Monday , January 25 2021
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Trifecta review: The healthy meal delivery service uses high quality ingredients but comes at a cost

Prepared meals for carb and calorie counters and the fitness-focused but are Trifecta Nutrition healthy meal plans worth the hefty price tag?

New Year’s resolutions are easy to make but famously not so easy to stick to. If you’re looking to get your healthy eating on in 2021, the key is to find or create healthy habits and plans that actually stick. It’s certainly reasonable to seek a little help in doing that and a healthy meal delivery service that uses quality ingredients could be the thing to kick your new year nutrition goals into gear.

Trifecta Nutrition is one of the new healthy prepared meal delivery systems that deliver fully cooked, vacuum-sealed meals and meal prep bundles to your door so you don’t have to cook. Ever. The company claims to use the “highest quality ingredients in the industry” and its healthy meal plans are geared towards athletes and those trying to stick to a low-calorie, low-carb and high protein diet. Trifecta also sells bundles of cooked meat, grains and sides for meal planning, so you can create your own meals every week.

I’ve reviewed a few of Trifecta’s competitors including Freshly and Daily Harvest, both of which deliver healthy prepared meals. To see how Trifecta compared, I tested out a week’s worth of meals.

Trifecta Nutrition delivers weekly boxes of healthy, precooked meals to your door. The meals are vacuum-sealed and shipped in cooler boxes (not frozen). Unlike meal kits, Trifecta meals require no prep or cooking at all. Only heating and eating. 

Trifecta offers several meal plans, mostly geared towards people trying to keep to a diet like clean eating, keto, paleo, vegetarian or vegan. The company offers meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all developed by a team of dieticians so, in theory, you could eat Trifecta for every meal if you wanted. One thing to note is Trifecta has a minimum order of seven meals which starts at $114, but you can skip an order anytime. 

Read moreBest healthy meal kits and meal delivery services in 2021: Sun Basket, Blue Apron, Freshly and more

Also, unlike some other prepared meal services, you don’t get to pick your own meals or have much say at all in what food shows up. The exception to this rule is the Classic Meal Plan in which you do pick and choose meal but they are very lightly seasoned with no spice or sauces. This plan is aimed at anyone with food allergies, specific preferences or requires desires consistency in their diet. There are also bulk a la carte sides and protein bundles designed for meal planning that you can choose. (More on this in a bit.)

Trifecta’s meals are healthy, with lots of lean meats, vegetables and whole grains. The food is developed by a team of nutritionists and dieticians and most Trifecta meals are between 300 and 500 calories. The meals rarely contain empty carbs or calories such as potatoes, white rice or high-in-cholesterol foods such as cheese and dairy. There are some seafood meals including salmon and mahi-mahi and a lot of chicken, turkey and beef. No matter what plan you choose, you’ll be getting meals that are high in protein and low in calories.

Trifecta also uses mostly organic produce — though if you look at the wording carefully it’s not confirmed that all produce is organic — but the company does claim to source as much as possible from small, local, organic farms. Trifecta also maintains that all its meats are humanely raised and free-range, beef is grass-fed and seafood is wild-caught and not farmed. 

Trifecta doesn’t get too crazy with unusual spice and bold flavors but you’ll find some interesting seasonings and sauces including a beef patty with chimichurri sauce or barbecue chicken wings with coconut collard greens. Meals come to you vacuum sealed and Trifecta recommends eating them within 10 days. You could also pop some of them into the freezer (as I did) and get a much longer shelf life. 

A quintet of Trifecta meals. 

One unique service that Trifecta offers is bulk portions of precooked meat, fish veggies and grains for meal planning. It’s cheaper than the regular meal plans but you’ll have to assemble the meals yourself and they won’t be accompanied by the sauces and seasonings. For instance, one of the meal prep bundles includes 2 pounds each of chicken, beef, turkey, brown rice and sweet potato for $125 a week. Beyond the bundles, you can order specific (cooked) veggies, grains, fish and meats such as four 4-ounce servings of chicken per week for $15 or four 4-ounce servings of wild-caught salmon for $23 a week. These can be ordered outside of the meal plans and, in my opinion, are a much better deal.

Trifecta meals are fully cooked so all you need to do is heat them. How you do that is up to you and while most can be microwaved, I recommend heating them gently in a covered skillet or in the oven using a low temperature. 

Warming gently in a skillet was my preferred method for preparing Trifecta meals.

Sesame chicken with bok choy and brown rice.

When it comes to taste and flavor, Trifecta meals aren’t anything to do backflips over. The brand’s biggest differentiator — and justification for the high cost — is the quality of ingredients, and you can indeed taste it in the final product. Meats and fish are tender and flavorful which is usually a sign they came from somewhere reputable. 

Trifecta meals are great if you’re trying to commit to eating healthy every day but have no desire to cook. Because you have to subscribe to a minimum of seven meals per order, it is indeed a commitment (though you can pause at any time). Trifecta is marketed towards athletes and that’s for a reason: If you’re training or keeping to a keto diet and looking for high-protein, low-calorie. low-carb meals, Trifecta will likely deliver. 

Get smart home reviews and ratings, video reviews, buying guides, prices and comparisons from CNET.

If you’re picky about what you eat, Trifecta is not the right service for you. Although most of the meals will have familiar flavors, at the end of the day you’re at the mercy of what Trifecta sends you. Trifecta is also not great for eaters who have high standards for taste or crave adventurous and inventive cuisine. I don’t mean that as an insult, but we’re talking about precooked meals that are never going to be as good as actual home-cooked food or even freshly prepared takeout. Trifecta’s recipes are also pretty standard and safe.

Trifecta meal plans start at $109 for a week. That price is for seven meals (the fewest amount of meals you can order) on the Clean Paleo or Keto plan and nets out to about $15.50 per meal. The Vegan or Vegetarian meals plans will run you $114 for 10 meals. One thing I found strange is that the price doesn’t come down much even if you choose a meal plan with many more meals. For instance, 10 meals a week is $150 a week ($15 for each meal) while 14 meals per week is $210 (still $15 per meal).

The a la carte meal planning bundles start at $119 per box and, according to Trifecta’s calculations, that nets out to about $6.50 for each meal. Individual subscriptions of cooked meats, fish, veggies and grains are priced accordingly, starting at about $10 a week and going up from there.

Trifecta’s recently made strides in this department and by January of this year will introduce biodegradable filled with nitrogen-enriched gel making most of the packaging either 100% biodegradable or curbside recyclable.

You can pause or cancel your subscription as long as you give the company seven days’ notice. You can only pause for a maximum of four weeks so if you’re not sure how long you’ll need to take a break, it might be best just to cancel and resubscribe later.

Though I didn’t find any of the meals offensive and actually many were quite flavorful, for me personally it’s hard to justify the cost of Trifecta meals. My biggest taste issue was with overcooked vegetables, especially broccoli which is in quite a few of the meals. You could get freshly made restaurant delivery every night and spend close to $15.50 on each meal, so it’s hard to see why one would spend that much on precooked and packaged meals, especially considering you can’t choose the food. 

The caveat to this would be if you’re concerned about consuming as much organic produce and free-range, wild-caught meats and seafood as possible and also want to have healthy meals at the ready throughout the week. If all that is true, and money isn’t an issue, Trifecta would be a good choice.

I do like Trifecta’s meal planning bundles, however, and would contend those are the best bargains that the service offers. Four portions of wild-salmon would cost you a whole lot more than $23 dollars at the grocery store, for instance. The other high-quality meats, fish and produce are also priced fairly for you to buy and have on hand for healthy lunches and dinners all week.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

This Article was first published on cnet.com

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