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.
Signing up was really easy. I went to hellofresh.com, put in my information and my discount code 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.
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.
- 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.
My Overall Impression So Far
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.
Of course, this is just the second week, so after I’ve done it for a few weeks I’ll post an update with how it’s worked out for Hubby and me over time.
Have you tried any of the meal delivery services? If so, which ones? How did they work for you? Please share!