WHAT ARE MEALSQUARES?
MealSquares are a nutritionally complete food. That means if you eat 5 MealSquares (2000 calories), you will get 100% of your daily recommended intake of all essential vitamins and minerals.
WHY DID YOU DEVELOP MEALSQUARES?
We were busy, stressed, and tired of eating processed food when we didn't have time to cook healthy meals. We looked at the market and didn't see anything we would want to eat long term. We built MealSquares for ourselves first, then started getting requests from our friends and family to sell it to them.
The time savings when you only worry about one or two meals a day instead of three is remarkable. With more time and energy to devote to your remaining meals, you can improve their quality and enjoy them more. And for days when you're really stressed, MealSquares take food off your shoulders almost entirely.
At a recent conference on life extension, a panel of researchers concluded that getting all of your essential micronutrients was the most important lifestyle factor for longevity-promoting health. Several key deficiencies are widespread despite the booming supplements industry. MealSquares give you peace of mind that your diet isn't missing any key nutrients.
Doing Good for the World
The cofounders of MealSquares started the company with the goal of contributing towards causes as ranked by GiveWell and others in the effective altruism space. We consider the baseline of 10% of profits towards effective causes to be a pretty poor standard and aim to beat it by as much as we can. While we do need money to live on and reinvest in growing the company, our long term vision is to devote most of our time, money, and effort towards causes that will measurably impact the worst off. Please start here if you are new to Effective Altruism.
CAN'T I JUST TAKE A MULTIVITAMIN?
Studies of supplements and fortified foods have repeatedly found that they do not have the same health benefits as whole foods. In some cases supplements are even harmful. With a few exceptions, the money, time, and effort spent researching and taking these supplements is a waste.
Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
WHAT ARE MEALSQUARES MADE OF?
Our recipe is composed of whole foods rather than the powders and vitamin pills similar meal replacements use. We chose a combination of micronutrient dense foods like eggs, oats, sunflower seeds, and orange juice to reach our nutrient goals. See our nutrition page for a complete breakdown of the micro- and macro- nutrient profile of MealSquares.
WHY SHOULD I TRUST THAT MEALSQUARES ARE GOOD FOR ME?
First, there's nothing especially risky or unusual in MealSquares; they're made from a broad variety of ordinary, healthy whole-food ingredients like milk, rice bran, dates, etc. See our nutrition page for the full list. And unlike many commercial baked goods, MealSquares are free of artificial preservatives and flavoring agents.
To determine our nutrient targets for MealSquares, we examined recommendations from many sources: the FDA, the Institute of Medicine, the Linus Pauling Institute for Micronutrient Research, and the work of independent nutrition researchers such as Perfect Health Diet and other resources. We found these sources largely agreed, and where they disagreed, we investigated the available research and had our work checked by our nutrition advisors. We've striven for a happy medium. MealSquares meet all recommended nutrient intakes in 2000 calories, plus extras of some nutrients where the evidence is strong and the risk is low, such as Vitamins D and C.
Given common nutrient deficiencies like magnesium deficiency and potassium deficiency, MealSquares represent a huge improvement over the average diet. Even if there are nutrients unknown to science, they'll likely appear in at least one of the nutrient-dense MealSquare ingredients—this represents an advantage of whole foods over supplements.
Romeo Stevens, cofounder of MealSquares, has been getting 50% of his calories from MealSquare prototypes for over two years and in that time has experienced significant physical health, mental health, and body composition improvements. And a broad base of beta testers have eaten MealSquares for shorter periods with no health issues. As our project matures, we'll be performing laboratory assays of MealSquares in cooperation with nutrition researchers and continuing to improve their health profile. We'll be keeping up on the latest results in nutrition science so you don't have to.
BUT ISN'T SUGAR/FAT/[INSERT INGREDIENT] BAD?
We've worked hard to vet each individual ingredient in MealSquares, as well as balance the overall macronutrient ratios. Our carbs, fats, and protein are all derived from nutrient-dense, highly bioavailable sources. Our fat content comes from a mixture of plant and animal sources tuned based on the best available evidence for health benefits. The per-day sugar content of MealSquares is less than that found in 4 servings of fruit. We've also kept the fructose level below the 30g it is estimated the liver can process each day.
WHAT IF I HAVE DIFFERENT NUTRITION GOALS OR DISAGREE WITH THE RECIPE?
Right now, we're focusing on one basic recipe to meet average needs. In the future, based on demand, we will try to provide versions for additional dietary goals. If you disagree with the reasoning behind our recipe, drop us a line. We're always happy to receive feedback. As MealSquares users ourselves, we have a strong interest in optimal nutrition, and we're working hard to stay at the forefront of nutrition research. If strong evidence comes along, we'll be tweaking our recipe and explaining why.
COULD I LIVE OFF JUST MEALSQUARES?
Could you live for years on just MealSquares? Yes, but this likely wouldn't be 100% optimal for health. For example, no substitute has been discovered for fish as part of a healthy diet (fish oil pills don't cut it). Given the variety of whole foods MealSquares are made from, eating them is an improvement over the average diet.
Dietary Intake of Fish vs. Formulations
WHAT ARE MEALSQUARES' SHELF LIFE?
To maximize shelf life, we recommend refrigerating MealSquares as soon as they arrive. Once refrigerated, we recommend consuming them within 2 months.
ARE MEALSQUARES VEGAN?
MealSquares are vegetarian, but they contain animal products (milk and eggs). We will probably develop a vegan version at some point; sign up for our mailing list to hear when this happens.
ARE MEALSQUARES GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
Divide a MealSquare in fourths and you have easy 100 calorie snacks. Tracking calories has never been easier. In addition to packing more nutrients in to fewer calories, MealSquares are filling and make it easier to keep your overall caloric intake low.
DO MEALSQUARES MEET MY DIETARY RESTRICTION?
MealSquares use gluten-free ingredients, are 99% lactose free, and are lacto-ovo vegetarian compatible. They are free of wheat, soy, corn, peanuts, high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, and flavoring agents.
However, they are produced in a facility that also processes many of these. Therefore, we cannot currently guarantee that MealSquares are safe for those with severe peanut or gluten sensitivities. (We're working on this.)
Please contact us if you have a common dietary restriction that's not discussed here.
WHAT DO THEY TASTE LIKE?
The taste is that of a dense, subtly sweet cornbread/pumpkin bread, with chocolate chips and sunflower seeds for added variety. Customers have compared MealSquares to a scone, brownie, muffin, or coffee cake, although the flavors are more subdued than your average baked dessert (and MealSquares certainly have less sugar!)
HOW CAN I GET MEALSQUARES?
DO YOU SHIP OUTSIDE THE US?
Not during our beta period, but hopefully at some point in the future.
We created a nutritionally complete food not because it was easy but because it was hard.