Reviewed February 2022
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HelloFresh is a meal kit service that delivers pre-measured ingredients and recipe cards so that you can prepare delicious foods without the hassle of planning and shopping. HelloFresh was one of the early companies to enter the meal kit delivery business when they started in 2011. They are currently the largest meal kit company in the United States and operate in 16 countries around the world.
HelloFresh is a great option for almost everyone. Since they are a large company, they offer a variety of different kinds of meals for different tastes and many dietary options. Meal kit services such as HelloFresh are particularly good for couples or single people who don’t want to waste their money buying more ingredients than they will use and busy working people who are looking to save time. I decided to try it because my husband I are soon-to-be empty nesters. It seemed to make sense for us so that I could cook smaller portions and enjoy a wide variety of interesting meals.
The recipe options change weekly. They offer a variety of different kinds of meals for all different tastes and diets. Here are a few of the meals that we enjoyed.
Boneless pork chops with a delicious balsamic rosemary sauce served with a side of oven-roasted green beans and toasted herb garlic bread
Shrimp marinated in a hoisin/ginger sauce served with ginger scallion jasmine rice and roasted green beans
Chicken cutlets coated in a panko breading with herbs and topped with bruschetta, served with bacon mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli
We loved the food. It was like eating delicious restaurant food at home. I felt so proud that I was able to make such fancy meals. Our favorite was the Balsamic Rosemary Pork Chops which had such a delicious sauce that you want to sop up every last drop with the garlic bread. Even some of the simple sides such as the ginger scallion jasmine rice were so tasty that I ate the leftover rice plain the next day.
We bought mostly the normal level meals, and they were amazing. They also have meals labeled “Gourmet” which are a step above. Gourmet meals are like steak and lobster tail or beef tenderloin. They charge a little more for gourmet meals, but still, it’s significantly cheaper than eating out in a restaurant. Recipes labeled “Hall of Fame” are meals that are popular among the HelloFresh subscribers. These are good ones to start with if you’re unsure of what to try.
The meal-prep time depends on the recipe you select. The range that I saw for the recipes that I selected was from 20 to 55 minutes. The meal prep time is listed when ordering, so if you are looking for something simple, select recipes with short prep times. The meal-prep time is pretty accurate as long as you’re focused on what you’re doing. I sometimes take longer if I’m a little distracted while cooking.
HelloFresh can definitely save you time because you don’t need to plan or go to the grocery store. The ingredients are pre-measured and some even come pre-chopped. You don’t even need to select your meals if you don’t want to. After you’ve selected your meal plan choices (Meat & Veggies, Veggie, Family Friendly, Fit & Wholesome, Quick & Easy, Pork Free, Pescatarian), they will automatically select meals for you each week. If you prefer to choose them yourself (as I did), you just log on or use the app to pick your meals.
HelloFresh has easy-to-prepare meals, but they also offer more challenging ones if you want to try them. You can see the difficulty ranking by clicking on the photo of the food online or on the app to see the recipe details. They have recipes that they categorize as easy, medium and hard. Easy recipes involve little multi-tasking and use only 1-2 pots and pans. Some recipes are even labeled as “One-pot/One-pan meals” which make for very easy clean-up. Medium recipes involve a bit more multitasking and may involve slightly more complicated cooking techniques. Hard recipes involve more multitasking and a little more challenging cooking techniques. All the recipe cards, however, have detailed easy-to-follow instructions with pictures showing the steps so you shouldn’t be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone.
Getting started with the recipes is quick and easy because all the ingredients for a recipe are in a labeled paper bag except for the meat. When you begin, you grab the labeled bag and the meat that goes with the recipe and start cooking.
There is a flat $9.99 shipping fee for most orders (as of the writing of this review). The box is shipped using UPS, FedEx, or select regional couriers. When you order, you select your delivery day. Delivery is between 8 am and 8 pm. You could have them deliver to work or some other location where someone can receive it, or schedule it for your day off.
You don’t need to sign for it, but you don’t really want to leave it sitting on your porch too long, especially on a hot day. The website says that your box can stay out of the fridge for up to 24 hours thanks to the ice packs, but I wouldn’t risk it. You can track your delivery using a link they send via email. When you see that it’s been delivered, you can zip home and put the ingredients in the fridge.
HelloFresh can deliver anywhere in the United States, except for Alaska and Hawaii.
Everything is delivered in a big green box with blocks of ice and insulation. According to their website, it can stay cold up to 24 hours.
HelloFresh, like most meal kit companies, is trying to become more environmentally sustainable. They often put tips for how to recycle and/or reuse the packaging right on the package.
HelloFresh has lots of dietary options including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, low-fat etc. When you register, you select one or more of the following options.
Foods labeled as “Calorie Smart” are low-calorie (identified with a feather icon). These meals are around 650 calories per serving average. “Carb smart” meals are low in carbohydrates.
HelloFresh makes it easier to lose weight because you can keep track of your calorie intake based on the information provided on the recipe cards. With their delicious “Calorie Smart” meal options, you won’t feel like you’re sacrificing. It’s easier to lose weight when you know that you can eat delicious low-calorie foods. Who really wants to eat rice cakes when you can have a gourmet meal?
You can have a healthy diet with HelloFresh if that is what you select in your preferences. If you select the “Fit & Wholesome” option, it will only list meals of 650 calories. If you’re trying to increase your vegetable intake, order vegetarian meals. I feel like we eat healthier with HelloFresh because it’s so easy to have a well-balanced diet with a wide variety of fresh foods. When I plan non-HelloFresh meals, we tend to fall in a rut of the same foods.
Ordering from HelloFresh is super easy. After you set up your account with your basic info (name, address, etc.), you can let them pick your recipes each week based on the meal preferences that you selected when you subscribed, or you can select your own meals as I did. If you’re not picky or feeling adventurous, let the program run on autopilot and you don’t need to do anything. They’ll send you a variety of delicious meals based on the preferences you chose.
When you sign up, you select if you want two or four servings per meal and how many meals per week (2-6). Even if you’re single, having two servings allows for leftovers the next day. If you need more servings of a meal, you can just order more than one of that meal. For example, you could order two 4-serving meals of something to serve eight people. You can always add additional meals to whatever your normal plan is if you are expecting guests.
The cost per serving depends on how many servings you order and how many meals each week. Two-person plans start at $8.49 per serving, while four-person plans start at $7.99 per serving. We bought a 4-person 3-meal per week plan, and it was $8.49 per serving. That’s a lot cheaper than it would have been to eat that quality of meal out. Pricing may have changed since the time of my review.
HelloFresh can definitely save you money if the alternative is eating out. Also, if you’re comparing it to buying the ingredients yourself, you need to factor in the cost of having to buy more than what you need of items. If you buy a whole bottle of something but you only need a teaspoon, that will drive up your cost of cooking on your own.
You could try HelloFresh for a month and see how it affects your regular month’s grocery bills. When I compared my monthly grocery bill before HelloFresh to my grocery bill plus the cost of HelloFresh after, we actually saved a little money. I was shocked because you think it will be expensive to sign up for a meal kit program. For us, eating with HelloFresh has been a good deal plus we eat much better and save time.
Get $120 off by using this link to sign up.
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