This post is a sponsored collaboration between Plated and Gothamist staff. Sign up for Plated now and get four meals free with your first purchase!

Just because you can't find the time to plan out your weeknight dinners, hit the grocery store, and buy ingredients DOES NOT mean you have to resort to a shameful supper. Thanks to Plated, a startup that delivers everything you need to cook chef-designed meals at home, your time crunch can actually improve what you munch. Just choose the recipes you like from their site, and a hand-packed box arrives with all of the fresh, pre-portioned ingredients you need.

For comparison's sake, we had Gothamist staff send in photos of their saddest dinners, and paired them with what could have been. Your head will hang at what we had laying around our pantry, and your mouth will water at Plated's obviously (and aesthetically) superior offerings. NOTE: These are real staff dinners. Some names have been changed to protect the hungry and unsatisfied.

Alias: Tex, 26
Staffer's Title: Account Manager

Actual Dinner: Microwave soup, cheese rounds and possibly stale pita chips.
Alternative: Spring green minestrone soup with parmesan crisps. No doubts on freshness here.

Alias: Frankenstein, 24
Staffer's Title: Marketing and Partnerships Manager
Actual Dinner: Unpeeled carrots with ranch, a chick'n patty and leftover ziti.
Alternative: Baked gnocchi with tomato, mozzarella, and spring salad. The proper way to do pasta and veggies.

Alias: Harry, 31
Staffer's Title: Entertainment Writer
Actual Dinner: Sausage link, buttered toast and fried eggs.
Alternative: Roast beef spiced steak salad with horseradish dressing. Toast and meat done right.

Alias: Bunk Sanders, 27
Staffer's Title: Director of Accounts
Actual Dinner: Saltines. Just saltines.
Alternative: Roasted vegetable and goat cheese tartines with kumquats. Tartines > Saltines. The creamy goat cheese and fresh kumquats only add to that fact.

If any of our staff dinner pics look familiar, do your taste buds a favor and try Plated. It's as effortless at it gets, and you'll never be left resorting to your own depressing dinner. Once your ingredients arrive on a day you choose, just follow the easy-to-read, step-by-step instructions. You'll end up with meals so good you won't need an alias when sharing your dinner photos.

Plated is extending a great deal to SFist readers: Click here to receive four meals free with your first purchase!