Hello Fresh Box, Cutting board containing ingredients for meal, and completed meal with text overlay: I Tried Hello Fresh....And Here's What I Thought

I Tried Hello Fresh….And Here’s What I Thought

Have you ever wanted to try one of those meal delivery companies? I’ve given it some thought for quite awhile now, but nobody I knew had tried one. I was hesitant to try it because I just wasn’t sure what I was going to get…. A couple of weeks ago, though, I got a great discount code for Hello Fresh. I figured now was the time to give it a try.

Since part of my reluctance with trying it was due to not knowing anyone else who had, I thought I’d share my experience with you guys. That way, if you’re in the same boat, maybe I can help answer some of your questions and address some of your concerns.

First Steps

Signing up was really easy. I went to hellofresh.com, put in my information and my discount code (I share my discount code below) and voila! I was ready to go! When you sign up, you can choose between 2 and 6 meals (recipes), for either 2 or 4 people each week. Since it’s just my Hubby and me, we chose the meals for two, three different meals (recipes) per week.

They have several different plans to choose from: Meat and Veggies, Veggie, Family Friendly, and Low Calorie. They have 20 different choices each week.

Hello Fresh does not offer gluten-free, dairy-free, or nut-free options. Some of the recipes may be free of these allergens, but as far as I can tell, they could be subject to cross contamination in their processing/packing facilities. They also do not offer any specifically Keto or Paleo meals.

I chose the Meat and Veggies plan. That doesn’t mean that all my recipes I have to choose from are meat and veggie though. I’ve had veggie and low-calorie options included in my choices each week as well. The Hello Fresh website says they offer three veggie meals to choose from in the Classic Plan (I assume that means Meat and Veggie Plan) each week.

Once I had made all my basic choices, I was able to browse through the recipes for the week and choose my three meals for the week. Now it was just a matter of waiting for my big green box to arrive.

What’s In The Box?

As you can see, everything was well-packed, with recyclable, environmentally-friendly ice packs. The box includes the proteins for each meal in their own packaging. The brown bags have everything you need (with the exception of basics like olive oil, plain butter, and salt and pepper) to make each recipe.

One of the meals I chose was salmon, and there was a note on the bag label to make that one first. The first week, I just put everything in the fridge. I put the proteins (in their packaging) on a plate just in case anything leaked.

I was a little concerned about leaving the chicken in the refrigerator for that long, but the package says “use within 7 days” and it lasted just fine. This week, I did decide, just for my comfort level, to go ahead and freeze the proteins I’m not using right away and just thaw them the day I’m going to use them.

The Recipes

Each meal kit has an accompanying recipe card with easy-to-follow instructions for making each meal.

I’ve been cooking a long time, and anything that didn’t go exactly as planned was due to me not paying attention to the recipe. For example, for the first recipe, I cut my carrots smaller than the 1- inch thickness the recipe called for because I got on autopilot and cut them the same thickness I usually use. The result was that the carrots got really brown around the edges. They looked burnt, but they tasted good.

Here are the first three recipes I made:

Chermoula-Topped Tunisian Salmon with Honey-Glazed Carrots and Basmati Rice Pilaf

This was a great meal. I loved everything about it…. except the salmon itself. Now, I have to say, we’re a little spoiled when it comes to salmon. Our local fish store carries Scottish Salmon, and that’s what we’re used to now; anything else just doesn’t measure up. The salmon included in the kit was obviously farm-raised, and it tasted a little too fishy for me. Of course, the fishy taste may be on me — My first box arrived on Friday and I didn’t cook the salmon until Sunday.

Amazing Apricot Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

This Apricot Chicken was delicious! I didn’t reduce the sauce quite enough, so it doesn’t look as pretty as it should, but it tasted great. Again, everything I needed to make it (other than the chicken) was in the little brown bag. When you look at the ingredients laid out, it sometimes looks like it can’t possibly feed two people, but as you can see, the portion sizes are great.

Margherita Chicken Over Garlic Herb Spaghetti

This Margherita Chicken was also fabulous! My only issue was that the basil was not in the best condition, as you can see. This was the last meal I made for the week, and as you may know, basil can be kind of finicky about being in the fridge for very long. I was still able to get enough usable basil for the recipe.

What I Loved

  • All the recipes were full of flavor!
  • I loved the automatic portion control. If you’re familiar with the hand-size portions, these portion sizes fit that very well (except that the carb portions would probably equate to 2 servings using the hand portioning). My Hubby says this is his very favorite part – he’s not tempted to eat more than he should because the food is already portioned out for us.
  • No food waste. You get all the ingredients you need in the appropriate amounts for the meal, so you don’t have extra ‘stuff’ that goes bad.
  • I don’t have to plan meals for three days of the week. That makes me super-happy! A lot of our meals end up being “thrown-together” meals because I haven’t planned so I have to use whatever’s in the refrigerator and pantry. Hello Fresh ensures we get nice meals at least three days a week.
  • I think we’re going to save on our grocery bill for the month. I’ll have to let you know for sure about this one later, but I suspect our grocery bill (which will, of course, include our Hello Fresh Meals) will be lower. I believe the website said the average meal price was $7.49 for the Meat and Veggies Meal, so while it’s not cheap, it’s not horribly expensive either.

What I Wasn’t As Thrilled With

  • When I first got on the Hello Fresh website, I wasn’t able to view the different meals available before I signed up. I contacted Customer Service once I decided to write this post and they said if you go to the Menu and fill out the survey, you can then view the meals first.
  • As I said above, I wasn’t thrilled with the salmon, and that makes me hesitant to try other fish recipes.
  • I’d love to have another serving of veggies. The Meat and Veggie plan includes the standard Protein, Starchy Carb, and Non-starchy Vegetable that we’re used to, but when we’re trying to get 5 – 9 servings of veggies a day, we really need another serving. Of course, all we have to do is add a salad or another vegetable to give us that extra veg.

My Tips

  • Look at the little white box under the picture that has information on the meal options. That little box has information about the recipes such as Calorie Smart, Family Friendly, Easy Clean-Up, etc.
  • Check out the full recipe when choosing your meals. The full recipe gives not only the recipe, but all the nutritional information about the recipe, including any allergen information.
  • Control the amount of sodium in the recipe by paying attention to where sodium might be hiding (such as in the broth or seasoning packets) and skip the “season with salt and pepper” step if there’s already enough in there.

If You Want to Try Hello Fresh, Here’s My Discount Code

If you’d like to give Hello Fresh a try, here’s my discount code that you can use to get $70 off. In the interest of full disclosure, if you use this link to sign up for Hello Fresh, I will get a $10 credit on my account. I just want to make sure you know this post isn’t a ‘paid advertisement’ but I do benefit if you use the link.

As I said earlier, I thought about doing a meal delivery service for quite a while before I decided to take the plunge, and I’m really glad I did.

I’m on my second week right now, and I’m extremely pleased with the quality of the ingredients, the variety of recipes offered, the ease of preparation, and of course, the flavor of the meals. I’m also thrilled that some of my meal planning and grocery shopping are already taken care of for me.

I really believe this can be a great tool in our wellness toolbox. For me, it’s a matter of setting myself up for success by having a plan and the ingredients for at least three good meals during the week.

Have you tried any of the meal delivery services? If so, which ones? How did they work for you? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

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32 comments

  1. If you want to try one that you don’t have to prepare the meal, just some basic assembly try Home Chef. I’ve used for about 8 months now. One thing we’ve discoverd is cook in your own pan and cover. Don’t use the metal pan they provide. Covering makes things come out less dry. We’ve been please with 90% of the meals. You get to make your choices. they do have some meals you can prepare yourself or grill. Here’s my discount code. melindas23 for $35 dollars off. Take care.
    Did you ever try Daily Harvest?

    1. Thanks for sharing Melinda! I’m glad you found something that makes your life easier! I haven’t tried Daily Harvest. I figured it’s just about as easy for me to just make my smoothies, as I always have frozen fruit anyway. Blessings to you sweet friend!

      1. I’m the same way right now. The fruit is so freash, we buy in bulk and I have smothies everday of lunch. I’ve moved Daily Harvest out to every three weeks to give me a change. Have a great day. I like where your blog is going, hope you’ve seen an uptick in traffic.

  2. I just tried this for the first time tonight!! My kids sent me a free week. We tried the Southwestern Chicken Bowl and it was really, really good! I am a little picky, so I was pleasantly surprised! it took longer to prepare than they said, but worth it. xo

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Sandy! I’m glad your son was able to send you a free box and that your first meal was a good one. Do you mind if I ask (if so, just ignore the question), was there any kind of “catch” with the free box? I have the option to send some to my family and friends as well, but I haven’t done it because I wasn’t sure if there was some kind of requirement to purchase a box in order to get the free one…. I hope you enjoy your other meals as well. Blessings to you sweet friend!

      1. No! I needed for 4 people so it did cost $20 more – not quite free, but that did not bother me at all because that is still way cheaper than going and buying it myself.

      2. Ooh nice! What did you have? We had one with crispy parmesan chicken, Israeli couscous with garlic butter and scallions, and roasted carrots with lemon last night. It was delicious!

      3. That sounds delicious! We had zucchini boats stuffed with Israeli couscous, topped with mozzarella and bruschetta. I can’t wait to try the tacos tomorrow. 🙂

  3. I’ve always been so curious about these programs, Terri. They look so delicious. Thanks for sharing your experiences. It sounds like a great service. Unfortunately, I have too many allergies, but it sounds so healthy and delicious and so much easier than doing it all from scratch. Xx

    1. I’m really sorry you can’t try them Mykie. Unfortunately, I know the lack of specialty diets and the use of allergens in their facilities will make them inaccessible to quite a few people in our chronic illness community. I know there are other companies that offer more specialty options, but I haven’t tried any of them. I hope you’re doing well sweet friend. Sending hugs your way!

      1. I know one thing; talking about this stuff in reviews certainly can’t hurt to encourage companies to meet these challenges, so thanks for mentioning it! Hugs! xx

  4. When I was too ill to cook, we signed up for Chef’s Plate – that way I got the meals I wanted and the home help could easily prepare it for us. We loved them, and after a while opted out as we had so many recipe cards saved. My son ordered them too for a quite a while and my daughter just started using another service.

    1. Thanks for sharing VJ! It sounds like Chef’s Plate was just what you needed at the time. I haven’t heard about them before, but I’m seeing a lot of meal delivery services I haven’t heard of lately. Ever since I checked out Hello Fresh my Facebook feed has been full of different meal delivery services…. It seems they offer something for everyone these days, and I think it’s wonderful that we have so many options to help us out when we want/need it. Sending hugs your way sweet friend!

      1. I suspect our service was local. There do seem to be a lot of different ones. All these services sure do help us. Hope you are staying well, Terri.

  5. Oooo this is interesting! I’ve heard of Hello Fresh but I hadn’t realised you have it over there in the US, too. I just imagined it being a subscription box of food but I’ve never looked into it so this is all news to me. It’s a shame they have a basic offering in the sense that those with allergies and intolerances might not find what they need.

    I do like that you can select the quantity rather than have it too set in stone, so as to suit your needs and circumstances. A helping hand for three meals per week, that makes the week seem a little easier. I love the random Kinder Bueno bar in there!

    It sounds amazing and I love the photos (which are making my tummy rumble). It’s a shame about the salmon and the basil, that really is a bit on the sad side so it’s good you managed to get what you needed from it. Personally, I’d be hesitant with fish or cuts of meat just because I’m like that with supermarket shopping online too. I prefer to see what I’m getting and I usually take a little while going through what’s on the shelf. That said, it’s an interesting option to get healthy food on the table, with a little help and it doesn’t cost quite as much as I’d anticipated either.

    Absolutely fantastic review of this, Terri, & very helpful tips for others considering giving it a try!!

    Caz xx

    1. Thanks so much Caz! I had to chuckle when I read this, because I think you and I must be sisters from another mother…. I told my Hubby the other day that I’m such a control freak about our food (he says just the food???) that it was hard for me to let someone else pick out what we’re eating. I’m so picky about our meat, poultry, and produce… That’s part of why I’ve been hesitant to try one of these services. Overall, though, I’ve been really pleased with the quality. We had a delicious meal last night – crispy parmesan chicken, Israeli couscous with garlic butter, and roasted carrots with lemon. It’s a great way to have a nice meal in a decent amount of time. The Kinder Bueno Bar was a happy little surprise.😁 Hope you’re feeling better sweet friend. Sending love and hugs your way!

  6. I loved this post Terri! I, too, was thinking about trying a similar service but was hesitant. Since you had a pleasant experience with Hello Fresh maybe I should venture to try something different in these times. For us here in Hawaii, we have something similar called the Kau Kau Box. (Kau Kau in Hawaiian means food). It uses all locally grown fruits and vegetables as well a fish and poultry. I heard a lot of good reviews from my friends but was always a bit hesitant to try. I probably give it a try just to see.

  7. I saw that they don’t have Dairy Free, but do you think you could adjust or find recipes without dairy?

    1. I believe you could adjust the recipes or use your non-dairy substitutes. If you view the full recipe on the screen where you see the meal options, you can see what all the ingredients are and, as you said, find recipes that don’t have any dairy. Thanks for popping by Katie! Have a wonderful weekend!

  8. Super helpful! Thank you!! I’ve been wanting to try one of these! It’s helped tremendously to know the Salmon was farm raised, as thats something we avoid. Do you happen to know if the other meats were free range?
    I absolutely love the idea of this (or any of these services), but it’s hard to find one that fits in with my ideals. Great, thorough post!

    1. Thanks so much Stace! I can’t find anything on the package that says the proteins we have are free-range. The chicken does have that ‘free-range smell’ if you know what I mean, but it doesn’t say anything about it. On their website, Hello Fresh says “Animal welfare and sustainability remain an integral component of our corporate commitment to our customers and the environment. These claims will vary by business. We are dedicated to the continued improvement of our supply chain and the food industry.” I hope this helps. I know what you mean about finding things that fit your ideals – I really would prefer a service that offers strictly organic, but the only ones I’ve been able to find are already-prepared meals. Please let me know if you find something! Sending hugs your way!

  9. Hi Terri! I tried this service and Blue Apron a few summers ago. I thought both had high quality ingredients and I kept some of the favorite recipes from both and still cook them. We cook at home all the time, even pre-pandemic, so it’s nice to find some new recipes to add to the arsenal. What I didn’t like was all the boxes and freezer packs that I felt like I was wasting by throwing away. Gave several away too. I decided to stick with Pinterest for new recipes and shopping for my own ingredients.
    But I’m glad you’re enjoying it! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Cynthia! How would you say Blue Apron compared with Hello Fresh? Did you like one better than the other? I understand about the boxes and freezer packs….When you get them every week, that’s a lot of cardboard and freezer packs. We recycle our boxes and the brown paper bags that the meals come in. We’ve kept some of the freezer packs, but the others, we’ve done as the packs say and thrown away the environmentally-friendly insides and recycled the plastic bags. I’m not sure if we’ll do it forever, but for now, I’m really enjoying the convenience, not having to go to the store as often, and as you said, “finding some new recipes to add to the arsenal.” I hope you’re doing well sweet friend! Hugs!

      1. I thought both services were fairly comparable in quality and recipes and price. It’s been about two years so I don’t really remember. I know I had an issue with one box – I think from Hello Fresh – and they were extremely accommodating in replacing the box. And yes the dietary issues are a concern since I am gluten and dairy intolerant. That’s why it’s so much easier for me to cook my own food.
        Enjoy!

    1. Sorry for the delay in answering Chris… Somehow your comment ended up in my spam folder. If you decide to try Hello Fresh, I hope you enjoy it. We’ve enjoyed almost every meal we’ve tried so far. There was one that I wasn’t overly fond of, but it was really due more to personal preference than anything else. Please let me know what you think if you give it a try! Blessings to you!

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