COVID-19 UPDATE: We are open and shipping as-usual. Orders placed now through Saturday, 4/4 at 11:59pm Pacific time will ship on Tuesday, 4/7.

FAQs

COVID-19 UPDATE:
Please take the time to read all of this, it is important.

THE GOOD NEWS: As of now, we are fully open for business. 

We don’t know what requirements will be in the near future, but if the mandates in San Francisco serve as precedence for other cities (our kitchens are in San Diego and Atlanta), we will remain open through this. Food services, especially those that support efforts people are making to work from home, are to remain open. This also assumes logistical services like the ones delivering our fresh ingredients and FedEx resume operational as well. We suspect they will.

Should this change, we will notify you all as soon as possible.

Things seem to be changing daily if not hourly, so we are just as much in an anticipatory mode as everyone else.

If we discover we will be unable to fulfill orders at any time, we will of course cancel and refund any outstanding orders.

IMPORTANT BUILD-A-BOX ORDERING CUT-OFF CHANGES

Due to increased demand, we have to limit our Build-a-Box option ordering window. 

Build-a-Box will be only available for short windows each week. Please be sure you receive our weekly emails to stay up-to-date on this. We anticipate a similar cutoff next week as well. Click to subscribe here.

After that, all orders for the rest of the week may only be placed for pre-set boxes only.

Why the cut-off?
Since our kitchens cook to-order in large batches, we need to make sure that our meal counts remain at a predictably even quantity, especially as we get closer to cook-day. This allows for efficiency and the best-used time and resources all around. We are working at full capacity at this point.

Remember: Orders placed today through Saturday at midnight Pacific time each week will ship on Tuesdays. If you place an order Sunday through Tuesday, it does not ship until the following week. See below for more on this.

POSSIBLE SHIPPING CHANGES & DELAYS
Once our boxes leave the kitchens, the shipment timing is at the mercy of FedEx. We currently ship ground nationwide in the United States, and boxes arrive in 1 to 3 days without issue. 

Due to increased demand, there may be delays in delivery timing that are out of our control.
This may result in one of the following scenarios:
  1. Meals that arrive cold, not frozen.
    While this isn’t atypical in general, especially for those of you in our 3-day delivery range in areas farthest from our kitchens, it may be more common right now. Please do not panic over this. The boxes are packed with an ample amount of dry ice and ice packs - and the weather has been cooler overall. Most boxes will arrive in perfect condition, even if they arrive to you by Friday. If your meals are thawed or partially thawed, they are perfectly safe to re-freeze until whenever you decide to eat them. 
  2. Meals that arrived thawed, not cold. If your box arrives with meals that are room-temperature / obviously not safe to eat or the box is slated to arrive Monday or later due to a shipping exception or error, please email us at support@balancedbites.com and we will take care of these issues on an individual basis.
  3. A box that doesn’t arrive by 8pm local time on Saturday. If this is the case and it is after 8pm, please email us at support@balancedbites.com and we will take care of these issues on an individual basis.

You may select upgraded shipping for an extra $25 per box, which should be overnight, but we don’t know for sure if FedEx will always honor that in the given situation. Overnight box orders must be one-box-per-transaction at this time.

BOX DELIVERY NOTES

As a reminder, the box your meals arrive in is safe to touch.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that "it is safe to handle a package, even if it comes from a place where the virus has been reported." I would suggest letting the driver drop the package off on your doorstep if possible, versus a handoff. Signature is not required for package deliveries.

For the safest exchange, remove the contents of the box and leave the box in your garage or recycling area, then wash your hands.

I will continue to monitor reports and advice from the CDC and if we need to pause operations, I will inform you of any changes to our schedule or service as soon as they’re made. 

We will continue to stay open and operational for as long as our locations allow.

As always, I am grateful for the opportunity to help feed your family - please stay safe and healthy. Please respond directly to this email with any questions you may have.

I appreciate you.

Diane


Things to know before you order

Do I need to chop and cook these meals?

Absolutely not! These meals are ready-made, chopped and cooked by our chefs and ready for you to simply heat and eat! Or, heat, garnish, and eat if you like!
You can microwave them in the containers they arrive in, or you can defrost them or partially defrost them to transfer to a glass or ceramic dish in which to microwave, or into an oven-safe pan to heat in an oven or toaster oven.
Heating in the oven will be more successful if the meal is defrosted ahead of time versus attempting to bake it from frozen.

How many servings are each meal? 

Each meal is one serving.
If you are a big eater (like my husband!), there are some meals you may find you need to bulk up a bit with extra olive oil or ghee, or you may want to add a side salad or something to it.
The total weight of food per container is just around 12 ounces.

What are the portion sizes and calories of each meal?

The calories per meal range from 260 up to 550 and vary based on the type of ingredients in each meal. 
Protein ranges from about 25 - 50 grams per meal.
Fat ranges from about 15 - 40 grams per meal.
Net carbs range from about 8 to 12 grams (total carbs from 10 to 20g) per meal. Net carbs = total grams of carbs - grams of fiber.
We strongly recommend simply adding a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or another type of garnish (sour cream, grated cheese, etc.) to a meal if you want to add some calories to one that is naturally lighter.
We intentionally created the meals in a range of calories to allow for your daily meals around these to be in a varying balance. In other words, a lighter BB Meal for lunch one day means you can have a heftier breakfast and dinner - or a heftier BB Meal means you may not need as big of a breakfast one day.
Each meal is labeled with both ingredients and nutrition facts/calories, so you can plan your day overall accordingly if you wish.


Can I customize which meals and how many of each I'm getting?

Yes! Select the Build-a-Box option to customize your box.

How long do the meals last?

The meals are shipped frozen and will arrive to you frozen/partially-frozen or refrigerator-cold. If your meals are thawed or partially thawed, they are perfectly safe to freeze until whenever you decide to eat them. The texture and quality will be perfect no matter what thanks to our vacuum seal.

If you choose to defrost them in your refrigerator, you can do so for up to 3 days before heating to eat.

Frozen, the meals will taste best within 90 days but will keep for up to 6 months.

How many people does a meal feed?

Each meal is individually prepared packaged to feed one person. The portions are generous, so some who eat smaller meals may find them to be more than one serving.

Are the meals allergen-free? AIP? Low FODMAP?

The meals are all labeled whenever certain allergens are included in the ingredients such as EGGS, DAIRY, NUTS / SEEDS, or NIGHTSHADES.
Upon release, we will not initially have meals that are allergen-free across the board. The mix of meals released now are as listed.

The Paleo Meals box is dairy-free.

With demand, we will increase options that are allergen-free in different ways.

 Is the kitchen where the meals are made completely gluten-free?

Yes, it is a 100% gluten-free kitchen!

Are the meals 100% organic and grass-fed?

No, they aren't, but keep reading...
You spoke, I listened!
When I polled my readers to ask if you all would prefer to have premium quality, all grass-fed/organic ingredients in these meals as well as premium pricing, OR, squeaky clean ingredients and antibiotic/hormone-free meats, the latter was the vote by a landslide.
You all told me that TASTY, more affordable meals alongside the convenience of being ready-made and without weird additives or preservatives was priority.
The meat in these meals are all 100% antibiotic and hormone-free. I still encourage you to shop and cook with grass-fed/organic ingredients as often as possible, but when it comes to convenience foods like this, getting squeaky clean, well balanced meals made by real people with no additives is a great trade-off. Remember that most restaurants won't be serving food that's perfect quality either, so what you're getting from BB Meals is going to beat any delivery or takeout more often than not.
It's possible that premium meals at a higher price will be available in the future if there is enough of a demand.

What goes into the price of the food?

The food you're eating in Balanced Bites Meals is all real food made from whole, fresh ingredients that are delivered to our kitchens weekly. Meals are made by real people (with ovens and equipment, of course), not giant machines. We cook the food each week from two locations across the United States so that you can get meals delivered to you as quickly as possible regardless of where you live. More on that in the FAQs on Shipping & Delivery.

You're paying for quality in healthy, whole food ingredients without preservatives - and for the time and effort it takes for the entire team of chefs to prepare the meals. Read the ingredients and notice no fillers, no additives, no preservatives, and nothing you wouldn't cook with at home.

Your order supports small business doing things right to help you be healthier every day.

To know after you order

How do I heat the meals in the microwave?

  1. From frozen: Place tray in microwave and use the auto defrost/frozen entree button, or heat for 4 to 5 minutes at 50% power until defrosted. Then heat at full-power for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until heated through to your liking.
  2. From defrosted: heat for 2-2 1/2 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove the film and enjoy!

Can I heat the meals without a microwave?

Absolutely! Each meal just needs to be defrosted first to place into another container, as the container isn't oven safe! 
You can also place the container in warm water to loosen the food from the tray to pop it out and heat in another way.

Cut the protective film from the top, then place the contents into a skillet or oven-safe and heat until warmed-through.

What are some garnishing ideas to make the meals feel even more like I made them?

I'm glad you asked!

I think that the meals are excellent as-is, but there is always room for a pop of freshness to finish off a frozen, re-heated meal!

My favorite ways to garnish (or finish) the meals off once they're heated and either in the container or plated are:

  • A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime over a Mexican-inspired dish like the Enchilada Bake or the Pork Carnitas, or a chili or soup. Fresh orange gives the Orange Olive Chicken a little extra fresh pop of flavor!
  • Chopped fresh herbs like cilantro over a Mexican-inspired dish or chives or parsley over others.
  • A dollop of sour cream or freshly sliced avocado over a chili or soup.
  • Add sesame seeds to any of the Asian-inspired dishes.
  • Freshly grated cheese over a chili, soup, or Italian dish.
  • A sprinkle of flake sea salt (after you taste the dish of course!), to give a pop!

Shipping and delivery time

Where do you deliver?

We deliver nationwide in the United States via FedEx. If you live in Alaska or Hawaii, you must select expedited shipping at checkout or your order will be cancelled and we'll contact you to re-place it accordingly. Ground orders all ship FREE. Expedited orders have an extra charge.

When do orders ship?

IMPORTANT: Every order that is in by Saturday at 11:59 PST will be shipped from our kitchens on Tuesday to arrive by Friday (based on your location).

Every order that comes in after Saturday at 11:59 PST will go into next week’s order and be shipped the next week.

If you order on Sunday, your order ships on Tuesday of the following week.
If you order on Monday, your order ships on Tuesday of the following week.
If you order on Tuesday, your order ships in one week.
If you order on Wednesday, your order ships in 6 days.
If you order on Thursday, your order ships in 5 days.
If you order on Friday, your order ships in 4 days.
If you order on Saturday by 11:59pm, your order ships in 3 days.

NOTE: During warm summer months, our shipping adjusts to a 1-2 day timeframe. During cooler months, shipment timing is 1-3 days via FedEx Ground with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii.

How are the meals delivered?

We ship via FedEx nationwide delivery across the United States (1-2 days via Ground/Home Delivery during warmer months, 1-3 days via Ground during cooler months)

Food is shipped directly to your home via FedEx (within 1-3 days of ship day), nationwide. 

How do I dispose of the shipping materials?

Your Balanced Bites Meals are shipped in biodegradable insulated boxes with custom frozen gel packs which are reusable (dry ice is also added for most of the year).

Shipping box - recycle.
Box liner - remove from the plastic outer cover, compost.
Box liner outer plastic cover - recycling or garbage (depending on your local recycling processing).
Meal containers - recycle.
Meal container cover film - garbage.
Gel packs - reuse or garbage (I am working on more sustainable ideas for ice that will keep food safely frozen for up to 3 days, please contact me if you know of an alternative. Note that dry ice alone will not guaranteed cold/frozen food for more than about the first 24-48 hours.)
 is not responsible for food spoilage after the box has been delivered if it is not frozen or refrigerated immediately.

Can I buy Balanced Bites Meals locally anywhere?

At this time, Balanced Bites Meals are only available to order online to be shipped directly to you.

How long does shipping and delivery take?

IMPORTANT: Every order that is in by Saturday at 11:59 PST will be shipped from our kitchens on Tuesday to arrive by Friday (based on your location).

Every order that comes in after Saturday at 11:59 PST will go into next week’s order and be shipped the next week.

We ship frozen meals via FedEx Ground and based on location will arrive within 1-3 days. Remember, to order to Alaska or Hawaii, expedited shipping must be selected.

Tracking info will be sent to the email with which you ordered, so please be sure you have not entered an incorrect email. We recommend that you head to FedEx.com to sign up for text updates/notifications about your shipments. This is a great feature that FedEx offers and can help you track all shipments to your address as well as leave delivery instructions for drivers.

What if I have more questions before ordering?

Send us an email to hello@balancedbites.com and we'll do our best to help you out! 

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I understand that Balanced Bites is not responsible for food that is not frozen or refrigerated immediately upon delivery and I will not hold Balanced Bites liable for spoilage.