediately received an email from customer support sharing information about the Trifecta app and subsequently received three additional emails over a five-day period with helpful resources and FAQs. At the same time, we began to receive a steady stream of emails (one daily) from Trifecta’s nutrition director, who introduced herself as our “personal diet coach.” We felt this number of emails was overbearing for our communication preferences and it was hard to keep up with, but perhaps for someone needing daily support, this would be appreciated.

Should there be an issue, customer service can be reached by a bot chat, live person chat, phone, or email as well as weekend support. We reached customer service numerous times. The first time, we reached someone almost immediately by phone who was very helpful and swiftly resolved our request to modify our plan. The second and third times we called customer service after hours and did not receive a response, but we got a callback to our mobile phone later that day, even though we had not left a message or number. The fourth time, we reached out via email in the evening and received a response the next morning.

Nutrition: Macro-Based, Gluten-Free

Trifecta devotes a lot of its messaging to its commitment to nutrition and how it uses nutrition science to inform recipes. The overall nutrition philosophy is focused on “macro balanced” meals, following specific macronutrient and ingredient standards, that are free of gluten, dairy, and soy. While nutrition information for specific meals is only on the package labels and not given prior to ordering, averages are shared on the website for each meal plan. Those figures are based on a four-week average of all of the recipes in Trifecta’s operation, so even though ingredients will change based on seasonality and availability, the general macronutrient balance remains the same.

Trifecta makes it clear that the meals it provides are portion and calorie-controlled no matter which meal plan a customer chooses. There is generally a lot of language around dieting, “cleaning up” your diet, weight loss, building muscle, losing fat, and controlling calories. For someone looking for a basic non-restrictive healthy eating plan, the only one that comes close (other than ordering from the a la carte menu), is the Clean Meal plan, yet even that omits dairy, gluten, and soy and includes diet culture language. The Vegetarian plan, which at first glance may not seem like a special diet, is actually still more restrictive than one would think since it excludes dairy and gluten, even though those nutrients are frequently consumed by vegetarians.

There is generally a lot of language around dieting, "cleaning up" your diet, weight loss, building muscle, losing fat, and controlling calories.

The Cooking Process: Heat and Eat

Since all meals are pre-made and arrive fresh, they just need to be reheated. Microwave heating instructions for each meal are provided on the stick-on label on each tray, but we noticed they are the same for every meal even though in reality, the cooking time may vary. The instructions also include a recommendation to use a skillet, air fryer, or oven for optimal texture and even heating.

We tried a combination of oven, skillet, and microwave for our meals during testing in order to assess the differences in quality. If you're not using a microwave, you must transfer the food inside the tray to an oven-safe dish or skillet. For microwave heating, simply poke holes in the film on the tray and heat as is. We found the timing in the oven to be most accurate compared to the instructions, but we needed a few extra minutes to reheat the food in the skillet. We also felt there should have been instructions to use a non-stick pan or add some additional oil to the skillet because the grain in the meal (rice) ended up sticking a lot and caused a big mess in our skillet. Note that we followed directions very literally for objective testing.

Flavor, Freshness, and Quality: High-Quality Ingredients, Decent Flavor

Ready-to-heat meals always present a challenge in terms of visual appeal, texture, and muddled flavors due to the nature of fresh, packaged foods. We found some of these issues in the Trifecta meals we tried. The colors were dull and there was a fair amount of very soft mushy produce and grains, but we found that the proteins retained a nice texture and were cooked appropriately to temperature (i.e. medium-well for a red meat dish we tried rather than overly well done). Reheating in an oven or skillet was definitely a factor; when reheated in the microwave, the quality was not the same.

The flavors in the dishes that we tried were very different from one another and we liked the use of dried herbs and spices, but there weren’t any bright or fresh flavors in any of the dishes. After researching what other kinds of dishes Trifecta offers in addition to the ones we tried, we noted an effort to include dishes such as panang curry, Carolina-style BBQ, teriyaki, chimichurri, and others.

Trifecta does disclose a lot about its ingredient sourcing. The company pledges to use non-GMO ingredients, cage-free eggs, organic produce, grass-fed meats, and sustainably caught fish, and it supports using as much as possible from local, family-run suppliers with sustainable practices. Trifecta is also committed to only using high-quality cooking oils such as olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. The chefs season the food with sea salt and organic spices.

Trifecta Is Good For

Trifecta is good for devoted athletes or fitness enthusiasts who prioritize following restricted eating plans to decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass. This could also be a good meal delivery service for someone interested in following a paleo or keto diet to achieve specific health or weight loss goals. Trifecta is not for anyone with a history of disordered eating, yo-yo dieting, or someone who does not want to feel like they are on a diet since there is so much language and coaching around tracking calories, building muscle vs. fat, clean eating, and so on.

The Competition: Trifecta vs. Factor

Both Trifecta and Factor have a team of nutrition experts, including registered dietitians, to help design the menus. Both companies also offer keto meal plans as well as calorie-controlled plans and aim to help people achieve their health and wellness goals through convenient, heat-and-eat meal delivery. While the language at Factor focuses more on nutrient density, optimal nutrition, and purposeful eating, Trifecta’s consumer-facing communication focuses more on portion control and restriction and goals related to physique.

The dishes from Factor were noticeably richer, much higher in fatty flavors and textures, and included larger portions. There are also lighter items available for those wanting something else, but we did feel they did not feel as healthy as the marketing message “fitness starts with food” portrays. Pricing is comparable but Factor is slightly lower.

Final Verdict

Trifecta offers convenient macro-balanced meals made with high-quality ingredients and decent flavors. We like that it offers meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with some snacks and also that this could be a helpful service for those wanting to stock their fridge with ingredients for easy mix-and-match meal prep during the week. But unless someone is already adhering to a strict diet that aligns with Trifecta’s guidelines, we feel the meal plans are too restrictive and were turned off by the prevalent use of diet culture language throughout the company website and the messaging in daily emails we received upon sign-up. While the company claims to cater to all diet preferences, we did not feel this was the case.

Methodology

We ordered, cooked, and evaluated meals from 27 meal delivery services to get a sense of each one’s offerings, nutrition profiles, prices, and, of course, flavors. We contacted the customer service teams at each of the companies, collected data, and wrote detailed reviews about each one.

Our writers are all registered dietitians and relied on their research and its resulting data to inform their reviews.

Specs

  • Product Name Trifecta
  • Lowest Price per Serving $12.99
  • Number of Diets Served 5
  • Number of Recipes 60
  • Delivery Area 50 states
  • Serving Sizes Available 1

By Kristy Del Coro, MS, RDN, CDN
Kristy is a licensed registered dietitian nutritionist and trained culinary professional. She has worked in a variety of settings, including MSKCC and Rouge Tomate.