Have you ever thought about trying one of those meal delivery services we see advertised all the time? Well, as some of you know, after considering it for quite a while, I decided to give Hello Fresh a try. It’s been a couple of months now, and I thought I’d give you a little update.
I mostly enjoyed my experience with Hello Fresh, but ultimately ended up cancelling my subscription after two months.
So Why Did I Cancel?
The thing that caused me to cancel was that, in spite of having FRESH in its name, the produce we received was often anything but. Some things were completely unusable. If this were only an occasional issue, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but this happened with at least one meal in each box we received.
There were several times that, had I not had a garden and herb bed (or veggies in the fridge), I wouldn’t have been able to make some of the recipes I got.
I will say that when I contacted Customer Service, they did apologize and give me a credit on my account. Unfortunately, though, my complaint didn’t really make a difference. My last two boxes (that I got after contacting them) had produce that I would never have bought. I will admit that I can be somewhat picky about my produce, and some folks may not have had a problem with the produce I got.
Here are a few pictures from my last couple of boxes:
I think they may have different places that they ship from though. My best friend’s daughters all use Hello Fresh and they haven’t really noticed any issues with their produce. That makes me wonder if our veggies were coming from different places.
Even though I was dissatisfied with the produce and ended up canceling my subscription, I’m still glad I tried it. There were some really great things we gained from having those green boxes delivered to us each week.
The Positive Aspects of Our Hello Fresh Experience
The Hello Fresh recipes are delicious! We tried 23 different meals (we chose one exact duplicate because we liked it so much), and out of those, there were only two that I really didn’t care for. I did have to make occasional adjustments to seasoning amounts to protect my cranky tummy, but they really did a fabulous job putting together tasty, easy-to-prepare dinners.
Easy-to-prepare didn’t always mean quick – most of the meals took at least 45 minutes from start to finish. That’s not really that long in the grand scheme of things, but for those of us who are almost constantly in an energy deficit, it can seem like forever.
I got back into the habit of cooking more consistently. I had already been cooking at home more since Coronavirus made it to our area, but on nights when I didn’t really feel like cooking, we’d just do something simple, even if it wasn’t particularly healthy.
Because I was getting three meals each week, I knew I had to cook at least three nights. I certainly didn’t want to let all that food go to waste. And because of the produce issues, I tried to make sure I cooked everything within just a few days.
There was very little waste, except when I had to throw away produce that was not usable. The recipes were all perfectly portioned so that we ate everything I cooked. No more leftovers getting lost in the back of the refrigerator and eventually having to be tossed.
It kept me from having to plan meals for three days of the week. Having a meal plan can be so beneficial for our health. It can help us plan for healthful eating and ensure we don’t just grab whatever’s available when we get hungry. If I’m being truthful, though, I hate meal planning. I’m not sure why, but I dread sitting down to make my plan each week and tend to put it off as long as I possibly can.
All the ingredients for our meals were curated. Everything I needed, except for basics like olive oil, salt and pepper, and butter was right in that little brown bag for each meal. Being able to just grab that bag and have everything I needed seems like a small thing, but it made a huge difference for me.
I learned some new little tricks to make easy sauces that are really flavorful didn’t add a lot of calories. Sauces can make such a difference in the flavor of a meal, but they can also be loaded with calories and fat. Many of these sauces were balsamic-vinegar-based, and although they did add some sugar (sometimes a tablespoon of jam) and fat (a tablespoon of butter), they weren’t as heavy as a lot of sauces.
In my original post, I mentioned that I thought this might save us money on our grocery bill, but that wasn’t the case for us. One of the things I liked best was also one of the things that I liked least — there were no leftovers. That meant we didn’t have leftovers to eat for lunches the next day. Since we didn’t have those leftovers, we had to purchase things for breakfasts and lunches in addition to our delivered dinners. And of course, we had to have groceries for dinners the other four nights of the week.
Overall, our Hello Fresh experience was a good one. We had some delicious meals, learned some new recipes, and yours truly here got back into the habit of cooking every night. I would still say if it’s something you’ve been thinking about, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try. The nice thing with Hello Fresh is that you can cancel any time, and it’s a really easy process.
Have you ever used a meal delivery service? What was your experience with it? Would you recommend it? Please share!