Not long ago a friend and I were discussing meal delivery services–you know, where a box of food, along with recipes, arrives on your doorstep each week? She’s had one of these services (not Hello Fresh) for nearly a year and raves about it. Even so, I had reservations. Would it cost too much? Would it end up being more of a hassle than a help? Would we like the food? So when Hello Fresh offered to let me try out their meal service in exchange for an honest review, I jumped at the chance.
how does it work?
Hello Fresh allows you the option of receiving three, four or five meals per week–whatever works best for your family. Next, you choose whether you want meals for two people or four people. Dave and I chose to receive the four-person meal option because we love to entertain. (Honestly, we could have done the two-person option and still had plenty to share with one or two guests, as the portions are very generous.)
You can select from classic, vegetarian, or family style meals. With the classic and family style meals you also get to choose from a menu of seasonal recipes, curated by chefs.
Meals generally cost between $8.75 and $11.50 per person, depending on which options you choose. And shipping is free.
Then, once a week, an insulated cardboard box is delivered to your doorstep containing all of the necessary ingredients for your meals–other than salt and pepper, olive oil, and butter. (The photo below shows half of the amount of food we received for one of our meals– there was too much to fit all of it into one photograph.)
You also receive a recipe card for each meal with easy step-by-step cooking instructions and photos.
Each meal takes about 45 minutes to prepare. And there will be chopping. Thankfully, I have my handy veggie chopper, which is a time and mascara saver when it comes to onions. (It’s great for tomatoes, too.)
The meal options change every week, but to give you an idea of the kind of choices offered, the three meals we chose were:
Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Skewers with Bulgur Wheat Salad & Lemony Yogurt
Smoky Beef and Poblano Chili with Kidney Beans, Cheddar Cheese, and Sour Cream
Dave and I both thought this recipe tasted a lot like my Super Bowl Chili. And this was the only night I made my own side dish–cornbread. Because chili isn’t chili without cornbread.
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Potato Cauliflower Mash and Caramelized Apple Pan Sauce
Our favorite meal by far was the pork tenderloin. The leftovers were amazing, too. And now that I have the recipe, this meal will be a part of our regular dinner rotation.
While the pork was our favorite, all three of the meals were delicious. And, as I said, the portions were very generous, so we had leftovers after every meal.
my thoughts on hello fresh
Cost: As far as the cost goes, yes, you can probably shop and make meals for less than what you will pay for a meal delivery service. However, if you consider the cost of last-minute takeout meals and the amount of time you spend on meal planning and shopping–not to mention all of the “extras” that end up in your cart when shopping, I think you could save some money–or at least come out even–using Hello Fresh. Plus, you don’t need to buy jars and jars of spices and condiments that get used once and then languish in the back of your cupboard or fridge until you finally toss them 3 years later. (Or is that just me?)
Meal Planning/Convenience: Let’s be honest. Meal planning is a drag. There are nights when I can’t think of ONE THING to make. That’s when we hop in the car and head to Chipotle. And for those of you with young families? I can see how this could seriously change your life. No more stressing out about what to cook every night equals happier moms and dads and kids.
Freshness/Nutrition: Hello Fresh food is true to its name–everything we received was super fresh. The fruits and vegetables were bright and pretty and the spices were fragrant. All of the meals were wholesome with a good balance of healthy carbs, fat, and protein. Also, the meats we received were humanely raised, which is super important to me.
Learning New Techniques and Expanding your Repertoire: Having meals delivered allows you to try out new foods and learn new cooking techniques and ways of preparing food that will stay with you forever.
Flexibility: There are no contracts with Hello Fresh, and you can cancel at any time. You can also skip weeks whenever you’d like. You might only want to take delivery during busy times or those weeks when meal planning and shopping are just too much. A limited subscription would also make a great gift for newlyweds.
Cons: Earlier, I mentioned the chopping. In addition to that, please know there is real cooking involved here, so if you don’t like to cook, meal delivery might not be for you. And despite the convenience, I also wouldn’t count on it saving you a lot of time in the kitchen– unless you already spend 45 minutes or so making dinner. That said, if you’d like to learn how to prepare meals from scratch, this would be a great way to gain some valuable cooking skills.
Overall, I found the entire Hello Fresh experience enjoyable, tasty, and surprisingly fun. Dave and I both loved getting out of our meal rut and trying new dishes.
If you’ve been on the fence about meal delivery service, I encourage you to give it a try. Honestly, I can’t think of a better gift you could give yourself and your family than relaxed, wholesome meals at home!
And, with the savings they’re offering now, it might be a good time to see if Hello Fresh meal delivery is right for you.
The views expressed in this review are my own, and this review was not sponsored or paid for in any way. However, the service did provide products for review purposes.