In the last 2 years, monthly subscription boxes have really become a hot trend. You can get the latest makeup, jewelry, outfits, workout gear and even snacks, delivered to your door every month without lifting a finger. Convenient and exciting, it’s like gifting yourself a box of surprises every month. Meal delivery services are right on trend. Most provide either weekly or bi-weekly “made for you” meals or pre-measured ingredients that you can simply assemble yourself following the recipe provided. When I first looked at pricing for these kinds of services, I immediately dismissed them as not worth it, because I like cooking (sometimes) and I figured they wouldn’t be as healthy as whatever I whipped up myself. I would only be paying for convenience and I didn’t think I needed to shell out the extra cash just to try it.
Luckily, I’ve got some awesome family members that gave me a Groupon for HelloFresh for Christmas ($35 for 3 meals for two – regularly $69). You can choose the Classic box (includes meat or fish) or the Vegetarian box. HelloFresh promises to deliver fresh ingredients to your door each week with chef-developed recipes that are approved by their in-house dietitian. Each recipe is intended to take 30 minutes or less to assemble. In an effort to be a better weekday vegetarian, I ordered the Vegetarian box (much to the chagrin of my significant other). I decided to delay the delivery to a busy week I knew I’d be happy to have dinner taken care of.
My first delivery came in a HUGE box with lots of packaging. It was super organized and fun to open, but I felt bad about all of the waste.
Everything got better from there though. The three recipes I received were:
Jamie Oliver’s Salsa Spaghetti with Black Olives & Fresh Basil
Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto with Feta and Pepitas
Southwestern Black Bean Chili with Cheddar and Sour Cream
The first recipe I went for was the salsa spaghetti because I was starving and it listed 15 minutes for the cook time. The time to make it was accurate and it tasted great. The portion sizes were perfect (even though I wanted to eat more). My only complaint is that it turned out much less saucy and more noodle-y than their example photo.
Next up: the risotto. This was my first time ever making risotto. For some reason I’d heard that risotto is time-consuming and complicated so I never attempted it. Risotto to me was akin to making your own pasta. Unnecessary, and you only need to to have it once a month anyway so just leave it to the professionals. I was wrong, it’s not hard at all it just requires some extra attention and stirring.
By the second recipe, I found the whole HelloFresh process to be super relaxing and a huge stress reliever. I didn’t have to think for one second about what I was going to come up with for dinner or what ingredients I needed to pick up. I loved that I didn’t have to chop up the butternut squash into teeny tiny little pieces- it was already done. I didn’t have to peel the garlic. Those little things made me super happy and made cooking fun again, not just a chore. It wasn’t like the normal head-home-from the office, ugh, I have to cook again feeling. I was excited to open the box and explore a new recipe. I turned on a podcast (The Tim Ferriss Show) and actually relaxed while risotto-ing. This one turned out much more like the photo:
My last meal was Southwestern Black Bean Chili with Sour Cream. It was quick and easy to put together and tasted great.
The spaghetti from the first night was my overall favorite. Even though it was such a simple recipe, the quality of ingredients really made the dish. The tomatoes were perfectly ripe, the garlic was spicy, the feta was strong,
Pros for HelloFresh:
I got to try new, healthy recipes that I may not have picked out myself. I made risotto for the first time.
It’s convenient. You don’t have to pick recipes or go get ingredients.
It’s fun. It feels like you’re getting a gift when the box shows up at your door.
The cost. You could make the same meals yourself for cheaper if you took the time to gather the ingredients.
Environmental impact. There is a lot of things packaging to throw away/recycle each time you get a delivery.
Am I going to keep my subscription? Yes. The best thing about HelloFresh is that you can pause your deliveries for as long as you want. Just because I got a box this week doesn’t mean I need to get one next week. Maybe I’m going out of town or maybe I just don’t like the meals they are offering that week. I’m going to perpetually pause my meals except for weeks when I’m really slammed and shopping/cooking isn’t a priority. This is going to make having a healthy meal at home really easy during those weeks, as well as a great way to wind down after a long day. If you want to try HelloFresh yourself you can use my “refer a friend” code for $40 off: NF3LB3
Check back in next month for my review of Blue Apron where I’ll compare the two.