Hey guys! A few weeks ago, Hello Fresh reached out to me asking if I would be interested in trying some of their products. Hello Fresh is a meal delivery service that sends you everything you need to prepare your own meals: pre-portioned ingredients, recipes and cooking instructions. I decided to try them out because their meals really align with my philosophy as an RD- you can eat a healthy meal with fresh ingredients and it doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated!
Today I wanted to share all of my thoughts about the Hello Fresh products and who would benefit from a service like this vs. who may want to skip this kind of product. Disclaimer: I did receive the product for free but did not receive any other compensation for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Lily has decided that one of her responsibilities as a member of our household is to scare away any delivery drivers and then inspect all packages for safety. She did so when my Hello Fresh package came last Tuesday. Once she gave me the all-clear, I was able to check out the box
When I was thinking about fresh ingredients being mailed to me, the first thing I was interested in was to see was whether the food would be nice and cold. I scheduled the delivery date and I happened to be home when the UPS driver made the delivery. The food ended up not sitting out on my porch for very long, although Hello Fresh let me know that the box could be waiting for you for up to 8 hours without any food safety issues. I also read on their site that you can schedule your delivery time!
When I opened the box, I saw that the entire inside was insulated. The meat was on the bottom of the package with a large ice pack sitting on top, and then the boxes containing the other ingredients for meals were on top of the ice. The ice pack was hardly melted, so I definitely could see how the food could remain at a safe temperature inside of the box all day.
A little info about Hello Fresh- they offer classic, vegetarian and family meal plans. They also let you pick your delivery date Mon-Sat. You do have to order from a subscription but you can pause or cancel it at any time. They offer a variety of meals each week and you can select the ones you want to order. Read more about how it works here.
Hello Fresh sent me 3 meals to try out. Each meal came in its own box with all of the ingredients together and ready to be cooked.
A few things I noticed right away about each meal:
- The size of the boxes were perfect for sticking right in the fridge without taking up too much space
- There was a colorful sheet included that contained cooking instructions
- All expected prep/cooking times were listed on the sheets and were 35 minutes or less per recipe
- Nutrition information was also included
- You do need to have a few kitchen tools, such as a knife for chopping and a zester
Here are a few snapshots of my meals!
Meal #1: Fish Tacos
The first meal I prepared was “Tacos with Sole featuring an Avocado Crema and Crispy Cabbage Slaw”. There was a note on the box that recommended preparing that meal first, which makes sense since it was fish.
B LOVES tacos so he was so excited when he saw dinner that night. I hardly ever fix tacos at home, let alone fish tacos, so this was a nice change from my usual routine.
I initially wondered if 4 tacos with cabbage slaw would be enough for 2 people (especially for B) but it ended up being the perfect amount. I guess you don’t really need to eat an entire bowl of chips and salsa at the Mexican restaurants afterall
My only complaint about this meal was that I cooked it the same day of delivery and the avocado was not ripe yet. I can’t really fault Hello Fresh because avocados are tricky, but I probably should have cooked something else that first night and let the avocado sit out on the counter for a day or two prior to this meal.
Otherwise, I really enjoyed it and felt that it was very easy and simple to make.
Meal #2: Chicken
The second meal from Hello Fresh was “Sassy Soy Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Lime Peanut Sauce”. It was disappointing that B was working out of town this evening because I LOVED this meal and I know he would have loved it as well.
I felt like this meal was the most simple out of all of the meals, I think because there really wasn’t much “prep” outside of chopping the garlic and scallions. A funny thing is that I have never actually purchased scallions on my own so I appreciated being exposed to something new in the kitchen.
The peanut lime sauce was SO good!
Meal #3: Pork Chops
The final meal I prepared was “Sweet n’ Smoky Pork Chops with Sweet Potato Wedges and a Brussels Sprout Hash”.
I don’t love pork chops normally but this meal was so good that it was definitely my favorite meal out of all 3. B completely agreed.
I am never able to cook pork chops without drying them out. I think it’s from fearing that I won’t cook them well enough, so I end up overcooking them instead. I followed the Hello Fresh recipe to a T and they were cooked to perfection. I also loved how they included a shredded brussels sprouts recipe. Not only are brussels sprouts my favorite vegetable but they also cook so much faster when they are shredded. It’s funny how 1 simple change to a recipe can make a huge difference when you’re short on time.
Thoughts on Hello Fresh and meal delivery services
I cook a lot so I was interested to see what I would really think of the Hello Fresh meals. The verdict? I loved them! I purposely prepared the meals during the week during my busy schedule because I wanted to see how it would go to try to make them when I was coming home late and short on time. It was so, so nice to be able to pull a box out of the fridge and have everything cooking within 10-15 minutes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in that situation and realized I was missing an ingredient, forgot to thaw something, etc. and ended up 1) spending more money grabbing something to eat and 2) making a poor food choice because of the situation.
I also wanted to mention that the meals were very flavorful. I appreciated that through the recipes, they teach customers a few ways to add great tastes to foods without dousing them in salt and butter.
Who could benefit the most from a meal delivery service like Hello Fresh?
I’ve thought a lot about the cost vs. convenience of a meal delivery service because I wanted to continue to order meals for myself! Here are the scenarios when I think someone would really benefit from having ingredients delivered to your doorstep:
If you want to learn how to prepare simple meals at home. I often hear from clients that they don’t cook at home because they don’t know how, or they’ve had too many ruined dishes to ever feel like they could be good at cooking. Sometimes learning new cooking skills can be intimidating, and there are SO many recipes online that it’s hard to sift through them and figure out which ones have good/accurate instructions. I loved that the Hello Fresh meals came with detailed yet simple instructions complete with pictures. They also make it easier by sending you everything you need- no guessing about ingredients at the grocery store!
If you want to change things up! I cook a lot and still enjoyed the variety in all of these meals. Whether it was the seasonings, cooking methods or sides, I appreciated adding some diversity to my dinner plate. It inspired me to get out of my cooking rut and try new things in the future.
If you need help with portion control. I love making big batches of meals to have leftovers, but this does pose a challenge if you’re someone who is still working on portion control. It’s so easy to forget to listen to your body and go back for seconds when you’re not really hungry. The Hello Fresh meals did not seem like a lot of food at first glance but we ended up being completely satisfied after each meal. I think these would be a great tool for someone who is still learning to listen to their body to learn when they are feeling full.
If you like to cook but spend a lot of money eating out because cooking and meal planning take too much time. Whether you sign up to receive 3, 4 or 5 meals per week, each meal comes out to be about $20 total or $10 per person once you factor in shipping. This might seem like a lot for a home cooked meal with 2 servings and no leftovers. However, $20 for a meal together is much less expensive than dining out, which is what usually happens when you’re short on meal ideas and lack time to plan/prepare.
When I think you may not appreciate a service like Hello Fresh
Since I want to be completely honest in my review, I felt like it was important to include my thoughts about who may not really appreciate a meal delivery service:
Someone who is gone all the time. I think everything would have stayed fresh in the fridge for a little while, but someone who is gone every evening may not prepare the meals before something goes bad. This is just what happens when you cook with fresh ingredients (and it’s a good thing!). You could always put your subscription on hold if you want to try them out but know you have a trip coming up soon.
Someone who cooks every night and is used to making diverse meals. I do think if you cook a lot and don’t feel the need to incorporate new meals into your routine that you might think Hello Fresh is a little pricey. I think the time and effort it takes to plan meals and grocery shop is definitely factored into the worth of a service like this, but if you are already doing that part then you may not appreciate the value in the convenience of it all.
A Gift for You
If you’d like to try out Hello Fresh (which I think you should- you will love it!) then be sure to use the code FRESHFANSRD35 for $35 off of your first box. I will definitely be ordering a few more boxes for myself.
I’d love to hear from you!
Have you ever tried a meal delivery service? If so, what was your experience?
What challenges do you feel like prevent you from making meals at home?