There’s no denying it, subscription services are hot right now. From make-up subscriptions like Birchbox and Ipsy to clothing subscriptions like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, it seems that just about any product can be pre-paid by you/hand-chosen by someone else these days. This is why it came as no surprise when meal-kit services such as HelloFresh hit the ground running over the past year, promising to deliver fresh ingredients to your door with pre-chosen meals that can be made in thirty minutes or less. No meal planning, no grocery shopping… Sounds like a dream, am I right?
Well, it’s not a dream. It’s real life, and it’s real awesome. If you’ve been toying with the idea of trying one of these services, let me tell you about my experience with HelloFresh.
Persian Spiced Cauliflower Quinoa Bowl
How much it costs: This is always the first question people ask me when I rave about HelloFresh, and the answer is $60/week for 3 unique 2-serving meals. Before joining, I was spending nearly $800 a month on groceries/eating out for me and my toddler alone due to poor meal planning. Not having a schedule of what I’d eat for dinner each night typically resulted in fresh produce spoiling in my fridge before I ever used it, last minute trips to restaurants when we couldn’t decide what to cook, and way overpriced grocery store trips when we could decide what to cook but needed excessive amounts of ingredients for the recipe. Now, I spend $240 a month on HelloFresh for 6 dinners a week, $150 a month on groceries for breakfasts/lunches/toddler meals, and roughly $100 a month on eating out. That’s a total of just under $500 a month… meaning HelloFresh has singlehandedly put $300 a month back into my pocket!
Cannellini Bean Panzanella
Why it made sense for me: My household is comprised of a vegetarian who tries to eat balanced, vegetable-heavy meals (myself), a die-hard carnivore who includes meat in every dish (Hunter), a toddler who is primarily fueled by macaroni and cheese (Avery), and an infant who doesn’t eat solids yet (Alexandra “AC”). Needless to say, meal planning/dinner time used to be a huge hassle trying to accommodate our different palates. Not anymore. Now I know what I’m having for dinner every night. I know it’s going to be balanced, and I know it will contain fresh produce (no more giant-plate-of-spaghetti night like we used to default to). It is also really helping me through operation-pre-baby-body, because I track my nutritional intake on MyFitnessPal, and HelloFresh includes the nutritional facts for all meals on their website.
How it works: If you go with their classic plan (perfect for those who do indulge in meat products), each week you have the opportunity to choose your 3 meals out of 8 different meal options. If you go with their veggie plan (which is what I have), you do not have the option to choose your meals at this time, but I am an incredibly picky eater and can tell you that I’ve fallen in love with every single dish they’ve sent me so far. Nothing has been a flop. The following week, your meals will arrive at your door on the day of your choice. The ingredients for each meal come individually packed in 3 brown paper bags, which are shipped in one insulated box with a large ice pack to keep everything cool. You move the 3 brown paper bags from the box to your fridge, where they will wait to be pulled when you are ready to cook! Each meal comes with a bright, aesthetically-pleasing, easy to read, step-by-step instruction guide on how to cook your meal. Then you get cookin’!
Za’atar-Crusted Grilling Cheese
How I use it: Because I use the subscription for myself and do not split the meals with Hunter, I cook Monday/Wednesday/Friday and eat the second portion leftovers on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday. This also means I’m only cooking 3 days a week! Now that he’s seen how successful it’s been for me, we are about to sign Hunter up for the classic plan so that we can cook together and never have to worry about meal planning again.
Why I’m most impressed: So far, the ingredients are always fresh. Always. It’s almost kind of a miracle… how is it that HelloFresh can time my avocado to reach peak ripeness on the day that I cook with it? I can’t figure it out. It’s incredible.
Patatas Bravas and Crispy Artichoke
Are you curious?: If you feel like this is something that would work for you or your family, give it a try! I have a coupon code that will get you your first week for just $20. That breaks down to 6 meals for $3 each! If you don’t like it, there’s no obligation and you can cancel before the following week drafts. If you love it but know you are going out of town on a Summer vaca sometime soon, you can skip an unlimited number of individual weeks as well! So give it a shot, and see if it’s for you… then come back and tell me how much you love it.
My code: KELSEYLS