Interested in trying a meal delivery kit service? Here’s my experience using HelloFresh
Disclaimer: I work on the HelloFresh social media team now but don’t worry, this post isn’t to tell you why you should choose HelloFresh over their competitors and I’m not being paid to post this. There are no affiliate links and this post isn’t monetized in any way. I’m just posting my experience with my boxes so far, explaining the benefits, and popular concerns.
Meal delivery kits started in 2011 and since then have turned into a tremendous market that many people doubted at first. I’ll admit it, I was a doubter also. In case you’re behind, some of the popular meal delivery kit services include HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Plated, Home Chef, Sun Basket, Marley Spoon and Green Chef. What’s the difference between them all? Different recipes, different styles, different missions. Here are some key things you should know about HelloFresh:
1. They are a meal kit delivery service
Meal kit delivery services like HelloFresh essentially work like this: the company creates recipes that you can make in about 30 minutes. They source all of the ingredients, package the exact amounts needed for the recipe in an refrigerated, insulated box, and ship them (for free) to your home. You unpack your box and cook the recipes yourself.
2. They, like the others, are a subscription service.
This means that whether you get a free box, a promo code, a coupon, or just sign up for a box in general, you are signing up for a subscription service. You can pause up to 8 weeks at a time which means, while HelloFresh is a weekly subscription, you can manually make your subscription bi-weekly, tri-weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly. Again, you have to do this manually for now but it is an option if you want to try the service but can’t commit financially yet.
3. They have a Registered Dietitian on staff.
My degree is in Dietetics so you can imagine why I find this extremely valuable. The recipes are made by a culinary team of chefs with the help and oversight of HelloFresh’s dietitian. What does this mean for you? You have somebody fighting to balance the portions of sodium, fat, carbs, and protein in each recipe. Plus, she creates the nutrition label info so every recipe comes with an ingredient list, nutritional breakdown, and allergen information.
4) The recipes are outstanding and portioned.
Now I haven’t tried any of the other meal kit services’ recipes but I can say this much, the HelloFresh recipes are unbelievable. The menu does change weekly and you’ll probably like some meals more than others, but every week so far there’s been at least one super star meal. Each meal has roughly 5-6 oz of lean protein, a serving of vegetables and a fun twist that I would never think of (orange glazing meatballs?!).
What if I already know how to cook?
If you already know how to cook it’s even better, in my opinion. Look through my recipes and you’ll see that while I’m no professional chef, I know my way around a kitchen. If you already know how to cook then you’ll be able to get through these recipes with ease while also learning new techniques and trying new food combinations (I never would have made things like kiwi salsa otherwise). It’s almost like saying “I already know how to read, why buy books?”.
Isn’t it expensive?
That really depends. You could most likely get the ingredients yourself by going to a grocery store and spending 1-2 hours of your time there. Also, I hate when I want to try a new recipe that calls for 1 tsp. of Thyme which means I have to buy a whole bottle. I wouldn’t/couldn’t use a meal delivery kit to account for 100% of my weekly groceries, but it’s an amazing substitute to eating out, dinner dates, and getting out of the rut of making the same meals all of the time.
Versus going out to eat…
Most meal kit delivery services generally cost around $9.99/meal. HelloFresh meals range from as low as $8.50/meal to $11.50/meal. Compare that with the $20+/meal you’d get at a nice restaurant for very similar meals and meal kits win again! Now, you’re probably thinking “but at least at a restaurant I can sit and be served”. True, but you also pay a premium for that service in both the meal costs and the 20%+ tip. You’ll still wait 30-45 minutes to eat (the approximate cooking time of HelloFresh and their competitor’s recipes) so you essentially have to weigh paying a premium to sit and talk against chopping some vegetables and meat.
HelloFresh packages their recipes in individualize, smaller ventilated boxes. Once I get my box at the door, I open it and remove the individualized recipe kits, and stow them away in my fridge until I’m ready to cook. No sorting, no standing in line, just 15 seconds of unpacking.
You do have to deal with breaking down cardboard, emptying the ice packs (once you’ve saved enough of them for later use), and disposing the very limited plastic though.
I definitely recommend trying a meal kit delivery service and of course, I highly recommend HelloFresh. There are always tons of promotions and coupons so you can your first box super cheap!