You’ve probably heard about the box meal delivery services everyone is trying out. You might think that a service like this is the answer to all of your meal time woes. Read on for a review of hellofresh from a skeptic to see what all the buzz is about.
I teased this post way back in September right before my podcast break, so I’m sorry to keep you waiting.
But I’m here with a hellofresh review for ya’ll!
…and it’s a real hellofresh review (as in I am in no way affiliated with hellofresh and I bought my own full-price box.
So what did I think of hellofresh?
In this episode I’ll dig first into what exactly this service is, the pros of this service, next to the cons, and then I’ll do a little review of the 3 recipes that we tried and let you know exactly what we thought.
Last, we’ll dig into why (even though I actually really enjoyed this service) I don’t recommend it for the long-term AND who I think this service is really good for.
Alright, so what is hellofresh?
You’ve probably heard of all of these box meal delivery services as they’ve really grown in popularity recently.
In fact, even many grocery stores are offering “boxes” of their own to simplify the dinnertime process.
The idea behind these companies is that they provide recipes and ingredients for meals conveniently in a box that’s delivered to your door so you don’t have to meal plan or grocery shop, which I know for many of you is a huge win!
You pay for the service, choose your meals, and about a week later you’ll receive your first box.
The box is lined with materials that make it essentially a cooler so if you don’t get to it immediately the food is still cold when you open it (although you’ll want to aim to be home when the box is delivered for food safety purposes!
Is hellofresh worth it?
You’ve heard me say time and time again that you don’t NEED someone to do your meal planning for you, and that you can absolutely simplify meal planning and make it do-able for your and your family.
So…I feel like I am kind of eating my words here a little bit when I say, I actually really loved this service and I will probably use it again in the future.
Pros of hellofresh
- Super organized! There are super easy to follow recipe cards included in the box and each recipe is divided into it’s own paper bag so when it’s dinnertime you grab your card and grab your recipe and you’re on your way. The meat is raw so if you aren’t going to make your meals quickly you should freezer your meat which does require that you remember to thaw the meat, but other than that you really don’t have to think of anything to prepare.
- Balanced and healthy. I was impressed that each of the meals included vegetables and used high quality ingredients that I was happy to serve my family.
- Delicious! I would have eaten any of the meals that we made again.
- Truly took my mind off of meal prep and cooking. I didn’t think about dinner time until it was time to cook
- Fast and easy- None of the meals took more than about 40 minutes to make and the methods were simple and required minimal kitchen equipment.
Cons of hellofresh
- Cost. It’s expensive. It’s honestly hard to call this a “con” because I actually don’t think it’s overpriced, they have done a lot of work formatting recipes, packaging ingredients, and delivering them to your door. So for what it is, I actually think the price is just right. BUT for our family, it would be too much to spend on a weekly basis.
- Packaging- Again, I can’t think of anything they could do to improve this but there is a lot of waste when it comes to the packaging of your own box. Where every ingredient is only provided in the amount you need there’s lots of plastic, and the huge cooler box is also a lot of packaging to waste. They have done a great job making much of their packaging recycleable, but it just kind of comes with the territory of this kind of service.
- Subscription-based model. I REALLY dislike subscription based models, and especially for this type of service it drives me crazy. When you sign up you have to put in your credit card and pay for the service before you can even browse what dishes are available. I really didn’t like this because it was a big commitment to make if none of the dishes were going to work well for our family. After I ordered I had to immediately cancel the subscription so I didn’t receive them week after week. Even though I cancelled right after I ordered they said it was too late to cancel the first week’s order which I don’t love. It worked out fine for me, because I knew I wanted to try it out, but if someone signed up and realized they didn’t like any of the recipe options they would be forced to get one week’s box which I think is frustrating. I would HIGHLY recommend a service like this with a different sales model that people could use at given points in their lives when things are busier than usual or they are in need of a little help in the kitchen because of what’s going on in their lives.
Hellofresh recipes review
In my box I chose Juicy Lucy Burgers with potato Wedges, Tuscan pork sausage and pepper spaghetti, and the spicy maple chicken with sweet potatoes and green beans.
Juicy Lucy Burgers with Tomato and Onion Jam and Potato Wedges
The Juicy Lucy Burgers were very good and the tomato and onion jam was unique and delicious (while being very fast and simple to make ).
The recipe had us put cheese inside our burgers which wasn’t our favorite and we’d probably skip that the next time and the potato wedges were tasty. Of any of the recipes I’d say this one was the least balanced and I would have liked to have another veggie side in addition to the potato wedges but overall it was tasty!
Tuscan Pork Sausage and Pepper Spaghetti
The tuscan pork sausage and pepper spaghetti was very good but it had quite a kick to it. I cut down on the spice knowing I had kids and it was still a little spicy for them. I’m not sure I would have included this recipe in the family-friendly category because of the spice level (which is the category we ordered from). I don’t love pasta so I asked my brother-in-law who also ate it what he thought and he said it was definitely better than your average spaghetti. So overall, it’s veggie heavy and yummy.
Spicy Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans
The last one was the spicy maple chicken with sweet potatoes and green beans. I’d say this was my favorite dish of the bunch, and it reminded me of a nice sunday dinner. The chicken was most and crisp on the outside and I liked their method for breading and baking which I had never used before. This one was a winner!
Do I recommend hellofresh?
So even though I LOVED hellofresh, the cost and packaging waste is enough for me not to want to do it every single week.
I do love learning from them though and thinking about how I can implement things into my own cooking that will make it just as simple as hellofresh meals.
How to make your own meal plan as simple as hellofresh:
So how can you do that?
Well for one you can look for weeknight meals that only take 30 minutes. I like to call this minimizing and simplifying in the kitchen. If your favorites take too long, make them on the weekend or times when you have more time. Don’t worry that your meals aren’t exactly what you thought they would be, if you can make them without stress, that’s more important.
I also learned how important it is to print your recipes. Your phone is a huge productivity trap. Print out your recipe and put your phone away while you cook and see how much better things are!
Repeat your recipes! You can’t get good at something without practice. Even hellofresh has a rotation of recipes, they aren’t doing something new every single time. Learn from that!
So when is hellofresh a good thing? I highly recommend this to people moving, people who have just had a baby and need other family members to help cook for awhile, or anyone who needs a break or some new ideas to get them out of a food rut. It’s a great service and well-done, just not something I’d do every week!
Want more tips for simplifying mealtime?
Try this episode of the podcast about simple ways you can start meal prepping!
I hope you found this helpful, let me know if you try this service out or if there are any other companies/services you want me to review in the future!
Happy planning everyone!