With the quarter winding down and Spring Break just around the corner, juice cleanses, protein powder and all things bikini body related seem to be the topic of everyone’s conversation.

After having spent the rainy LA days curled up on my couch and eating bowl after bowl of ramen, I couldn’t help but consider jumping on the kale train as well, slightly panicked by the thought of trading in my sweatshirt and leggings for a coverup and bikini. Luckily, before I could be driven to such extremes, I found the meal service Diet-to-Go, the the answer to any diet-haters prayers.

Diet-to-go provides you with healthy, portion-controlled meals, effectively removing the annoying meal prep step important for a successful diet. Unlike other meal-delivery services, such as Blue Apron, the meals are pre-cooked, so all you have to do is warm the meal up in the microwave for a minute or so before it’s ready to eat.

While you can choose from a range of different plans and allergy friendly meals, including vegetarian, I chose to try out the “Balance Menu,” which the company advertises as containing calorie-controlled, nutritionally balanced and heart-healthy meals.

Day 1

After putting in my order Monday, the package of food arrived Tuesday night, and I began my my diet experiment with the first dinner: “Penne pasta with turkey meat sauce, carrot coins and snap peas.”

With the packaging looking slightly reminiscent of a TV dinner, I was dubious at first, and emptied the contents onto a plate with a bit of hesitation, beginning to regret committing to all four days.

But after my first bite of the penne coated in a mushroom, onion, tomato turkey sauce, my confidence was quickly reinstated. The veggies were okay, standardly steamed without spices or added flavor, but the pasta made up for it.

Calorie count: 410

bacon, chicken
Giselle Abcarian

Day 2

For breakfast the next morning, I was greeted with a pleasant surprise. Pancakes! That’s right, fluffy, carby, beautiful pancakes, and for only 250 calories including maple syrup, blueberry sauce, and a side of turkey sausage. It’s hard to imagine a diet food that could beat this meal. My roommate took one bite and stated “this is like straight up delicious hangover food.” Now that’s saying something.

sweet, jam, bread
Giselle Abcarian

Tuna salad, citrus cup, and honey wheat roll for lunch had me back to feeling skeptical. With class on campus, I took the meal to go, a little nervous to open up tuna in the middle of class. 

egg, chocolate, coffee
Giselle Abcarian
chicken, hummus
Giselle Abcarian

To my surprise, the tuna salad was flavorful, creamy, and not overwhelming fishy at all. Spread on a the piece of bread, it was a satisfying lunch. Although the fruit cup was a bit lacking.

Calorie Count: 410

mango, milk, vegetable, dairy product, sweet
Giselle Abcarian

Dinner was a comforting plate of thanksgiving favorites: sliced turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans with almonds. The turkey looked a little questionable but tasted almost like honey ham. I cleaned the plate as usual.

Calorie Count: 400

garlic, pork, mashed potatoes
Giselle Abcarian

While I went to bed feeling slightly hungry, not accustomed to consuming only 1,200 calories in one day, I definitely felt healthy. And having satisfied my sweet tooth with the pancakes and the fruit for lunch, I even resisted dipping into my pint of chocolate ice cream in the freezer. #proud

Day 3

I woke up ravenous after my day of healthy eating and was very happy to have a satisfying cheesy, pesto egg pizza with a side of spiced apples waiting for me in the fridge. Usually I wake up late and don’t have time to make myself food, which means grabbing a power bar for later. Being able to sit down to a quick and tasty meal was a nice treat for a Wednesday morning. The eggs were a bit weird texture wise, but the I'll eat anything layered with pesto and cheese.

Calorie Count: 280

Giselle Abcarian

Lunch was impressively filling. Basil chicken, broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach. A little closer to most diet type meals than the others but still very flavorful, especially for steamed veggies. I almost ran out of room and couldn’t finish the chicken. Almost.

Calorie Count: 530

broccoli, kale, spinach
Giselle Abcarian

Around 4 o’clock, that familiar craving for something sweet took over my brain and I was forced to consume a square of dark chocolate. I'm only human after all.

Luckily, dinner put me right back on track. Blackened salmon on spinach cauliflower puree, with brussel sprouts and a lemon wedge. The brussels were a little watery and lacked flavor but the salmon rocked my world. Look at that flaky, moist, perfectly cooked piece of fish! It was restaurant quality good. If this is what meal service dieting is like, bikini body here I come. 

Calorie Count: 420

lemon, salmon
Giselle Abcarian

Day 4

Today was the last day of the diet-plan, and I was actually sad to be done with it..said no one in the history of the world ever until today. As I sat at my table eating my veggie and cheese omelet with fire-roasted tomatoes, I actually dreaded returning to my usual greek yogurt bowl or protein bar breakfast. Who knew dieting could be so enjoyable? Check out that oozy cheesey goodness.

Calorie Count: 280

salmon, beans, bacon
Giselle Abcarian

My last meal I decided to save for dinner: Szechuan turkey burger on rice pilaf with a side of cauliflower. It was spicy, juicy, cooked perfectly and extremely filling, complemented by the added saltiness of my sad bitter tears. The knowledge that my fridge was now empty and that I would have to go back to shopping, preparing and cooking my meals inspired me to go online and check out the other meal plans. 

Calorie Count: 460

chicken, vegetable, meat, pork, risotto, rice
Giselle Abcarian

For five days per week with three meals per day, the Diet-to-Go “Balance Menu” plan costs $137.99 per week plus a $10 shipping fee, which averages out to about $10 per meal. Not bad considering I’ve spent $15 on a Whole Foods salad before.

After only three full days of meals, I dropped two pounds, felt very healthy and happy with myself and saved a solid chunk of time that I would have usually used for shopping and cooking. If you’re the type of person who hates diet food but wants to get that Cabo beach-bod, I highly recommend the meal service Diet-to-go. 10/10 would eat again.