As a dietitian, I was first introduced to Hello Fresh in a professional capacity, having received a complimentary box to try out and review. I have since signed up and purchased meals almost every single week since. It’s just too easy and uncomplicated for life with a baby and a business. I get a LOT of questions about Hello Fresh, and my original review gets a lot of views, so I thought I’d do an update on what has changed about the service since I signed up and how I feel about the meals now, after having used them for over a year. This post is NOT sponsored by Hello Fresh. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Meal Packaging & Delivery
Hello Fresh switched from using boxes to paper bags to hold each week’s meals. I was NOT a fan of this change when it happened, as I LOVED having the boxes. They were easy to store in my fridge and use as a clean up vehicle during cook time. However, the bags have grown on me. They take up more space in my fridge but are fairly slim so they can be stored in a variety of configurations based on the fullness of my fridge that week. And they still work well as a clean up container as I cook. I do love that everything for each recipe comes portioned out and stored in the bag. Other meal services I have used deliver all ingredients loose in the big shipping box and while that does slightly reduce packaging waste, being able to pull three things out of a box and into the fridge when they arrive and then one thing out when it’s time to cook makes things super simple at meal time. The individual ingredient packaging has also been changing, to minimize the amount of packaging and waste. Most produce arrives loose in the paper bag, and as much packaging as possible is recyclable.
Taste, Variety, & Nutrition
We get a veggie box each week, which means we get the three veggie meals that are on the menu for that week. There is no ability to pick and choose from a larger list of options like the classic and family boxes have. This is not a big deal for me, as it saves me time from having to go in to my account and choose recipes each week. We also really enjoy most of the recipes, and the ones I think we won’t like, I am surprised to find are actually pretty good. There is a fair amount of repetition, and popular recipes are recycled, so we are not always getting a brand new recipe we’ve never tried. I also didn’t think I’d like this, but it is nice to be able to enjoy a favorite meal on a regular basis. Other services we’ve tried don’t repeat any recipes within a year time frame, so if you love a recipe, you have to make it yourself if you want to enjoy it again. With Hello Fresh, they track customer favorites via a weekly survey, and keep favorite dishes on a regular rotation, mixed in with new meals for variety.
I also find myself very infrequently having to supplement or change a meal. As mentioned in my initial review, Hello Fresh does a fantastic job of using whole plant food proteins, minimal diary and eggs, and loads of fresh produce in their veggie box. While a fair amount of recipes that call for a sauce use sour cream, I’ve found it simple enough to swap for a homemade tahini sauce or omit with similar results. On occasion I will add baked tofu to up the protein content or vegan cream cheese to thicken a sauce, but it is a very infrequent swap. The variety of grain choices, vegetable combinations, and proteins used means we have a balanced, nutritious, whole food dinner. And everyone enjoys them. Myself, my omnivore husband, my 11 month old daughter, and extended family when they visit all love these meals.
Order Changes & Modifications
We have traveled for extended periods over the past year, had family visit for holidays, and needed to repeatedly cancel, hold, and change our subscription, and the process could not be easier. We spent the summer in California, and I logged in and updated our address for the time we were gone so we could still enjoy meals without the headache of filling a pantry. We had family come for a week at Thanksgiving, and swapped from a 2 person to 4 person box for the week, adding extra veggies to ensure we could feed 5 adults and 1 baby and always had plenty to go around. Once company left, I switched back to our usual order seamlessly. I have used the mobile app to make all these changes, but their website is also very user friendly for making changes quickly and with ease.
Challenges & Baby-Led Weaning
My biggest issues with Hello Fresh initially were the lack of a dedicated vegan box and the inability to switch between meal plans if I wanted a veggie meal for me and a meat dish for the husband. I have since found it to be extremely easy to take a veggie meal, omit any dairy that was used as a garnish, and add extra protein to the husband’s meal if needed. He’s also gotten used to more veggie-heavy dinners, which makes it much easier all around. And my daughter, who we’ve been feeding with the baby-lead weaning approach, has also enjoyed trying new tastes and flavors from the meals we have been making. I chop some veggies in larger pieces for her, and extra seasonings and any salt get added to our meals after hers has been portioned out, but otherwise she has been eating what we do and loving it! One meal to feed all three of us makes dinner time much easier than it used to!
A year after trying out Hello Fresh for the first time, I have to say that we will happily continue to use this service on a regular basis. As a new mom and business owner, it saves me so much time and effort planning meals for the week. Instead of thinking through 5+ dinners, I plan on Hello Fresh plus one additional dinner and a breakfast meal for the week. Grocery shopping is streamlined because we’re mostly sticking to our staple foods lists and buying what is in season.
Interested in trying out Hello Fresh for yourself?
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