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Within a week of our big European trip my husband and I decided to give Hello Fresh a go. Why? Well, the decision was simple really, as it had to do with not having to worry about meal planning and grocery shopping for the week. Since we’ll be gone for a month we didn’t want to worry about leftovers or grocery ingredients going bad or to waste while we were gone.
I had heard of Hello Fresh through various bloggers and celebrity personalities who were sharing all about their experiences. We had received a gift from a similar food delivery service when we first brought Greyson home from the hospital and it’s a recipe we continue to cook to this day! At the time, it was a relief to not have to worry about meal planning, grocery shopping, or even lengthly preparations. Now that we are in need of such conveniences again, I was eager to give Hello Fresh a try and see how it stacked up.
First, I visited their website and created a free profile where I then selected the plan that best fit the needs of my family-which is made up of our meal preferences (great options for vegetarians, too!), number of meals we’d like a week, and the number of people we’d be feeding.
There are three meal plans to choose from:
- the classic (which we chose)
- the veggie plan
- and a family plan.
The classic plan has a variety of recipes that include seasonal meat, fish, and produce. The veggie plan is great for those vegetarians or families looking to make healthier food choices that feature plant-based proteins, grains, and fresh produce. And finally, the family plan is similar to the classic but meant to feed more mouths and takes children’s palates into consideration – even those picky eaters!
After selecting your plan and choosing how many meals you’d like a week, you then choose from Hello Fresh’s list of featured recipes that will be included in your box. Each week they update their index and you can choose 3-4 meals out of the six or so they offer that week. We chose to have four meals sent to us, so based on that week’s recipes I made my selections and within two days we received our fresh ingredients! Hello Fresh also has premium recipes that for a little more you can whip up a more fancy meal – like for any special occasions or you really want to impress someone 😉
This week I chose four different meals which included:
- Creamy Dill Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
- Crispy Crusted Half Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes and Heirloom Tomato Salad
- Hoisin Shrimp with Ginger Scallion Rice and Crispy Green Beans
- and Sesame Beef Tacos with Pickled Veggies and a Spicy Crema.
Each meal offers something a little different and since all meals have perfectly measured ingredients, I don’t have to spend a lot of time pulling it all together in order to prepare a worthwhile meal for dinner.
All Hello Fresh shipments arrive in a box that is insulated and with freezer packs to ensure your proteins and produce stay chilled. Most other ingredients, such as garlic, is already peeled and air-sealed to guarantee lasting freshness. My box was shipped directly from here in California so I know it wasn’t sitting around a loading dock for days. Once my box arrived I eagerly looked through it and found four bags with my individual recipe’s ingredients, proteins on the bottom, and the recipe cards (I also had a few deals tucked in there, too!). It was almost like the feeling of Christmas morning for this mama!
The first recipe we were recommended to cook and enjoy first was the Hoisin Shrimp meal due to it being shellfish. As you can see, the ingredients in the baggies are individually measured and sealed – even down to the sesame seeds. All recipes only require you to have salt, pepper, and olive oil on hand, which is a huge convenient plus! In addition, following the directions were extremely easy because not only was it an easy recipe to make, but each recipe card has photos and prep recommendations.
What you do have to keep in mind is staggering your cook times for each item. For example, rice takes the longest to cook so I started that first (about 40 mins), then halfway through I’d bake the green beans which only needed about 20 minutes, and so on. By the end, I had pulled together a meal that had a starch, protein, vegetables, and lots of flavor! Also, I learned a new way to brighten up rice with aromatics such as green onion and ginger – something I can apply on my own in the future!
Our finished plate of the Hoisin Shrimp recipe!
Affordable? | YES
Another aspect we really liked was the affordability of Hello Fresh and the conveniences it provided us as a family. Typically it would be about $75/ week for four meals for two people – still considerably less than what we spend at the grocery store when meal planning – but Hello Fresh is always having promotions and sending out gift cards. Using one of their gift card codes for $50 off our first two boxes, this first box was $25 off. So, it brought our four meals down to about $57 which is highly do-able for us.
Is it wasteful? | NO
One of the things that Hello Fresh aims to do with their service is actually cut down on waste by using recycled packaging and portioned meals. Although some of their ingredients in each meal kit is separately wrapped, it’s considerably less waste than other meal kit companies – and by sourcing and supporting local agriculture, Hello Fresh’s carbon footprint is significantly lower than corporate farming (we all know at this point corporate farming produces the highest amounts of CO2 emissions).
In terms of food, the portions happen to be perfect for our family of two. We didn’t have leftovers because we ate everything that was made, but considering our trip coming up that was the point. I felt as though the portions are of a good size and left enough for us to share with Greyson. It made me feel good to know that nothing went to waste all week!
Does it cater to vegans? | KIND OF
Their vegetarian meal plan has all the goodies you’d find in any vegan meal – depending on the recipe you choose, though. Any 100% vegan recipes will be labeled as such, but all recipes can be altered by substituting the dairy ingredients.
So, is Hello Fresh really worth it?
I have to say that my husband and I both really enjoyed our Hello Fresh experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the meal kit fads that are out there considering there’s so many to choose from! However, Hello Fresh makes the cooking experience enjoyable – even for those out there where cooking isn’t their forte – and their meals are full of flavor and easy to do. We may not do it every week, but it does make it more exciting and minimizes our time and money spent on groceries. With having our recipe cards we can easily recreate these meals – and will! – in the future!
Have you tried a meal kit service? What are your thoughts?