Current dietary recommendations for cardiovascular disease risk reduction and recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) were used to develop a nutritionally complete prepackaged prepared meal plan specifically designed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In the current study we tested patient acceptance of the diet as defined by measures of quality of life. In a randomized, parallel-design, multicenter clinical trial, 77 persons with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, or a combination of two or more of these conditions were recruited and randomly assigned to either a prepared meal plan (n = 39) or a comparable self-selected diet (n = 38) for 10 wk. The prepared meal plan met both the RDAs for all essential micronutrients and the dietary recommendations of national health organizations for macronutrients, cholesterol, sodium, and fiber. The prescribed self-selected diet was matched for macronutrients. Quality of life, as measured by a battery of instruments, was the major endpoint. Individuals consuming the prepared meal plan had significant improvements in mental health (P < 0.01), general perceived health (P < 0.005), daily activities (P < 0.05), work performance (p < 0.005), affect (P < 0.01), and nutritional health perceptions (P < 0.001), and reductions in nutrition hassles based on a standardized questionnaire (P < 0.001). The self-selected diet group had significant improvements in nutritional health perceptions (P < 0.001) and affect (P < 0.001). There were significant improvements in weight (P < 0.001), blood pressure (P < 0.001), cholesterol (P < 0.002), low- density lipoproteins (P < 0.001), glucose (P < 0.014), and glycated hemoglobin (Hb A(1c)) (P < 0.004) that were comparable in both groups. In summary, this study shows that a nutritionally complete diet, whether prepackaged or self-selected, improves multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The prepackaged prepared meal plan had the added benefit of a greater improvement in quality of life.