If weekday dinners are starting to feel like the slog that doesn’t end, HelloFresh could just be the shake-up you need.
I enjoy cooking, I really do.
But the kind of cooking I’m talking about is a languid affair paired with wine and music and plenty of time. It is not flying through the door from work and daycare pick-up, desperately attempting to get three different meals on the table and still have time for bath and bed and story and – what was that other thing again? Oh yeah! A conversation with my husband!
Because yes, I’ll admit it: I’m the schmuck who is currently cooking one meal for my 16-month-old, another one for my four-year-old, and then an entirely separate menu for my husband and I.
On Sundays you’ll find me hunched over my laptop meticulously meal-planning for the week ahead, trying in vain to cut down on both cost and waste. If I’m going to fork out for a tub of sour cream, you’d better believe I’m going to choose meals that will use it all up by the weeks’ end.
(I really am fun at parties. Promise.)
It’s a system that has mostly worked for me thus far but it is tedious, it does add to my mental load and it doesn’t exactly inspire creativity when it comes to what we eat.
So when I had the opportunity to trial HelloFresh’s new menu, I was stoked. Healthy, hopefully delicious and all delivered to my door… worth a shot, right?
There are three boxes to choose from – Meat & Veggie, Vegetarian and Family-friendly. In hindsight, maybe we should have chosen the family-friendly option so I could have tried it on the kids, but at the time I went with the meat and veggie box because the recipes looked so damn good!
I’m talking sichuan beef stir-fry, Japanese beef rice bowls with pickled onion and Japanese mayo, Creole chicken and roast veggies… Sorry kids, but you can stick to your nuggets for now. We still ordered for four people though, so we could use the leftovers for lunch the next day.
You can also pick recipe options such as ‘balanced’ for a leaner meal or upgrade to ‘gourmet’ if you are feeling a little fancy-pants.
The subscription process was easy enough but be warned – it is a subscription, and needs to be cancelled if you wish to opt out.
What’s in the box
I have to say, the HelloFresh team are NAILING their package and delivery system. I can’t fault it.
The deliveries happen between 12am and 5am so when you wake up, it’s all there waiting for you.
Inside, there’s a chilled bag for your meat and dairy products along with some ice packs, and the rest of the ingredients are divided into bags with all the ingredients you need for that particular meal. And did I mention they’re colour-coded to the corresponding recipe card? SMART.
The produce is ridiculously fresh and there was no sauce or meat leakage of any kind. The only issue we had was fitting it all in the fridge!
In the kitchen
I have to say, there is a certain satisfaction that comes from emptying a paper bag of ingredients onto your kitchen bench and knowing that everything you need is inside.
The recipe cards were easy enough to follow although there were quite a few steps – I think I preferred the ‘four-step’ recipe cards found in Every Plate for getting weekday dinners on the table quickly.
In saying that, the recipes were delicious, fresh and healthy -plus with 13 to choose from every week, you’re bound to find something you will like.
In a nutshell
Would I recommend HelloFresh’s latest offering to others? Certainly I love the convenience of the delivery and the produce is top-notch.
The recipes are varied and I love that you can choose from different boxes to tailor your needs. Going forward, I would love to try a family-friendly box, for instance, to see if Miss Four would oblige me in trying something new!
I enjoyed still being able to cook a homemade meal with ZERO waste without having to bother with the whole meal-planning shemozzle, however it probably took longer to get on the table than I would have liked, because there was still a lot of chopping etc. involved. If this is also a concern of yours, try to stick to the recipes labelled ‘fresh and fast’ which the HelloFresh website says should be on the table in as little as 15 minutes.
Price-point wise, this is where HelloFresh may fall down for some families. Including the delivery fee, my box of four meals for four people (keep in mind that we were using the leftovers for lunch) would have set me back $153.83 at full price. According to my admittedly sketchy maths, that’s just under $10 a plate. Not bad, but a similar arrangement at Every Plate, for instance, would set you back almost half that amount – although their recipes are more basic.
So I guess it depends on where your priorities lie.
Are you looking for delicious recipes, fabulous produce, weeknight variety and zero meal planning – all for under $10 per meal?
If the answer is yes, this could be just the game-changer for you.
This article originally appeared on Kidspot by Emily Blatchford.
Emily and her family trialled HelloFresh for one week at no expense. The opinions in this article are entirely her own.
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