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Do you ever wish you had a personal chef? I don’t. I mean, come on, what if it felt awkward? What if I felt the need to cook something for them in return to show my appreciation? What if I made one too many Muppet jokes about Swedish Chef? Seriously though, jokes aside, I do wish I could have a fuss-free meal ready to eat during busy workdays without getting sidetracked with prep and cleanup.

Enter Territory, a service that delivers healthy, fully cooked meals made by chefs in your region, using locally and sustainably sourced wholesome ingredients. Founded in 2011 by a group of friends in Washington, DC, Territory now delivers in 27 states across the USA with the help of its independent chefs, nutritionists, and local delivery networks. 

It’s super simple—create an account with your name, email, and delivery zip code and start browsing the 35+ seasonal recipes available that week. You can select up to two deliveries a week (with up to 12 meals in each), and have the opportunity to rate your meals after trying them. For subscribers, Territory will then curate a personalized menu based on your preferences, although you can always change the selections. (What’s especially nice is that there’s no minimum commitment, so you won’t be stuck with the service if it isn’t a perfect fit.)

Much of the food is locally and sustainably sourced, including fish, and all animal proteins are raised without antibiotics or hormones, according to Territory. The brand also has a give-back initiative through Feeding America that reroutes still-good food, otherwise destined for waste to folks who need it.

Territory meals never include any gluten, dairy or refined sugars and are highly customizable from week to week. Here are the dietary preferences you can select from (like a little bit of everything? You’re not boxed into just one!):

  • Paleo
  • Low carb
  • Plant-based
  • Keto friendly
  • Whole30
  • Mediterranean
  • Performance nutrition
  • <500 calories

All that aside, it’s time for the big question—does Territory live up to its claim of tasty, clean eats?

Do Territory Meals Taste Good? 

I am happy to vouch that every meal (except for one, more on that below) was delicious and tasted surprisingly fresh. Many of the meals included more than one element, which is more exciting than my usual “throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix” method. I looked forward to picking out my meals, knowing I wouldn’t have to do loads of prep or cleanup after.

The portions felt perfect for lunch, clocking in at around 500 calories each. I’d probably select some higher-calorie meals if I wanted to make these my main meal of the day. (I don’t usually measure my caloric intake like that, but some meals felt a little light.)

For my order in LA, I received the following meals. (Remember these vary by location since all are prepared by local chefs!)

  • Grilled salmon with cauliflower rice and broccoli
  • Chicken salad with cabbage slaw
  • Vegan chickpea quiche with heirloom potatoes
  • Paprika pulled pork with garlic roasted tomato and stewed collards
  • Steak and green beans with sweet potato-parsnip puree and béarnaise
  • Pork carnitas with pickled cabbage and sweet potato mash
  • Vegan Sicilian-style pasta
  • Fusilli cashew alfredo with smoked salmon and baby spinach
  • Black bean and steak fajita with tomatillo sauce
  • BBQ pulled pork with sweet potatoes and coleslaw
  • Thai basil chicken with veggie fried brown rice
  • Chicken a la diabla with cauliflower mash and broccoli

I especially liked the paprika pulled pork, vegan Sicilian-style pasta, and the chicken salad (which is meant to be eaten cold, it was SO tasty!). The only one I didn’t try—yes, I wasted it 😞—was the fusilli cashew alfredo with smoked salmon. I kept putting it off since the instructions were to remove the salmon before microwaving and add it back on after everything else was heated through. I’m also still a fledgling fish eater, so it was double hard to convince myself to try. By the time it was the lonely last one in my fridge, I was experiencing PMS, and the only thing that sounded good was macaroni and cheese. Definitely not cold smoked salmon on hot pasta. It looked pretty, though!

How much prep do meals take?

Territory meals usually only take a few minutes to heat up in the microwave, with a pause halfway through to stir. (Some are meant to be eaten cold). I was over the moon about how easy it was to feed myself lunch each afternoon with these meals. Breaking the focus of work to head to the refrigerator, decide what to eat, prepare it, eat it, then clean up after myself is hard to justify for me, so I usually skip lunch. Or, I simply forget.

As a side note, I did enjoy seeing the nutrition facts on each label—which is not something I usually figure out for my homemade meals. If seeing ingredients and specific nutrients is important to you, now you know!

Is the packaging eco-friendly?

Only the gel from the ice packs, meal labels, and stickers need to go into the waste bin—but pay close attention to how the plastics should be recycled. The delivery order came with plastics #1, #4, and #2, so you may need to check with your local recycling program to make sure all those are accepted.

The meal trays themselves are made from microwave-safe rigid polypropylene and produced in Wisconsin with technology that uses 30% less energy and less scrap waste, according to the brand. The trays are food-safe and don’t contain PFAS or BPA additives. This definitely made me a bit cautious, and I can understand if folks are uncomfortable with the amount of plastic (recyclable or not) that comes in contact with their food. 

Honestly, there’s never going to be perfectly sustainable meal kit packaging. I also know that the foods I purchase from the grocery store are likely shipped in non-environmentally friendly ways, as well, so I do try to weigh my options thoughtfully. If I had more time and mental energy, I’d walk to a local farmers market as the best option, but that just isn’t in the cards for me right now.

How much does Territory cost, and is it worth it?

You won’t be able to see all the prices in your area without signing up and sharing your zip code first, unfortunately. Prices will vary based on your location, preferences, and availability, but for reference, a quick scan of the LA-based offerings shows that many fall in the $14–$17 range. I’ve seen prices as low as $7.99 for a side, and up to $21.99 for a family-sized pork carnitas dish. I cross-checked with my old zip code in Indiana, and those prices were similar, so whether something is “affordable” or not may be based on your location and cost of living.

You *can* set up a weekly subscription, which will tailor recommendations for you based on your favorites (and you can fully customize on your end as well). The subscription will save you 5% on a box, which sounds okay until you realize that’s only saving $5 on an order of $100.

For the cost, I think this is a handy service for folks who have a hard time fitting lunch in, have specific dietary requirements, or need quick and wholesome meals to grab for the office. I personally wouldn’t prefer the service for dinners, as my evenings are usually a little less busy and I have more time to prepare my food. Although, I can see Territory being a great option for students, parents, or professionals who need more flexibility for any meal of the day.

And if you want to help out a grieving friend or someone navigating a difficult time? This would make a super thoughtful gift if you understand that person’s dietary needs and preferences.

“I’m glad I tried Territory—it even inspired me to try new recipes that I might not have otherwise sought out…next time I need extra support on eating my weekday lunches, Territory will be my first pick”

I’m glad I tried Territory—it even inspired me to try new recipes that I might not have otherwise sought out (I’m looking at you, chicken salad). I certainly didn’t lose my usual leftovers to the back of the fridge, so I did save a little bit of food waste in the process. For now, I’m not going to subscribe. But next time I need extra support on eating my weekday lunches, Territory will be my first pick. (Especially since there’s no recurring commitment—don’t worry, chicken salad, I’ll be back).

Territory review

Key Takeaways:

  • Territory is an easy way to get fresh single-serving and family-style meals delivered straight to your doorstep and offers a wide range of options that fit most diets. 
  • The prices are a bit higher than I’d spend on a daily lunch ($14–$17 on average, although it varies). I’m still keeping Territory in mind for weeks, where I may have more difficulty feeding myself. (Maybe I’m under the weather or working against a tight deadline).
  • Only order hot dishes you’re okay with eating re-heated; for me, fish was not something I wanted to eat like that. My husband enjoyed the salmon, though!
  • Territory would make a great gift for someone going through a difficult or draining time, especially if you know their dietary preferences and can handle ordering for them.

Emily Torres is the Editorial Director at The Good Trade. Born and raised in Indiana, she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her in her colorful Los Angeles apartment journaling, caring for her rabbits and her cat, or gaming.