If part of your January 2024 mindset involves prioritizing — and simplifying — healthy eating, you might be thinking about trying a prepared meal delivery service. But there are so many to choose from. How do you pick? No worries. We're already on it. We tested many of the most popular meal services on the market, and in the category of nonfrozen prepared meals there's a clear winner: Territory Foods.
Not familiar? No problem. Below is our deep review. The short version: Territory Foods delivers delicious microwavable meals, with many options for different dietary preferences: plant-based, Paleo, low-carb, Whole30, under-500-calories and more.
Often, when you're trying to stick to a particular way of eating, life gets in the way. But you don't have to let a surprise meeting or a longer-than-expected visit from family derail your nutrition goals. Though the company doesn't make a big thing about it, all its meals are free of gluten and dairy (but have plenty of flavor).
The fully prepared meals provided by Territory Foods cost $13 to $20 apiece, with an additional shipping charge that varies by location. Let's learn more about this service's features, and then we'll get into the specifics of why we rate Territory Foods as a top prepared meal delivery service.
What's the story behind Territory Foods?
Territory Foods was launched as a marketplace of better-for-you meals that connects local chefs, nutritionists and culinary entrepreneurs to consumers, to make it easy for folks to eat well. Its rotating, regionally curated menus feature fresh, noninflammatory ingredients that optimize whole-body health, support a wide variety of dietary preferences and have a minimal environmental impact. All you have to do is heat the meals according to the package instructions and — presto! — dinner is served.
How did we test Territory Food's prepared meal delivery service?
I ate Territory Foods meals with my family and friends — some of whom have asked me for recommendations for healthier meal services. I’ve been eating for a living for many years now: I have a degree from the French Culinary Institute and have worked for various food publications. I’m also a mom with an active teen and tween, for whom I cook daily.
I evaluated Territory Foods based on the following criteria:
Subscription price, because everyone has different budgets.
Ease of use, because you’re getting a meal to make your life easier, so you don’t want anything too complicated or time-consuming.
Menu choices, because you want a good variety of flavors and ingredients.
Taste, because above all you want dinner to be yummy!
Packaging: Is there too much? Does this service put too much waste into the world?
I considered feedback from other on-staff meal testers for a variety of opinions (we got reviews from a family of five, a family with both an infant and a tween, and a family of three with vegetarians and vegans). I also weighed info from Facebook groups devoted to discussing meal kits, plus expert advice from Jaclyn London, a registered dietitian based in New York City.
The Territory Foods meals I tried and how I liked them
I tried a bunch of meals, including a Zesty Chicken Patty with Chipotle Sweet Potato and Sauteed Kale (pictured above), Coconut Curry Chickpeas with Roasted Cauliflower and Pumpkin Seeds and Mongolian-Style Beef with Broccoli over Cauliflower Rice. These meals were appreciated more by the adults who ate them than the teens (who did not know that the recipes were all gluten-, dairy- and refined-sugar-free). Some of the meals were fairly bland (Mongolian-Style Beef) and others were well-seasoned (Coconut Curry Chickpeas for the win).
With Territory Foods' price point as high as takeout, I decided to approach testing these meals with this question: Would the high-quality ingredients and health-conscious nutrition profiles outweigh the absence of gluten, sugar and dairy? The answer is mixed. Some meals were perfectly delicious with lots of flavor and others were bland and also not satiating. I ended up adding my own avocado with sea salt and a squeeze of lemon to the Zesty Chicken Patty meal in lieu of the included sauce, which gave the dish a boost, but I still went looking for snack an hour later.
What can you expect from a Territory Foods meal?
You won't waste time and energy stressing about what to cook or when to shop — just open the fridge, pull out a meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner and heat it up in the microwave. When you're ready to place a Territory Foods order, you can browse the whole weekly menu or filter meals by dietary restriction or preference: Paleo, keto-friendly, plant-based or vegetarian, low fat, low carb and more. You can choose your delivery day and even add extras like portions of cooked protein, breakfast foods, snacks and desserts.
What if you're nervous about trying Territory?
Territory Foods offers major discounts to first-time customers, making it very affordable to try before you commit (or don’t). Take advantage of any of its offers, and mark your calendar with an alert for the date by which you must cancel the subscription.
What if I need to skip a week?
You can skip a week or cancel if your needs change.
Where can I find the Territory Foods nutritional information?
Click on specific dishes on the online menu each week from complete into. Nutritional info is also on the label that's affixed to the packaging itself. With Territory Foods, all animal proteins are raised without antibiotics or hormones, and seafood is fished or farmed responsibly. Because certain ingredients are at the top of the inflammatory foods list — gluten, dairy, highly processed oils like canola or rapeseed, or refined sugars — Territory Foods does not use them.
Is Territory Foods a meal delivery service for weight loss?
Not specifically, but Territory Foods meals can help you meet your nutrition-related goals.
How long do Territory Foods meals last?
Some ingredients naturally hold up better than others, so Territory Foods includes suggestions on the meal label for which meals to eat earliest in your rotation. For example, any leafy green salad should be consumed earlier. Look at each meal for the eat-by date.
Can I freeze Territory Foods meals?
This is not recommended. Territory Foods meals are fresh and intended to be eaten within several days.
How do Territory Foods ingredients stay fresh during shipping?
Territory Foods ships all of its meals in insulated boxes with ice packs that will keep the box at refrigerated temperatures for quite a long time. These methods have been tested in all seasons, across climates.
Is it safe to eat food reheated in plastic containers in the microwave?
Territory Foods meals are delivered to you in plastic containers that are safe for food storage as well as for heating in the microwave oven.
Can I recycle the Territory Foods packaging?
Yes. You'll find lots of info about recycling its different forms of packaging on the Territory Foods site.
The final verdict on Territory Foods
The meals were mostly tasty with a few misses. If you know you have a hectic week ahead and are concerned about the nutritional value of takeout and fast food, Territory Foods meals may be the answer. But if the budget is tight, keep in mind that the cost of Territory Foods is on par with takeout meals. I would probably order Territory Foods again with nutrition goals in mind, justifying the cost of the meals with the time and mental energy saved.
We received complimentary samples of some meal delivery services and purchased others ourselves and reviewed all with the same criteria.