If you had asked me a few months ago if my family ever ate fish, or sweet potatoes, or even roasted veggies with any type of consistency or enthusiasm, I would have laughed.
My kids would choose macaroni and cheese for every meal if allowed, and my husband, Matt, would eat steak or pork. I am Team Pasta and Dairy. We do consume a large quantity of fruit and chicken, but while the other members of my household adore carrots and eat bags and bags of them weekly (weirdos), we admittedly don’t add many veggies into our diet.
So when a friend asked me if I wanted to try Hello Fresh, I hesitated. What would be the point, really, if we just trashed the meals? There was no way anyone under my roof would consume anything in the sample menu plan I perused.
Nevertheless, I had another friend who raved about her meal subscription services and I was intrigued, so I bit. (Literally! Haha!)
The first box arrived on the doorstep filled with ingredients for three meals, everything divided out and labeled so we knew what to grab when it was time to cook, and recipe cards were included. We began to prep for our first meal: pistachio-crusted chicken with quinoa and chopped cucumber–jalapeno salad. The only thing in that recipe title I knew my crew would eat was chicken, and with a pistachio coating, I wasn’t sure that would even fly (not literally).
I followed the step-by-step directions and was surprised at not only how quickly I threw dinner together, but also at the generous portion sizes. I was simultaneously making a pot of mac and cheese for my kids, but we had enough of the chicken and quinoa dinner for everyone.
And, shock of all shocks, every last one of us loved the meal (although I’m anti-jalapeno, so we omitted that ingredient for everyone but Matt). Last week, my daughter asked me if I could make that chicken again, which we tried three months ago.
My son likes to watch me chop tomatillos and squash. I don’t typically consume tomatillos and squash. Who knew such a thing was edible?
And so we continued to subscribe to Hello Fresh and also Blue Apron, skipping weeks when they didn’t suit us for whatever reason. Here’s why we’ve loved the boxes:
1. We were in a major food rut, and it wasn’t always a healthy one. Now, instead of plain old taco Tuesday, we have sesame beef tacos with quick-pickled veggies and spicy crema. Instead of tired steak and fries, we have steak with a mint chive dressing and veggie succotash. It’s like I’ve stepped into an episode of Chopped with some of these titles! We’re cooking with mirin and sesame oil and sweet potatoes and tomatillos, jasmine rice and polenta, and it is delicious.
2. Speaking of health, we are eating better in every way. My husband came home from the store today with a haul of veggies, fruit, couscous, quinoa, farro, fresh herbs, and fish (our kids NEVER ate fish before we tried this – and now we eat it at least once per week and love it). Although udon noodles may be my favorite thing discovered so far and I don’t know if they are super healthy or not.
3. As aforementioned, portion sizes are generous. They are meant for two people, but we usually have enough to feed our crew of four (the baby isn’t into these deliveries just yet). We sometimes stock extra protein to cook just to be sure we have enough for everyone, but that is the only way we have leftovers.
4. I hate meal planning. I hate plotting what to make, what ingredients I need, shopping for ingredients with three kids along for the ride, the entire thing. Meal planning for half of my week (we already have a “fend for yourself” or breakfast for dinner night once per week) is done by opening an app, choosing what looks best, and clicking it. Done-zo.
5. This one was really unexpected: we have saved money. We were eating at restaurants maybe twice per month, and have instead allocated that money to our subscription boxes. Our store trips are much less frequent because again, half of our dinners for the week are already planned for us, and now our purchases are much more streamlined. We have saved all of the recipe cards for meals we have liked and we buy the ingredients we need to recreate them. Because meal planning is now much simpler and fresher, we aren’t making mindless trips for fast food at the last minute or buying filler foods to snack on while we try to figure out what to eat.
6. We are cooking meals together and doing so quickly. Everything has been carefully planned and prepped for us, which saves a lot of time. Who doesn’t want more family time in their busy lives?
7. It’s easy to skip meals using the apps or to cancel altogether. And if I forget? The only downside is that I’ve spent money I didn’t plan on spending. I still receive food!
I’m still actually kind of shocked at how much I have appreciated these services. I didn’t expect for cod with a peach and corn salsa from a delivery box to be one of my favorite meals of the summer – especially considering we had fresh fish and seafood at the beach! – but it was!
Have you tried delivery services such as these? What did you think?
While this is not a sponsored post, I will link you to my referral code for Hello Fresh. It will give you a discount on your first box (under $20 for three meals for two!)