High-protein, frozen meals
Caters to a variety of diets
Easy reheating/cooking instructions
Price per serving is high
You can’t pick specific meals in the plan
Flavor and freshness are lacking
Fresh N’ Lean
Laureen Asseo started Fresh n’ Lean at 18 years old in her one-bedroom apartment after she became frustrated with processed foods and wanted to offer people quick, nutritious meals.
While many meal kit delivery companies offer to send you ingredients, which you then have to cook, Fresh n’ Lean offers a variety of ready-to-eat, gluten-free, organic meals that are fully prepared. While convenience is a major selling point, the company also crafts each meal with nutrition in mind. Keep reading to learn about our experience with this company.
How It Works: You Pick the Category
While Fresh n’ Lean offers some a la carte ordering, its main goal is to get customers enrolled in the meal plan service. By signing up for weekly or biweekly meal plans, you get a decent discount on meal costs, but you can’t pick specific meals. You can choose the category of meal you would like (e.g., paleo) and your choice of proteins, but that’s it.
So, for example, we were able to select a paleo chicken meal and a high-protein salmon meal. One of the actual meals we received, creamy tomato pasta with salmon, wasn’t a choice we were offered. So you need some flexibility with this meal plan.
While some might see this as a negative, we liked the surprise factor. The sauces and veggies rotate regularly, so you will always have something new in the meals. The core of each meal, though, is based around the protein and nutrition profile, so you can feel confident that you are getting what you order.
Choosing Meals: No Specific Choices
If you are very picky about flavors or components, go with the a la carte option to be able to nail down your specific meals. Otherwise, make your selections for the category and protein and wait for the surprise.
What We Made
- Roasted pepper burger with kale: This was a plain beef burger with roasted red peppers and a sauteed kale side dish. It’s hard to get a good burger texture from cooked and reheated meat, and this one did end up a bit rubbery. The kale side was all right, but it was a bit under-seasoned and we thought the whole meal benefited from a dash of hot sauce.
- Creamy tomato pasta with salmon: Salmon is tough to reheat, especially in the microwave, but this meal was our favorite of the ones we tried. The salmon was high quality and flaked apart easily without being too fishy. The creamy tomato sauce on the pasta was delicious and served as a nice complement to the salmon.
- Aioli chicken with veggies: This was a good meal as well. While we would’ve loved to have fresh sauteed veggies, for frozen and microwaved vegetables, they were decent. The chicken was a large portion and went well with the aioli sauce that was under it. Again, we thought it could use a little extra seasoning (maybe just a little more salt), but was an upgrade from grocery-store frozen meals.
Support Materials: Clear Packaging
Fresh n’ Lean doesn’t need much in the way of supporting materials due to the nature of its meals. The packaging that it sends is printed with all the reheating instructions you might need, including for the microwave and stovetop.
Beyond the packaging, Fresh n’ Lean does maintain a blog and also has a strong online presence on social media platforms, as well as dedicated support for email and phone questions. Nutrition information is printed on each package for easy reference.
Packaging: Smart Design
We found the Fresh n’ Lean packaging to be quite smart. While you can microwave the meals right in the container, it’s also not hard to transfer the meals to a skillet or roasting pan for other reheating options.
The packaging can be recycled or composted and the shipping materials are all easily broken down and recycled. If you have full recycling available, even the ice packs can be emptied and recycled.
However, we did find that if you cook the meals in the containers in the microwave, it is nearly impossible to clean them thoroughly enough to properly recycle them.
The Cooking Process: Microwave Is Fastest
The meals from Fresh n’ Lean are best if you use a skillet for gentle reheating. That said, they are designed to be microwaved and that is how we tested most of them. Whether you use a microwave or stovetop, the instructions included on each meal are very clear and resulted in nicely reheated meals that weren’t overcooked. We were particularly surprised that the salmon turned out as well as it did.
The microwave does leave some sauces and vegetables slightly overcooked and soggy. They were still absolutely edible and the flavors were decent, but the marketing pictures included with Fresh n’ Lean meals show a meal that isn’t really achievable if you are reheating them meals in the way the company recommends.
Flavor, Freshness, and Quality: Don't Wait Too Long
While Fresh n’ Lean meals aren’t exactly frozen meals (although you can freeze them upon arrival), the meals are already prepared. So, the flavor and freshness of those meals continue to deteriorate the longer you keep them in the fridge. The meals we received said they would be safe to eat for over a week after we received them.
For example, our burger and chicken meals had a good shelf life and could’ve been enjoyed several days after we got them. However, we wanted to make sure to eat the salmon earlier in the week.
Beyond the proteins in each meal, the sides and veggies were fine. They were not the freshest or most flavorful of side dishes, but they were nutritious and nothing was spoiled.
Nutritional Value: Great Nutritional Value
Each Fresh n' Lean meal is crafted with nutrition as a primary input. The protein content is high and things like salt, cholesterol, fat, and processed ingredients are kept in check. The meals we tested ranged in calories from 400-530. The grams of fat in each meal were fairly consistent (around 19g), although the aioli chicken meal came in at 15g. Protein values ranged from 34g to 45g per meal.
Fresh n' Lean Is Good For
Those who care mostly about nutrition and convenience and don’t put much weight on flavor will appreciate Fresh n' Lean's offerings.
Fresh n' Lean Is Not Good For
People on a budget and families that have the time to cook fresh meals may not find Fresh n' Lean ideal.
Add-ons: Breakfast Options
There are not many add-ons available from Fresh n’ Lean, but any of these meals can be eaten for lunch or dinner. They would be great for healthy lunch meals in the office after a midday workout. If you are looking for some breakfast options, add-ons like egg whites and turkey sausage and pineapple coconut chia bowls are available.
Customer Service: Email and Phone
We reached out to Fresh n’ Lean twice via email support and had very quick responses. The company offers phone support as well, which might be the best option for account problems or if you have an urgent question. Fresh n' Lean is also active on social media and seemed to respond quickly to questions or messages on those platforms as well.
If you are looking for some breakfast options, add-ons like egg whites and turkey sausage and pineapple coconut chia bowls are available.
Making Changes and Canceling: Easily Done
In your account settings, you can adjust the numbers and types of meals in your plan. For example, you can reduce the amount of keto beef meals and add some vegan meals to your weekly plan. If you would like to cancel the plan entirely, you will have to contact support via email or phone.
The Competition: Fresh n' Lean vs. Veestro
We tested both Fresh n' Lean and Veestro. Both companies offer single-serving meals that can be stored in the freezer or refrigerator and reheated quickly in the microwave. The major difference between them is that Fresh n' Lean offers vegan meals, but focuses on keto, paleo, and meat-based meals, while Veestro has a plant-based menu.
Pricing on both of these services is similar but they have slightly different ordering processes. Veestro focuses on a la carte orders, so you can order once and you are done. While Fresh n' Lean does offer some a la carte ordering, it charges more for those orders and tries to get people enrolled in weekly meal plans.
We found the flavors offered by Veestro to be more interesting and fresh. Fresh n' Lean offers high-protein meals, but the sauces used are a bit drab and the meals resemble slightly higher quality frozen meals from the grocery store.
If you are looking for keto, paleo, or high-protein meals, Fresh n' Lean could be a good choice, even with some sacrifice for flavor and taste. If you are flexible though and just looking to have some tasty meals ready in the freezer, we recommend trying out Veestro.
Fresh n’ Lean offers prepared meals to consumers with nutrition as the primary starting point. In our quick world of overly processed food, that’s no small task. We struggled with how to fit the meals into a family meal plan, especially for those who enjoy fresh-cooked meals. Butut the service might be a good fit for single people or those trying to achieve nutritional goals and are willing to sacrifice a bit of flavor and freshness for convenience.
We spent numerous hours looking through 48 meal delivery services’ websites, ordered meals and cooked them at home, photographed the process, spoke with customer service representatives from the companies, filled out detailed surveys about each company and their meals, and wrote in-depth reviews and comparison articles. Our expert panel includes dieticians, chefs, and longtime food writers. The one thing they all have in common is their love and knowledge of food.
The criteria we used to evaluate each company included:
- The ordering process
- Meal selection
- Packaging and support materials
- The cooking process
- The flavor, freshness, and quality of each meal and ingredient
- Nutritional information
- Customer service
- Product Brand Fresh n' Lean
- Lowest Price per Serving $10
- Number of Diets Served 6
- Number of Recipes 59
- Delivery Area 50 States
- Serving Sizes Available 1