Friday, May 19, 2017

Hello Fresh Review

My fiance and I decided recently that it would be a good idea to try meal boxes so I can share information with clients and readers of Healthy with Anne. We started with one of the most advertised boxes, Hello Fresh.

I started by signing up for the service, which was easy, and then was to choose meals, though I never quite figured out how to do that correctly as what I thought I chose didn't come in the box. No big deal for us, but for some there may be issues with that. We chose 3 meals for 2, which is normally $69, just to try it out.

The meals arrived early on the day I chose (Monday) and were packed well and still cold. The box is large for 3 meals and there was quite a bit of packaging.

Everything in the box is covered in heavy brown paper, I didn't pull it apart, but it seemed to be insulated. The recipe cards are very large, about 6x8.

Under the recipe card are boxes which hold every ingredient for each meal other than protein. Each is clearly labeled so you know which meal it's for.

The ingredients in each box.

Under the ingredient boxes there is a cardboard divider and large ice packs. This is where the proteins are packaged. They seemed small, but are well within nutritional guidelines for a healthy meal. My fiance absolutely loves steak. Though he doesn't eat it often when he does he goes all out and gets a large steak, so this was a little hard for him to see. Once he ate, though, he was satisfied with the smaller portion for a regular weeknight meal.

This is the Argentine-Spiced meal ingredients. This is everything that came in the box, all I needed to add was olive oil, salt and pepper.

This is the finished meal - my plate. I gave my fiancee more couscous than me and myself more spinach than him as he isn't so into greens and I'm not so into pasta. The general consensus was there was not a lot of flavor here. The "spice" to the steak was simply cumin and the scallion chimichurri. My fiancee added a lot of black pepper and red pepper flakes to his to add flavor and I simply ate it as-is.

We also had Char-Broiled BBQ Chicken with Summery Potato & Green Bean Salad and Southern Pork Chops with Collard Green-Potato Hash and Black Pepper Gravy. Both of these were better than the steak meal, but I also learned by then to add flavor by salting, peppering or changing the cooking method. The upside is that my fiance now enjoys collard greens!

The directions are easy to read, however, if you don't know how to cook at all, this is not the meal service for you. A "drizzle of olive oil" can mean anything from 1/2 a teaspoon to a tablespoon and if you don't know this, you'll have a finished product that is less than desirable.

The prep time is not based on a beginner or even novice cook, I am a trained chef and didn't get done in the specified time. There are often times a lot of steps, as well. If you love to cook (and I do!) then this box will work for you. If you're always short on prep time, then this isn't for you. Basically all that's been done is portioning and shopping, nothing is prepped.

Here is one problem I encountered with the "fresh" spinach that was sent:

 About one-quarter of the spinach had to be thrown away. As you can see, it was wilted, spotty and parts of it were slimy. I grow spinach and know what very young spinach looks like, however, much of what was in there was weeds and grass. I am able to find better spinach than this very locally.

The cost of the box, 3 meals for 2 people at $69. makes each meal $11.50 per person. I had a discount for my first box and paid $29. so each meal was $4.83 per person. This only applies to your first box, so it's the only savings you will get. Now, translate this to our family of 9 and dinner for a week would be a ridiculous amount of money. In other words, this is NOT for families as large as ours!

Overall I would not do this again unless my fiancee and I were the only people living in this household. The meals are nutritionally sound, but lacked flavor and needed too much prep time, were sent using far too much packaging and are not cost-friendly.

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