So many of my Health Coaching clients tell me that they don’t cook healthy meals at home because they hate grocery shopping in general, can’t figure out how to buy the many ingredients needed for a recipe without wasting food, or aren’t great chefs and don’t like complicated recipes. Of course, I give them tips, recipes, and even grocery shop for some of my local clients, but I know these issues still plague so many others.
The USDA says that about 32% of American food consumption is from foods prepared out of the home (and I would imagine the data is skewed heavily on either end). What’s more – people eat either more food, higher calorie food, or both when eating away from home. It’s far easier to control what goes into your meal when you’re cooking at home, temptation to order less-healthy options is limited, and portions tend to be smaller at home, as well. For all these reasons, I strongly encourage my clients to cook at home when they can – and now, I have an option that could potentially make this easier for some.
Hello Fresh Review
I first read about Hello Fresh when Kath from KathEats did a review a few weeks ago. I reached out to the company to see if I could try the product for myself (they sent me this box free of charge, but all opinions are always my own).
What Hello Fresh Offers
Hello Fresh is a subscription-based recipe ingredient delivery service, but allows customers to skip any weeks they don’t need, and doesn’t require a minimum number of orders. Each week, customers receive a box with fresh ingredients for delicious and healthy meals. They select high-quality ingredients and deliver on Wednesdays straight to your doorstep. They offer a Veggie Box or a Classic / Omnivore Box, and meals are around $10 per serving ($9.75 for Veggie meals and $10.75 for Classic meals). You can choose to get 2 servings per meal or 4 servings per meal, and you even get a sneak preview of the meals by email before they arrive!
My Experience with Hello Fresh
I always like to try things out myself before recommending them to clients (or to you!), and I was thrilled when the box first arrived. I got to try three meals.
First, I made the Miso Glazed Cod with Broccoli and Ginger Rice. I’m generally not too creative when cooking fish at home, and the miso spice blend that Hello Fresh included was delicious. This was the easiest recipe, and came together in about 30 minutes. There was too much rice for my personal preference (I ended up about half of the allotted amount and added in some asparagus to supplement), but it made great leftovers.
Second, I tried the Steak Salad with Grilled Peaches and Feta. I made this using a grill pan on the stove, and it also took about 30 minutes. I especially loved the flavorful dressing on this salad – a mix of chives, shallot, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. It came together so well with the freshness of the basil, sweetness of the peaches, and heartiness of the steak. I don’t eat red meat all that often, but I really enjoyed this light way to enjoy it. Kevin also really enjoyed this one!
Finally, I tried the Crispy Spiced Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes. I don’t usually bread my chicken, but I liked this mixture of panko, garlic, and chili powder – it made a flavorful topping without making the dish too heavy. This ended up being a great amount for two people – I gave Kevin a bit more than half of the chicken and sweet potato, and took a bit more of the salad (and also supplemented with more veggies!). This one took about 45 minutes, but part of that may be that Kevin and I were cooking together and talking. We really enjoyed the meal, and would definitely make it again!
My Overall Impressions
Overall, I loved Hello Fresh for the convenience, balanced and healthy meals, easy-to-follow recipes, and the element of surprise and excitement for cooking at home.
I would definitely recommend it to clients willing to pay a bit more for the convenience of cooking healthily at home.
Although these are all minor suggestions, I do have a few thoughts on how Hello Fresh could improve.
- I wish there was expected time for each step (and overall) included on the instructions.
- I would love to eliminate a bit of the packaging, as there was a lot of plastic used. Still, I imagine the overall waste from using this service is far less than those who don’t carefully plan their grocery shopping! Hello Fresh estimates that 40% of regularly purchased food is wasted through cooking or spoiling.
- I would love to be able to select meals from a set of choices, rather than being surprised by the meals. Although I really enjoyed my 3 meals, some people who are especially picky might not enjoy pre-selected meals.
- Hello Fresh prides itself on the quality of its ingredients, and I trust the brand, but I wasn’t sure whether the produce was organic, and the fish and steak were both unlabeled as well. The chicken was humane, all-natural, and grown without antibiotics.
I was very impressed by Hello Fresh, but I’m actually one of those rare people who loves grocery shopping, so I plan to continue to shop for myself. However, I can definitely see myself ordering from Hello Fresh if I’m returning home from out of town, have an especially busy week, or otherwise need some extra help.
Get $20 off your order!
If you want to order from Hello Fresh, I have a discount code for $20 off your first order!
So tell me in the comments … Have you ever used a meal-delivery or ingredient-delivery service? What did you think? Do you usually cook at home or eat out?
Megan, I have not used one of these services but was thinking about trying http://www.plated.com. Evidently you can choose your meals that are delivered and still have the option to only do the weeks you need the service. I believe they offer 9 choices each week. Let me know if you try it before I do! It’s sounding like a great option for just my husband and I.
I use Hello Fresh weekly, and I am able to pick my meals. They offer 5, you pick 3. Maybe because you were sent a complimentary package you were not able to choose your meals? I love the fact that i do not have to shop if Hello Fresh is coming. So far we have really enjoyed all the meals and will continue to choose our 3 meals each week.
Thank you for adding that in, Barbara! I bet you’re right that I didn’t choose because I got it complimentary. Looks like next time I use the service, I’ll get to choose!
I’m a very picky vegetarian so I always worry about selection.
I understand that, Stefanie! Take a look through some of the vegetarian meals … they look pretty good to me! http://www.hellofresh.com/food-boxes/detail?category=veggie_box
thanks for the informative post.. never heard of hello fresh before – definitely something i will be looking into!
I hope you enjoy the service, Thalia!
My dad did something like this for me right after I started working. I’m pretty sure he thought I would eat cereal every night with out it…which probably wasn’t too far off. It was really convenient and super easy. Everything came flash frozen tho. Your picture looks like everything is super fresh. Was the meat ever frozen? Love reading your reviews!
Your dad is just too considerate! I’ll let him continue to think I don’t get enough fruit so I keep getting that delicious Harry and David’s! No – the meat is never frozen. They put freezer packs in the box with it to keep it cold, but it’s not frozen. And yes – the ingredients were very fresh! The chicken ingredients were photographed 4 days after I actually got the box, and it was still very fresh!
I’ve never used one of these services but I could definitely see how it would be beneficial to people who don’t have time to plan meals or grocery shop on their own, or just don’t like to do it! I don’t mind grocery shopping except when its crowded (so I try to go early in the morning). Sometimes I wish my grocery store delivered! (They have an online shopping service for a $5 charge but we still have to pick them up). Part of me would like to have meals planned and be surprised- it would also force me to try new things! but I would still be nervous because I am a bit of a picky eater in some ways.
Interesting idea to have a $5 fee for pick-up! I used grocery delivery a few times when it was super snowy in Chicago (I walked a mile to the grocery store, which was great normally, but not so great if it’s 20 below zero!). And yes – I agree about the pluses and minuses of trying new things!