Parents everywhere are excited and a little overwhelmed as they get back into the school year routine. Between open houses, sports tryouts and the typical morning rush, what to have for dinner can be an afterthought. Wouldn’t it be great if healthy, fresh ingredients and clear recipes arrived at your door?
That’s where a meal delivery service, like HelloFresh, can come into play.
My good friend introduced me to this little luxury, and I’ve been pretty impressed with the freshness and quality of the ingredients. The recipes can make weeknight meals easier because you don’t have to come up with the idea and purchase the various ingredients. Even cooks like me will be impressed with the quality and variety that HelloFresh offers its clients.
Here’s how it works: you sign up and get your first box free. That box includes all the ingredients for three meals that feed two people. The box is well packed, and keeps everything cold. Each meal has a clearly written recipe, with pictures and nutritional values, that provides precise cooking instructions.
After your first free box, then you’re charged weekly for whatever amount you choose. The options feed either two or four people. You can easily put a week on hold (as long as you do so a week and a half before delivery) so that you don’t have food arriving when you’re on vacation or during a week that you don’t need the service.
You can also pick your meals from different options the week before your delivery. This ensures that each box is perfect for your family. If you and your family don’t eat fish or need vegetarian options, then you can customize the box to fit your needs.
I’ve been most impressed with the types of recipes (great when you’re stuck in a cooking rut) and with the quality of the ingredients. HelloFresh has obviously partnered with some good brands and the mini condiments are not only tasty but also adorable.
There are other similar services out there like Blue Apron and Plated. I’ve only tried HelloFresh, and was honestly surprised that I liked it at all. As someone who enjoys cooking, I didn’t think I would need a service that spoon fed me ideas, recipes and ingredients. But I have to admit that some weeks my meals are less than inspired, and not having to plan for every night has its benefits.
Here are my overall findings. The pros: interesting meals, clearly written recipes containing all the nutritional information, and most recipes seem to stay between 400 and 600 calories per serving. Meals usually only require one pan for cooking, and the fresh ingredients get delivered to your home. The cons: it’s not cheap ($69/week for three meals feeding two people). Most recipes require a decent amount of prep-work for a weeknight meal, and you can’t choose your delivery day.
Singles, young couples, empty nesters and families with a mix of vegetarians and meat eaters would truly benefit from something like HelloFresh. You will have to do some of the work, mostly chopping and cooking, but if you can prep your food before work or during a child’s nap, then you can have a delicious and healthy meal within 30 to 40 minutes that evening. Most recipes are made in one pan, which makes clean up a breeze.
So the next time you’re looking ahead on the calendar and see an upcoming crazy week, give a meal delivery service like HelloFresh, Blue Apron or Plated a try. You’ll be surprised at the inspired and delicious recipes you’ll put on the table.