In partnership with Territory Foods.
I’m a ‘live to eat’ kind of guy. A bigger-than-I-care-to-admit part of my identity is connected to all things food: grocery shopping, prepping, cooking, and eating are all genuine joys of mine. I like to think those skills helped seal the deal with my fiancé, too. While some hate planning ahead to hunt down recipes and take time out of their busy schedules to hit the grocery aisles back to front, I love every step of the process. Simply put – cooking at home is a meditative de-stressor for me. I share all of this context to say that I am the least likely person to get hooked on meal delivery services of any kind.
But when the opportunity to try Territory’s freshly made and delivered meals presented itself – I jumped. I blame it mainly on my upcoming wedding. I’ve dedicated myself to a serious gym routine leading up to our big day, and as everyone will tell you, regardless of your commitment to working out, results are usually 80%+ diet, 20% exercise. If Territory could help me stay disciplined with my diet, I reasoned, I could hang up my apron and put my chef’s knife away for at least a week while I gave the program a fair shot.
Nine delicious meals – and an unconscionable amount of time back – later, I’m so happy I did.
A MEAL PREP MAKEOVER
If the Territory name sounds familiar, that’s because Territory actually started back in 2011, where a group of friends in Washington D.C. went searching for great tasting meals to fuel their busy lifestyles. None of the friends had any real cooking skills, so they looked to outsource their request to a local chef who could prepare and deliver delicious food that also met their high standards for nutrition. A decade later, Territory Foods is a chef-driven meal delivery service preparing ready-to-eat food available nationwide.
At first blush, I admit my expectations were low. I didn’t think prepared food at scale would taste…good. But, the Territory website offers an impressive first impression. The brand likens itself a locally sourced marketplace of cuisine – complete with locally procured ingredients grown close to where any individual customer lives. For example, my menu selections in sunny LA will look somewhat different to my colleagues in Atlanta or New York. The menu rotates through nearly 90 items each week, finely tuned to the seasons and pulling from the zeitgeist the latest food trends to keep customers happy, and just as important, never bored.
Territory offers a fairly straightforward onboarding and ordering process. Customers can ‘choose their own adventure’ with meals that cater to a variety of dietary-specific needs. I browsed through options that focussed on Mediterranean Diet, paleo, vegan, Whole30, and keto-friendly meals to find food that both looked delicious while also meeting my own unique dietary and nutrition needs.
With vibrant color coded macro nutrients for each meal and easy to filter navigation, I narrowed down the range of options to meet my needs in a very user-friendly interface. I appreciated the breadth and depth of options available on the site – there’s truly something for everyone.
After building out my first shipment of 9 meals, I sat back and relaxed for the Sunday delivery. That’s when it dawned on me that Territory is of course a food company, but it’s also a lifestyle company. I realized at that moment I actually didn’t have to go to the supermarket that week! Somewhat serendipitously, my order was set to arrive in one of the busiest weeks in recent memory, and I was excited to observe just how helpful the freshly prepared foods sitting in my fridge would be.
TIME SAVER = LIFE SAVER
Maybe it’s hyperbole to say Territory saved my life that week, but it damn near felt like it. Recall that wedding I mentioned? It’s 6 weeks away, and we’re cramming in all of the last minute calls with our planner trying to check off the list of our remaining action items. On top of that, I was preparing for a huge client presentation at work that week, and my parents were coming to stay with us ahead of my fiance’s Bridal Shower.
It’s in moments like these where Territory really shines. The company takes the guesswork (and kitchen work) out of healthy eating. Having the chores of shopping + meal prep off my plate that week revealed just how much time and energy I put into the weekly cadence of cooking for our family. Territory removes that time and effort completely from the equation while still maintaining a level of quality and nutrition in the food.
Having the chores of shopping + meal prep off my plate that week revealed just how much time and energy I put into the weekly cadence of cooking for our family. Territory removes that time and effort completely from the equation while still maintaining a level of quality and nutrition in the food.
Simply put – the time savings (and corresponding mental and physical energy savings) alone made me a huge fan of Territory. But it all would be futile, of course, if the food tasted mediocre. I’m happy to report the food was very tasty, indeed.
THE TASTE TEST
Blessed Butternut Bolognese w/ Broccolini (497 calories): Territory sometimes pairs with local restaurants and chefs, which was the case with this delicious riff on a gluten free Bolognese from Cafe Gratitude in Los Angeles. This Bolognese was rich in savory flavor, and I appreciated the addition of the fresh broccolini to gut some of the guilt of the carb heavy meal. The biggest unlock? My at-home Bolognese takes about 4 hours to cook; this was heated (and consumed!) in minutes.
Vegan Yellow Curry w/ Chickpeas and Seasonal Veggies (463 calories): This curry was my fiancé’s favorite, thanks to great depth of flavor. I also appreciated the portion control and calorie counts of all the dishes, this one included. When we order in Indian takeout I tend to go a bit overboard with second and third helpings, so it was nice to have all of the comfort food feeling of a great curry without overindulging.
Grilled Salmon with Cauliflower Rice and Broccoli (607 calories): I was most skeptical of the fish dishes in the shipment – could meal delivery seafood actually taste good? The answer is an emphatic yes. With nearly 40g of protein from the salmon, a generous portion by all accounts, the salmon was fresh tasting and heated up well in the microwave. I also avoided the fishy aroma that usually accompanies my apartment for a day or two when broiling salmon in my oven!
Burrito Bowl with Mushroom Chorizo and Cashew Crema (546 calories): From well known Vegan Mexican restaurant Gracias Madre, this Burrito Bowl was a pleasant surprise for a few reasons. First, it was the last meal of the 9 I tried, which meant it had spent 4 days in the fridge before consuming it. I’m happy to report it held up very well – including the lettuce and cilantro accoutrement it was served with. It also was squarely in the category of foods I would never be able to create at home.
A CHEF’S KISS EXPERIENCE
Overall our week-long experiment with Territory was a smashing success. The food tasted great, even for a food snob like me. The diversity of flavors and cuisines – Garlic Shrimp one night, Za’atar Spiced Chicken the next, Steak and Green Beans the following – added a fun new element of surprise-and-delight to our weekday lunches and dinners.
Couple all of the feel-good vibes of the actual food with the time and energy savings and a service like Territory is a no brainer, particularly for folks with a busy schedule. I can see this being a godsend for parents with young children, busy professionals, and anyone stretched thin on time to meet all of their obligations. Factor in Territory’s commitment to sustainability and seasonality – both in their ingredients and their impact on the earth – and it’s a company consumers should feel comfortable aligning with. I recommend giving Territory a genuine shot – I’m sure glad we did.
Five More Reasons to Love Territory:
- All meals are Real Food Certified, with ingredients that are responsibly sourced and local. The company sources proteins that are naturally raised without antibiotics, hormones, and have room to roam.
- Territory’s TerritoryServes tool helps support local communities. Customers can donate meals delivered to frontline workers and for every two meals donated, the company donates a third.
- All packaging is 100% compostable and can either be commercially composted or disposed of in the waste bin.
- If you have variability in your schedule – i.e. you’re traveling for work or play – you can skip a week in your online profile with the click of a button.
- Meals arrive fresh, and are recommended to consume within 3 days after the delivery date. Any unused meals can be frozen easily to avoid food waste.