For some reason when we're paying someone to tell us what to do, it's A-OK to take it with little argument. Our trainer can yell at us to stop complaining, run faster and do another set. Our financial adviser can shout: Buy! Sell! Or hold your horses - in just a moment's notice.

It only seems natural that we would also desire to pay someone else to tell us: what to eat, how to eat it, how much we can eat, and then prepare and deliver it to us at our convenience. Hell, Oprah isn't the only person who can afford a personal chef! (OK, she is one of the only ones who can afford her personal chef.) Thanks to busy schedules and a hunger for high quality and healthy foods -- lickety split -- a number of diet programs have created affordable food delivery services aiming to nourish busy on-the-go customer shoping to drops a few LBs without sacrificing their palates. (Don't hold your breath - Batali and Ducasse likely won't join the ranks of diet delivery services but some of these chefs certainly aim to emulate their

The Race to Be a Big Loser
We always treat weight loss like it has to be done in X amount of time by X date. Nutritionists maintain it is a gradual process and commitment that melts the weight off, not a crash two-week course. These programs suggest long-term commitment with meals delivered daily. Of course the best results happen when healthy eating is combined with portion control and exercise.

The Importance of Eating Earnestly
We sampled the food from three different diet delivery meal plans: Zone Chefs, 5 Square Meals and Nutrisystem. A variety of factors were considered when sampling the fruits (vegetables, proteins and carbs) of each program. With a week dedicated to each plan we looked at the tastiness, freshness, convenience, what kind of vegetarian option there was, whether it was filling and what kind of versatility existed in each meal throughout the week. We also determined what kind of person might prefer one plan versus the other.

Grandma's Eating 5xs a Day Plan Confirmed!
With 5 Squares, the boutique operation delivers three meals and two snacks so you easily fill up without feeling compelled to add other foods or meals. Following the requisite fist size portions you can enjoy meals like the steak and eggs with homemade salsa for breakfast and the pork stuffed with apples and walnuts served with asparagus and whipped sweet potatoes. The fresh and vegetarian options are notable. The company accommodates those who want low-carb and gluten free eating with dishes like the wheat-free waffles with turkey sausage and sugar-free maple syrup for breakfast.

Ultimately, 5 Square Meals are ideal for people with specific eating restrictions who don't want to sacrifice taste. The delivery process is convenient with large canvas bags and ice packs. Because many of the meals are cooked meals they are not fresh, but fresh ingredients were initially used when preparing. They require reheating, but can also be enjoyed cold. 5 Square advises you read their personalized cookbook and they provide each customer with a welcome packet. (


This Isn't The Neighborhood Chinese or Pizza Delivery Company
Zone Chefs is above and beyond the closest thing to haute cuisine presented in aluminum trays. The five star meals are innovative and for those think a food delivery service lacks variation and sophistication, here they are wrong. It's easy to imagine Oprah and her circle ingesting similar dishes. A typical menu might include a pan-seared savory daikon cake with soy ham for breakfast. Lunches could include marinated tofu with endive salad. Snacks boast soy maki with seaweed, kidney beans and cous cous and mango ricotta crepes and strawberry coulis. The dinners are exceptional with meals like the duck ravioli with cranberry citrus sauce and the soy and mushroom dumplings with ginger dipping sauce.

Ultimately Zone Chefs is good for clients looking for on-the-go haute cuisine in three rather large and filling meals a day. This option is great for those who appreciate the interesting sauces and curious food pairings. Like 5 Squares, Zone Chefs comes in convenient insulated picnic bags (great excuse for outdoor lunches) complete with ice packs. They meals are dropped off before 6am and the bags are picked up the next day too. Another great detail about Zone Chefs is that many of the meals are fresh prepared items,so there is no microwaving or reheating involved. Zone chefs offer vegetarian, kosher and kids meals too. (

The Celeb-Endorsed Food Service
Nutrisytem is by far the more popular and famous of the diet delivery plans. Joey Fatone and Tori Spelling are two of their celebrity clients. Nutrisystem is an easy plan to adapt to if you aren't really willing to giveup your favorite fatty and processed foods. The key with Nutrisytem is portion size and self-control. You can have that pizza, but it's a mini pizza. You can eat cheese-mashed potatoes but only a one-serving size. Nutrisystem guides you to eating less, but enjoying what you eat.

Ultimately, where Nutrisytem lacks in gourmet taste, they make up for in convenience. You don't need to worry about refrigeration for many of their meals and their snack and energy bars are quite filling. Nutrisystem works best when paired with exercise. It is a plan that is most ideal for people on their way to changing bad eating habits. If you are looking for fresh, unprocessed, organic and non-packaged foods then the other two programs are better choices. This is for people who are looking to loose a lot of weight and not ideal for people hopping to drop 5-10lbs. But those constantly on the go can really benefit from the prepared meals that can easily be tossed in a bag for later. Nutrisystem has a counselor that will work with you on a plan. Nutrisystem has programs that cater to men and women specifically and they have meal plans designed for vegetarians and diabetics as well. (

Note: These programs work best if you are incorporating weekly cardio activity and weight training into your schedule. The meal services are also ideal if you have a doorman in your building although they will accommodate those without. Keep in mind you might have to answer the door for the before 6am deliveries otherwise!