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Diet Food Delivery Programs and Apps

Diet Plan Food Choices.

Some diet plans, whether meals prepared in a commissary and delivered to your door or cooked in your very own kitchen, impose limitations on which foods are allowed, especially in the beginning. Sometimes the DIY diets actually offer fewer food options than the diet-food delivery plans.

Among the weight loss programs we researched, the Atkins and South Beach diets are the most restrictive in terms of food choices.

The Atkins Diet is all about minimizing intake of carbohydrates and building a diet around protein and high-fiber foods. The first two-week phase, called Induction, allows only the consumption of protein, cheese, certain vegetables, nuts/seeds, and "healthy" fats while limiting carbohydrate intake to a maximum of 12-15 grams a day. As you move through the three phases and edge closer to your target or maintenance weight (phase 4), the list of permissible foods (e.g., legumes, fruits, starchy vegetables) grows. The multi-stage South Beach Diet starts with meals heavy on lean protein, vegetables, beans, nuts, eggs, unsaturated fats, and low-fat dairy and then introduces fruits, whole grains, and other vegetables in phase 2. Although many consumers report success with the South Beach regimen, some reviews carp about the restrictive food choices, even after the first two phases, and caution that long-term success depends on a complete lifestyle change.

Tracking food intake is the norm for most diet plans. Weight Watchers is no exception, but this plan adds a twist with its "point counting" system that leaves plenty of room for variety. Each food is assigned a value based on the protein, carbohydrate, fat, and fiber content. In general you can eat anything as long as you stick to the daily point limit, which climbs higher with more exercise. A new Weight Watchers feature called Simple Start is designed to jumpstart weight loss by limiting intake to "power foods" such as fresh fruits and whole grains during the first two weeks.

The SparkPeople diet stresses smart eating habits that involve tracking (and burning) calories and choosing foods that are fresh and high in nutrients and complex carbohydrates. This weight-loss approach comes down on the side of variety, flexibility, and portion control rather than offering up a list of forbidden foods. Nutrisystem doesn't restrict foods either but lays out a diet-friendly selection, with specific plans that account for the needs of men, women, seniors, vegetarians, and diabetics. The site also provides a list of foods to buy at the supermarket that supplement the home deliveries -- recommendations include foods such as cereals and starchy vegetables, low-fat yogurt and tofu, carrots and spinach, and air-popped popcorn.

Mobile Tracking.

Over the last few years almost all diet plans, even the relatively inexpensive ones, have released smartphone apps. Reviews of these apps generally extol dieters' new ability to quickly and easily track progress while on the go. The Weight Watchers mobile app, available for iOS and Android devices, can monitor food intake and recommend the best choice when dining at a restaurant. Dieters can even snap a picture of their meal and save it until they have time to determine the exact point value. When shopping, scanning the barcode on grocery items yields the point value, which can then be added to the diet plan. The app also generates recipes using the scanned and purchased items.

The Atkins and South Beach diet apps, also available for iOS and Android devices, track weight, provide recipes, plan meals, and recommend diet-appropriate foods. The South Beach app also lets members ask questions of nutritionists and receive one-on-one advice. SparkPeople offers four distinct mobile apps, all for iOS and Android, including one that tracks diet and fitness and another for health and fitness goals, one that provides healthy recipes and videos, and one that focuses on fitness with a structured workout plan. The Nutrisystem app, for iOS and Android devices, tracks weight, exercise, and water consumption and also serves as a personal journal and progress log. Because food options are limited to Nutrisystem offerings, there's no carb or calorie counter but users can browse through menu options and plan future deliveries.

Review continues below

Dieters can also find free and cheap fitness and weight-loss apps to our blog post that are independent of these diet plan companies.

Diet Plans Customer Relations Reviews.

One complaint about the fee-based membership and food-delivery diet plans that pops up frequently in consumer reviews concerns customer service. When it comes to billing, reviewers report difficulty canceling memberships (charges keep appearing on their bank cards) and others gripe about not receiving credit for food deliveries gone awry.

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In this review:
  1. Best Cheap Diet Plans
  2. Diet Plan Reviews
  3. Diet Food Delivery Programs and Apps
  4. Discount Diet Plans Features Comparison Table
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