No grocery store trip required
Starting the new year with healthy eating habits has been kind of crazy in my household. My parents were down for the first two weeks and the following weekend was Andy’s birthday. We maybe indulged
a little a lot.
After going out for numerous cocktails and dinners, it was difficult for me to get back to a regular routine. I didn’t want to meal plan and write out a long grocery list, so I looked into Hello Fresh, a delivery meal service that delivers recipes and fresh ingredients right to your door.
You can pick 3, 4, or 5 meals and have them delivered. All the ingredients arrive fresh and are kept cold so that they stay fresh at your door and last for the week in your fridge. I purchased the 4-day meal plan where there were six recipes to choose from online.
The package arrived Monday 1/16/17 and was waiting on my porch when I got home from work. It’s insulated to keep cool and has a cute little recipe book with instructions and pictures to follow along with while you cook.
The meal plans change weekly and you can see what’s on each menu by visiting the Hello Fresh website.
We ordered the rapid maple-balsamic chicken, lemony shrimp risotto, Thai pork stir fry, and hearty steak and potatoes as our meals for the week.
We usually cook Sunday through Thursday so I was curious to see how I would feel about this meal delivery service. Here’s the breakdown of what I thought…
What I loved about Hello Fresh
It was soooo nice on Sunday not having to do a whole grocery list worth of shopping. I tend to feel obligated to shop on Sundays because I buy a lot of produce (mostly fruit and potatoes) and lunch meat. There was something I loved about not having to sit down and think about what I was going to make each day. I was really excited for the food delivery on Monday. It was as if a little chore from my weekly to-do list was already crossed off (winning!)
With the Hello Fresh meals, I ate a LOT MORE veggies (can you believe it?!) – zucchini, broccoli, red cabbage, green beans, red peppers, sweet potatoes were all in my delivery. I would never buy that many different vegetables in a week. What I loved about Hello Fresh was the variety of cooking styles used to cook the vegetables. I never even thought about mixing red cabbage with onions and creating a tasty side dish (who am I kidding, I didn’t really know what red cabbage was before this). I love how the meal plans opened my eyes to thinking outside my normal cooking routine.
Every meal comes packaged together so you don’t have to dig for ingredients. There was something very convenient about starting dinner and having everything you needed right in front of you. The only ingredients of mine that I had to use were olive oil, salt, pepper, and butter. I also appreciated that the chicken and steak were cut into two pieces already and was one less thing to do! The shrimp already had the tails cut off as well. Convenient!
Even though we usually cook during the week, I felt like we were eating complete meals that weren’t only healthy but tasty too. Now, they may not be as delicious as pizza being delivered, but there weren’t any meals that either of us refused to eat based on its taste. I was so proud of making risotto on a weekday (which I would never probably try on my own during the week) and making a pan sauce for the steak. I even used real ginger root, which I never do – so I felt some major cooking kudos for that. I have never put ground turkey in a stir fry, and guess what – it was soooo flavorful. Who knew?! I looked forward to cooking each night with Andy more than we usually do.
I also enjoyed the variety of meat. We never eat chicken, shrimp, pork, and steak on a Monday through Thursday. Sometimes we have chicken each day – I can’t help it but stick to my same old same old recipes. With Hello Fresh, I enjoyed looking forward to trying a new recipe that was super simple to follow. I like how the ingredients are listed in bold in the recipe instructions and there are step by step pictures that made it very helpful (a cooking beginner could easily handle these recipes).
What I wish I knew before I ordered
Before purchasing, I thought that each week you could pick 4 recipes from an endless list of recipes. That is not the case – you choose from six recipes for the week (and the menu options change weekly). I’m glad I didn’t choose a 5-day service because the other two choices did not interest us whatsoever (braised chicken thighs with French couscous and oven roasted cauliflower). Each weekly menu contains a vegetarian option and some sort of seafood which is also useful to know before you purchase.
The portions are technically “proportionate” – however, when you are used to piling mashed potatoes on your plate, these portions may seem smaller to you. I definitely felt much better about what I ate for the week when Friday rolled around. Just a heads up – don’t expect to have giant portions, the meals are approved by their in-house dietician so the portions are what you should be eating.
When actually cooking, I found the suggested cooking times to be accurate, although I did have to modify in a couple instances. For example, you are instructed to bake the potato fries in the oven for 30-35 minutes at 425 degrees. This would have caused them to burn in my oven, so I ended up taking them out after 20 minutes and they were perfect. I would have hated if they burned, so just an FYI!
Perhaps the most convenient aspect to Hello Fresh is that you are not locked into a contract or any sort of committment. You can unsubscribe anytime. You can also pause deliveries for certain weeks without being charged as long as you pause 5 days before your delivery date. Read more about this here
Will I Order Again?
YES, however, not every week. When I get sick of cooking my usual recipes and feel the need for something new, I’ll order Hello Fresh because I like incorporating new recipes into my life. As simple as it is to cook at home, sometimes you forget to be creative with your cooking. I have made sweet potatoes with dinner, but in my delivery box, they suggested a sweet and smoky spice that was cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon that was a DELICIOUS addition on top of my sweet potato and something that I will start using in the future.
Using Hello Fresh on a week where we return from traveling will help us stay on track with healthy eating habits and fall back into a normal routine. We are guilty of coming back from trips on a Sunday evening and just getting fast food on Monday or fried chicken from the store to just have something quick for the next day when we don’t have time to do a big grocery trip and cook.
I hate looking up recipes and trusting they are going to turn out the way they look in the picture. I enjoyed cooking the recipes in Hello Fresh because the recipes come from in-house chefs and are then run through a dietician to ensure that you are eating a balanced meal.
My hubs helped me cook and the longest recipe we made was 45 minutes. I don’t think the meals were too time-consuming after coming home from a long workday. Convenience was the big key for us!
Who Should Order Hello Fresh
If you want to improve your cooking skills and learn new techniques, this is a great way to do so. You don’t have to worry about any type of failing here because the recipes are well written and easy to follow with step by step instructions.
If you are a busy bee who has trouble coming up with meals for the week, give Hello Fresh a try. If you are the type of person who goes to the store only to end up buying chips, then go out for a weekday burrito since you didn’t know what to make for dinner, Hello Fresh may be for you.
I am guilty of buying too much and wasting food at the end of the week. If you want to eat healthier, but don’t want to spend a fortune on food, Hello Fresh is a great option since it gives you the perfect amount of food – so you don’t worry about rotting veggies sitting in your fridge that you don’t end up finishing.
What You Need To Know
As I said earlier, we usually cook during the week. I’m used to running my dishwasher every other day because we use multiple pots and pans when we cook. If you are not used to cooking, be prepared to use 2-3 pots or pans for a meal (which I don’t think is outrageous but some people may think it’s a hassle).
As for the cooking, you’ll find that the veggies aren’t prechopped or sliced – it is like cooking a meal from scratch but the ingredients are perfectly packaged by meal for your convenience.
For purchasing Hello Fresh, I used a coupon and saved on my first box (our first week was only $59.92). It was cheaper to try this once rather that buying a week’s worth of healthy groceries that I would feel guilty about not using. I’m so glad I tried Hello Fresh and am looking forward to browsing the menus in the weeks to come.
If you are interested you can use a coupon code to save on your first box too! Enter CHRIRICHA to save $40 off your first order of Hello Fresh!
I wasn’t endorsed to do this review, I just simply wanted to try this delivery service out!
Enjoy and I hope this makes everyone’s life a little easier!