I knew a guy who dropped so much weight on the keto diet that he was nearly unrecognizable when all was said and done. There is something appealing about a “diet” built on eating all the cheese and meat your heart desires, especially if it can clearly help you transform into a fitness god. But the whole idea was still kind of on the fringe for me. Sure that guy looked good, and I could survive off charcuterie in theory, but how does one not get bored of eating the same few things every day?
Mind you, I would feel differently if I had a private chef to whip up delicious, inventive, keto-compliant dinners every night. I wouldn’t have to think about it, and I wouldn’t have to find new ways to make chicken less chickeny.
Turns out, that dream could be a reality with a keto meal delivery service like Factor 75. And because I now work at a company where trying weird health trends is just another day in the life, I tip-tapped my fingers over my keyboard right to Factor 75’s website and ordered a week’s worth of keto meals all in the name of research. Here’s how it went.
What Is Factor 75?
If you don’t live under a rock, you’ve likely seen Factor 75 plastered all over social media. As a refresher: It’s a gourmet meal delivery service that delivers ready-made, chef-prepared, dietician-approved meals right to your doorstep in an insulated box. All you have to do is clear some fridge space and heat the food for a few minutes before eating—it’s fully prepared, unlike other meal kits that require cooking. Order enough of them and you’ll get each portion for around $11, which is huge, considering you can’t get a salad in New York City for less than $18.
Factor 75 offers tons of options depending on dietary needs (29+ meals and 33+ add-ons). Choose from five different meal plans (Keto, Chef’s Choice, Vegan/Veggie, Protein+, or Calorie Smart), or mix and match to your liking. It also provides snack options, shakes, juices, desserts, and extra protein servings, and offers premium upgrades for prime cuts of meat, like filet mignon.
What’s Good About Factor 75?
The nutritional information couldn’t be easier to decipher. After choosing the meal plan I wanted (keto), I was directed to the meals page, which had a pre-loaded selection ready for me. I decided to edit the suggestions, further personalizing my delivery, and found it extremely easy to navigate. Each of the meals clearly states what plan it complies with, whether that’s Keto, Calorie Smart, etc. But clicking on each thumbnail also brings up all the meal specifics, including the nutrition label and ingredients. Plus, you can easily find allergen information if you have any restrictions. Dare I say, this step was actually fun?
Delivered fresh, not frozen
One of the main differences between Factor 75 and many other meal delivery services is that its meals are chef-prepared and then delivered fresh, not frozen. This is a big deal, because frozen meat can get a bit rubbery and frozen veggies can turn to mush once cooked, and that is a total turnoff for me. Because the food isn’t encased in a rock-hard outer shell of ice, it makes the heating process so much smoother. I could, and did, heat everything up in a pan on the stove rather than nuking out the freshness in the microwave.
Factor’s whole schtick is that its meals are chef-prepared. You get all the makings of a homecooked meal without actually whipping out the cutting board and rifling through the spice rack. You know how food always tastes better when someone else prepares it? Factor 75 is no exception—I could tell that a real chef combined the flavors in each meal. But the cherry on top is that each meal is also dietician-approved. So there’s no guessing as to whether I overdid it on one ingredient or another, turning a healthy-ish meal into a total cholesterol bomb. In essence, it’s homecooked without room for error. This also means that although it’s healthy, it tastes like you ordered takeout. And IMO, nothing can be better than that.
The base meals are just the beginning—factor has eons of choices for add-ons or extras, no matter what you need to get through a week of healthy eating unscathed. Need more protein to hit your macros? Add an extra serving of protein to any meal (for an upcharge, of course). Really craving a juicy filet mignon? Choose the premium meal for a little extra cost. Need snacks to get you through an afternoon of meetings? There’s a slew of those to choose from after your meals are locked and loaded. I tried the chocolate and vanilla keto shakes, which are ready-made vegan protein shakes—both were very good for guzzling in a pinch, or for a quick hit of protein after the gym. FWIW, the vanilla flavor tasted a bit like birthday cake, which was exactly what I wanted and needed it to taste like. I would resubscribe to that order again and again.
What’s Not Good About Factor 75?
So much dairy
Yes, I know. Dairy is the Holy Grail of the keto diet. But does everything have to be made with heavy cream? I’m not necessarily dairy intolerant, but sometimes going ham on it upsets my stomach. And because I couldn’t escape the creamed spinach or butter-laden mashed cauliflower for a whole six days, it definitely did a number on me. But most of the additional dairy comes in the form of a little cream cheese-like medallion on top of the food, so it’s easy enough to remove half before cooking if you’d like less. I confess to doing this once or twice and was so glad I did. The food was just as rich, and my stomach was way happier.
Puny portion size
I don’t require a ton of calories. My workouts mostly involve lots of walking, weight training, and Pilates. However, even though I don’t need hundreds of extra calories to get through a gym session, I found Factor 75’s meals to be extremely small, bordering on unsatisfying. I’d often heat up a meal and look down at my plate with disappointment. I’ll typically fill at least half my plate with veggies, and the vegetable portions in these things are laughable. Most of them felt like an afterthought—as was apparent when nearly all the veggie sides were some version of zucchini and squash. I never felt adequately full and almost always looked toward my snack cabinet for something else to eat right after. If you’re a big dude who needs more than the average 600 to 700 calories that one of these meals provides, I suggest adding an extra serving of protein to every meal, or be prepared to be hungry.
One-week shelf life
Because these meals are never flash frozen, they spoil as quickly as anything else you’d cook at home and keep in your fridge (about one week). If you don’t eat at home for every meal, or spontaneous dinner plans pop up, be prepared to toss some of your meals that inevitably get lost in the shuffle. It’s not recommended to freeze the food either, because the freshness is part of the deal. Although, if you have to, freezing a meal or two isn’t the end of the world. I did it for one or two of them and the only annoying part was remembering to thaw it a few hours before cooking.
Who Should Try Factor 75?
Honestly, anyone. If you don’t have time to cook, don’t like cooking, or just need someone to do all the thinking for you, it’s worth it. One of my biggest blockers to not trying a keto diet sooner was the amount of time I thought I had to spend preparing mountains of protein. But with Factor 75, I don’t have to lift a finger—aside from carrying the box into my apartment.
If you want to eat healthier and don’t know where to start, or you need to find a way to eat dinner earlier than 9 p.m. every night, Factor 75 could be a great solution. The meals are pretty delicious, and the cooking time is literally less than five minutes. Plus, you don’t have to brave the mobs at the grocery store just to meal prep for the week. And that is the real win.
Just be prepared to pay up for extra protein if you’re concerned about feeling full.
Diet-to-Go totals $168, with a hefty tax that could vary from state to state. At $17 a meal, it’s far more expensive than Factor 75, and it doesn’t allow you to customize your first week of meals. The “chef-prepared” meals are also flash-frozen so you lose that sense of freshness that you get with Factor 75.
Eat to Evolve
If the $17 price tag per meal on Diet-to-Go is just too much to stomach, try Eat to Evolve, which comes in just below that at less than $15 per meal. The food gets high marks for taste, and the nutritionals are clearly displayed, but the customization abilities leave much to be desired.
Fresh N’ Lean
For something more in line with Factor 75, Fresh N’ Lean lands at $12 per meal (with added cost for additional snacks). It also has tons of meal options to choose from, and the option to mix and match with other plans if you aren’t strictly into keto.
The Bottom Line
Factor 75 is a healthy, fresh meal delivery program that allows for maximum customization. If you’re looking for an easy way to start, and stick to, a specific diet (like keto), it’s a great solution. Meals take less than five minutes to heat up, and even with premium upgrades, you’ll save on the overall cost of groceries. Just make sure you only buy what you can consume in a week, as that’s the shelf life of these fresh, not frozen, meals.