Y’all we’re millennials, we’re busy. If you’re anything like me, you are trying your best at this “adulting” thing. It’s a balancing act! Trying to maintain relationships with friends, develop an actual career, manage finances (or lack thereof), walk the dog (or cat, no judgment), clean the apartment, and still shower three times a week (just me, okay) is not easy. If I can find a “life hack” to simplify the chaos I try it! Enter Hello Fresh.
Confession time, I hate going to the grocery store. I love meal planning, but making the trip out to the grocery store is a hassle. Somehow, I always seem to forget that one key ingredient and end up running back out to the store in rush hour traffic–first world problems, I know.
First World Problems … I know
I can make certain dishes really really well so I tend to make the same 5 things over and over again and find myself in a recipe rut on a regular basis. Usually, this ends with me eating out every night of the week and gaining 5lbs (thank you, Chipotle). What makes cooking at home so difficult is often times to make something more than spaghetti or tacos I’m going to have to buy a whole bunch of expensive ingredients that I’m going to use a tablespoon of before they go bad.
My Honest Hello Fresh Review
In less you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of meal delivery services. I’m not talking Chinese or Jimmy John’s, but fresh ingredients for a home cooked meal delivered (on ice) to your front door.
Each one offers something a little different. The reason I chose to try Hello Fresh is that they promised “hassle- free meals in 30 minutes or less”. That 30-minute or less part sealed the deal. I’m not looking to be Gordon Ramsey, I’m more of a Rachel Ray, Pioneer Woman kind of girl. Simple ingredients, simple recipe, yummy in the tummy.
This is my honest (no pay for play) review of my first paid for Hello Fresh box!
Picking Out The Right Box
To place my first order I set-up an account online and chose between the Classic, Veggie, or Family plan. A classic box contains meals intended for 2 people to share, the Veggie box is for our vegetarian friends, and the family box is for a family of 4. You can also choose if you want 3, 4, or 5 meals in a box. I also indicated that I was interested in seafood free options. If you have an allergy or strong aversion to seafood like I do this is good news!
For my single person self who still wants to be able to eat out with friends a couple of times a week, I chose the 3 meal classic box which has two portions of each meal inside. I figured that gives me flexibility and lunch and dinner for at least 3 days in the week.
Choose Your Favorite Meals
You’ll notice that within your 8 meal choices for the week one of them is a breakfast option. At first, I thought this was weird, but then I looked down at my egg beaters and turkey bacon breakfast and thought, yup, maybe I can afford to shake things up a bit. Each week they also have one “premium” meal which costs slightly more and is usually a steak or seafood dish. I haven’t done this yet, but it looks so stinking good I am tempted!
I loved how each of the 8 meals looked like something I would actually eat. Chicken and veggies, a burger and salad, pasta dish or rice bowl, all things I would consider “normal”. They were normal meals with flavorful ingredients like aioli sauces, sauteed veggies, etc. Meaning, this is something I could make on a regular basis adding to my lackluster rotation of meals.
Once I selected my meals for the week I chose my delivery date. You can even specify a time to deliver if you needed. I chose Mondays since that would give me the best chance at eating healthy that week. Plus, I can fix up a meal and enjoy it with friends while watching the Bachelor!
Dinner on the Doorstep
The box was right on my doorstep as I pulled in from work on Monday. I was worried the 90-degree Alabama heat might have spoiled the food, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well refrigerated it was.
Once I opened my box I first noticed the whole cardboard box is insulated. At the top was a nutrition chart of all of the meals and exactly how many calories each meal contained. Below that was a heavy duty recipe card for each meal detailing exactly what to do and the ingredients you’ll be using.
As you open the box you see that each meal’s ingredients are in a labeled brown bags. This made it easy to store in the refrigerator and not worry about mixing things up. The ingredients all looked incredibly fresh and were individually labeled inside of the bag. Many of the ingredients were Hello Fresh’s own line of foods.
Under the brown bags, there is a frozen pack that revealed my meat for the week. It was nice and cold and the gel cooling pack had hardly melted –literally shocking. I actually kept my ice pack to use to keep things cool for picnics.
Just Call Me Head Chef
For my box, I selected the Juicy Lucy Burger with tomato-onion jam and arugula salad, the very teriyaki pork tenderloin with basmati rice and asparagus, and the herbed dijon chicken breast with zucchini and red potatoes. Mouth watering yet?
I decided to make the Juicy Lucy Burger first! On account of YUM! What was nice was the ingredients were in perfectly portioned containers, ready for me to use. How cute is that jar of ketchup?
The instructions were easy to follow for the most part. I did get a little confused when making the salad dressing because I thought it might have been something for the burger. Also, I didn’t’ realize that mayo was used to make the balsamic dressing, but hey, I learned something new!
The instruction card did tell me to provide a couple of things that are not in the box like a tsp of sugar, 2 tbs of olive oil, salt and pepper. Both of which I had plenty of so that wasn’t a problem, but if you don’t keep those types of everyday things in stock you might run into a problem.
Y’all, this burger was freaking delicious! How could it not be? The center of the burger is ooey-gooey cheese! The tomato-onion jam was ah-maz-ing and the toasted bread was perfection. While it freaked me out that you use mayo to make the baslamic dressing for the arugula salad it was yummy and helped me feel less guilty about the cheese center burger I just inhaled!
What’s nice is I can keep this recipe card close by to make it anytime I want. I can also go online and see the recipes for all of the other Hello Fresh meals. So even if I skip a week of meals I can still get a new recipe to try out!
For $59.95 a week I squeezed out 6-8 healthy, fresh meals. That brings my grocery cost down to less than $10 per meal. Currently, I spend at least that much eating out at Chipotle! I am happy to report that Hello Fresh actually fits into my food budget. While I don’t like spending $60 on anything, if I add up what I spend eating out or on groceries, I found I am saving big bucks by just using Hello Fresh.
Because my schedule is unpredictable I can’t get a delivery every week, but it is simple enough to “skip” a week or two or five until my schedule allows for another delivery. Because you cannot “pause” your delivery it requires you to skip each week individually. I get why they do this, but it’s a little annoying to have to remember to skip it or else you will get a delivery.
If you are interested in trying out Hello Fresh you can use my referral code and get $40 off your first box! Yay! Talk about cheap groceries!
PRO –CON– PRO
- Easy to make! Really does take 30-minutes or less
- Healthy fresh ingredients
- Cost effective
- Can squeeze additional portions out of meals
- Everything is labeled!
- Keepsake recipe card with instructions
- Everything is recyclable
- Well insulated
- Easy online ordering process
- Great date night activity!
- Easy to skip a week online
- Plenty of options week-to-week to choose from
- Flexible delivery date & time
- The Hello Fresh App makes it convenient to see the week’s meals
- Skipping weekly instead of pausing is a little annoying
- Instructions sometimes weren’t clear as to what part of recipe you were working on
- Meat packaging slightly leaked
- Not a lot of gluten free options
- Most meals 700-800 calories per serving; would like to see some lower calorie options
- Web site makes it a little unclear how to select your meals beyond pre-selected ones
- Portions may be small for men
I am on the lookout for more Hello Fresh meals to make! Comment and let me know which ones’ you’ve like or any other weekly recipes I need to add to my rotation!