Cooking stresses me out. The planning, shopping, and actual cooking… it takes forever… and by the time I’m done I generally don’t even want to eat anymore. Add in trying to eat healthier options and I knew something needed to change.
Three weeks ago, I saw HelloFresh’s Black Friday special where they were giving out a free breakfast item with new orders, and I figured why not give it a try. I’ve done other meal kit boxes and was underwhelmed with the portion sizes, but I thought that in the worst case scenario I would just buy some salad kits from Target to add to the meal.
Now that I’ve had a few weeks worth of boxes, I’m really happy I subscribed. I don’t feel as much pressure to plan (and it’s more fun), I don’t have to go to the grocery store as often, and the actual cooking is significantly easier and therefore less stressful.
Why I Started Using HelloFresh
You may or may not know that I started a business almost two years ago. It turns out that even though I absolutely love what I do, it takes infinitely more time and energy than I expected. Which means things that I was already struggling with started to fall by the wayside.
I get take out and fast food a lot because it is easier. I know it’s bad, but it’s better than nothing. Sometimes we feel optimistic and buy a bunch of food thinking we’re going to cook dinner… and a week later it gets thrown out because I was avoiding it.
It was stressing me out and I was feeling guilty for not feeling like I could cook the meal. So when I saw the HelloFresh ad, I figured this would not go any worse than what I was currently doing… (optimistic, I know lol)
I was pretty excited to get our first HelloFresh box. Remember that free breakfast item that they were promoting? I got some Belgian waffles and I wanted one.
I unpacked and everything looked alright. To be honest — I forgot to pick the meals. I picked out the waffles and then didn’t select anything else, so HelloFresh picked three meals for me. This is a plus for us, but it might be something you need to watch out for for yours. We got the Sweet Chili Beef & Green Bean bowls, the Citrus Pork Tacos, and the Onion Crunch Chicken. I made the Citrus Pork Tacos that night, and it was tasty! It wasn’t hard and the pre-portioned ingredients made things super simple.
I would love to tell you that we cooked all three of those meals in time, but we didn’t. We did not get to make the Onion Crunch Chicken. But in the weeks after the first order, we’ve made all three meals. The process has gotten really simple.
I hold up the available cards and ask my partner if he has a preference about what we cook for dinner. If he doesn’t care, I pull a card without looking and get the corresponding bag and meat out of the refrigerator. I pop in some headphones and listen to an audiobook (I’m listening to the Frozen Flame series by Paul Bennett right now) and cook at my own pace. It’s still a little more stressful for me than I would like — sometimes there are too many things going at once and I get a little flustered — but overall it is so much better than trying to cook without HelloFresh.
Benefits and Improvements
Needless to say, I am thrilled to actually be cooking most of the food that is in the refrigerator instead of throwing it away.
And our goal of eating healthier? That’s gotten easier too. We’re eating less takeout and fast food which is great, but we’re also able to select “Fit & Wholesome” options. There are options marked “Protein Smart” and “Calorie Smart” to make it easy to select healthier choices.
Most of our meals are “Fit & Wholesome,” and we’ve enjoyed them. We have done a few calorie heavy meals that are in the “Hall of Fame” category and those have been really good. Our favorite so far is Pub-Style Shepherd's Pie with White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes — something I NEVER would have attempted if I weren’t using HelloFresh.
Convenience and Time-Saving
In other news, I haven’t had to go for a big grocery trip since I started using HelloFresh. We ran into Target the other day for Almond milk, bread, eggs, and some vitamins, but that took no time at all.
That’s not to say we’re eating just three meals per week. It’s the holidays so we’re eating with family and leaving with leftovers often. I also have an Overnight Oats subscription for breakfast. Once we’re back to eating at home more frequently, we’ll probably need to evaluate what to do for the rest of our meals.
Challenges and Considerations
I don’t love that HelloFresh feels really expensive. At a little more than $11 per serving plus shipping, it is about the price of a fast food order but you have to cook it.
The thing is, you’re really paying for the convenience of not having to prepare in advance of the meal. For someone busy who doesn’t want to eat crap all the time, that is well worth it. I’m also currently on my signup discount.
One other note is that some dishes aren’t quite enough for my partner. It isn’t a super common issue, but there have been a few. However, he will typically eat a little of mine or make a small snack and is fine. If we were running into that problem regularly, we’d probably run to Trader Joe’s for some salad kits.
We’re enjoying our HelloFresh experience so far. It’s making my life easier, we’re wasting less, and we’re eating better. We just got our fourth box, and I’m actually looking forward to cooking it.
HelloFresh did not ask me to write this, but I do have an option in their dashboard to share some free boxes with you in exchange for some credit towards my next box. It looks like I can give away 3. If you decide to try HelloFresh, I would greatly appreciate it if you would use this link!