Many of us have senior or disabled family members that need special attention, not just in regards to their physical or mental wellness, but to their nutritional and emotional state, too. And this is where Independent Living Systems comes into the picture. This service is designed to oversee the patient’s dietary needs with the help of their registered nutritionists in order to provide meals that are appropriate for their health specifications, as well as to their liking.
Four of the Meals I Received had Broken Seals on the Microwave Tray
The ILS Meals I personally purchased do not come from ILS Meals at all. They come from a company named Traditions Meal Solutions, which is not one of my favorite choices for prepared meals. All they did was change the name of the company on the labels.
My shipping package arrived totally defrosted. The dry ice had melted, and the microwave meals were cool to the touch.
Four of my ten meals arrived with damaged seals covering the microwave tray.
Many of the meals did not reheat evenly, and had a significant amount of excess water in the trays. This was also a problem with my Traditions order, which did arrive frozen.
Excessive water during reheating. Click for a close up view.
The quality of the food that makes up these meals is far from gourmet. You can find bundles of processed chicken and frozen vegetables at any Costco, BJ's, shopping clubs and add meal components to microwave trays. In my opinion, these meals are assembled, not prepared for you. At $4.99 per meal, it is hard to say one of these meals is not a good value if you are unwilling to do the work of assembling meals yourself. While I can say most of them are edible, I wouldn't say I would want to order them again.
The BBQ Chicken Breast with Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli is as standard fare as you can you get. Adding a hint of BBQ Sauce to something doesn't make it BBQ in my book, especially a highly processed, chicken breast. The Sweet Potatoes had a nice flavor.
I threw out the Chicken and Dumplings with Sweet Potatoes and Mixed Vegetables. There was absolutely no flavor to the dumpling sauce. This meal was a victim of poor reheating as you can tell by the amount of excessive water in the entree.
The Chicken Alfredo with Diced Carrots and Brussel Sprouts is the same processed chicken breast with one of the poorest excuses for an Alfredo Sauce I have ever experienced. Throwing in a few pieces of ziti didn't help the meal, but it was worth $4.99.
I don't what they were thinking when they created the Chicken Casserole with Broccoli and Diced Apples. Again, the meal was overwhelmed with excessive water robbing it of any opportunity to have flavor. In my opinion, it would taste the same if you ate it at a dinner table or underwater.
Here is another disaster called Chicken with Spaghetti with Sauce, Broccoli and Peas. It, too, suffered from exposure to flood damage.
The Fish Wedge with Black Eyed Peas and Broccoli was edible, but I had to strain the vegetables. The Black Eyed Peas appear to be dumped into the tray without the consideration to the customer to remove the fluid these peas are packed with.
The Grilled Chicken Breast with Brussel Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes is the same products that make up many of the other meals.
The Chicken Strips with Mixed Greens and Corn consists of the same processed chicken, only cut into strips. The Mixed Greens were swimming in a pool of water in the microwave tray.
The Salmon with Diced Carrots and White Rice was a good meal. It is very hard to get a large size of salmon into a $4.99 meal, so I respect them for the effort.
The Salmon with Noodles and Diced Apples is the same salmon, which is good, but I didn't understand the flavor profiles of this meal. A vegetable would have been a better choice than apples, in my opinion.
I have to confess it pained me to give any of these meals a "thumbs up," And almost all of them saw the trash after just a bite to say I tasted them. When I called Walgreens to tell them the package arrived thawed out, they didn't know what I was talking about. I was on hold for twenty minutes before they could confirm the meals were supposed to arrive frozen.
They offered me a replacement order, which I respected them standing by their products, but I declined. I would not want to subject myself to these meals again, even if they are free.
ILS Meals Reviewed by Chef Piquanti
ILS Meals Coupons
This page was last updated: 1/20/2014
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One thing that sets them apart from other prepared meals is that they not only provide a telephone nutritional assessment for all their clients, but they specifically validate all necessary information with the patient’s physician before drafting any diet plan. This ensures accuracy of set diet meals that could help the patient’s fast recovery, or help keep their well being.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Once the registered nutritionist is finished drafting the specialized diet for the patient, they then turn over the meal plan to their in-house licensed dieticians. Here, another process is carried out where all the data, once validated, are recorded and filed for reassessment.
For their dietetic meals, they have a selection of a 10 pack, 5 packs, or a 7 pack diet menu. Price ranges are from $35 for a 5-day meal package, $45 for 7 days, and $60 for 10 days meal pack. These meal packages normally include a beef or chicken entree, paired with a side dish of mixed vegetables, blended juices, crackers, and milk. They also offer individualized meals for those who do not want meal packages. You can choose from their beef, breakfast, side dishes, pasta, pork and veal, poultry, seafood, and soup individual meals for as low as $4 to $6.65 per meal.
Aside from all those services mentioned, they also offer shelf stable items. This service is beneficial after an emergency when the customer may be without power and cooking is not an option.
Another special diet that they have is their Renal Health packages. This is intended for patients who have just undergone dialysis. Malnourishment is often the main problem of patients after this medical procedure. Renal meals consist of low potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. The meals are also incorporated with all the essential vitamins and proteins so that they can fully recover. They also offer Post-discharge meals where in prior to the patient’s discharge they receive a telephonic nutritional assessment to verify what meals are appropriate for their fast recovery. A follow-up is made after 30 days by their nutritionist to ensure that the meals have helped them recuperate.
After a week or month of the patient’s consumption, they are once again contacted for nutritional assessment to see if their meals need a revision or if the meals have improved their condition. And so, another cycle of thorough meal planning is done. Independent Living Systems offer different categories for their services: the breakfast, dietetic, kosher, puree, and their specialties.
Their breakfast meals cost $21, which consist of a 7-day meal pack that normally consists of a fruit juice, a cereal bowl, a Parmalat milk, and desserts like flat cracker, chocolate-chip cookie, or cheese crackers that are varied every day.
A Community-Based Meal program is another add-on feature that they are proud of. These meals are provided for large institutions that take care of elders and seniors.
They offer large quantity meals for nursing homes and hospital for the aged. Even if these meals produced for many, you don’t have to worry, because they still individualize each meal per patient.
They specifically make sure that each meal is appropriate for their patient’s special nutritional needs.
The ease and convenience as well as the personalized meal packages that they offer set Independent Living System meals apart from the other regular prepared meals.
Advantages of ILS Meals
They provide a thorough assessment of your nutritional needs before making a meal plan
Caters not just to seniors, but to hospitalized and disabled individuals, too
Website is user-friendly
Disadvantages of ILS Meals
You do not have the freedom to mix and match your meal choices
The nutrition information provided are for entrees only
Website is not complete with all the meal packages that they offer
They do not provide the serving sizes for each meal
They do not provide specific instructions as to how long each meal pack should be reheated for both oven and microwave
Site does not offer specific details as to how much their shipping and handling fee would be and what their conditions for use are
ILS Meals Review
My Chef Review. Below you will see some of the products I have tried from this supplier. My review scoring is simple: I give each meal a thumbs up or a thumbs down based on the quality of the meal at the price I paid for it. A thumbs up means I would buy it again at the posted price.
I also take into consideration everything I think would be important to a consumer, including the shipping process, the condition of the goods received, the packaging, and the ease and quality of the reheating process.