After picking up fast food for the fifth consecutive night, we came to an unpleasant conclusion: We’re absolutely terrible at eating healthy.
We’re not alone. The typical American diet exceeds recommended levels for saturated fats, sugars, and sodium, and we’re not eating enough vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Meal delivery services can help simplify that process a bit, and on paper, HelloFresh seems like a particularly helpful option. We decided to order from them to see whether the service makes sense—and whether it justifies its $9.99-per-serving price tag.
Ordering From HelloFresh
We’re not strangers to the whole meal-in-a-box thing, but we immediately noticed one difference between HelloFresh and its competitors: The selection is pretty incredible.
Each week, users choose from classic, veggie, and family menus. The HelloFresh site lists dietary considerations and cooking times, so if you’re trying to avoid eggs, seafood, nuts, or spicy foods, you’ll be able to do so easily.
The vegetarian menus are a bit limited compared to the omnivore menus, but we still spent hours poring over our options. It’s a pretty fun way to order food, and even if you’re a picky eater, you should be able to find something that fits your preferences.
Receiving Our First Box
HelloFresh’s meals arrive in well-packaged boxes with freezer packs to prevent perishable items from spoiling. We never dealt with spoiled ingredients, but the company still offers to replace anything inedible (as they should).
The packaging is recyclable, which is good since there’s quite a bit of it. HelloFresh doesn’t send certain kitchen essentials—they assume you already have things like butter, salt, pepper, and oil—but given that they still package ingredients individually, you’ll still need to break down a fair bit of cardboard every week.
We found HelloFresh’s recipes easy to follow, and most can be cooked in 30 minutes or less. They post their recipes online, so you can check them out before your order arrives. The quality of the ingredients is outstanding, although HelloFresh uses fewer exotic ingredients than services like Blue Apron.
That was a big plus for us—we love recreating meal delivery kit recipes, and while our local grocery store can’t quite match the quality of HelloFresh’s regional suppliers, we can still cook most of the recipes on the HelloFresh site without driving all over town to track down rare herbs and spices.
The bottom line: HelloFresh isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty great.
The biggest problems with HelloFresh certainly aren’t unique among meal delivery services. We’d love for one of these services to significantly reduce its packaging, but at least HelloFresh has the common sense to forego the individually packaged sugar packets (yeah, we’re looking at you, Blue Apron) and single-tablespoon tubs of butter. Most materials are recyclable, so at this point, we’re less concerned about our carbon footprint than we are about making room in the recycling bin.
The other issue is pricing. For us, HelloFresh makes sense because we’re getting restaurant-quality meals for less than $10 per serving. However, we’re aware that some people will look at that price tag and realize they could eat for days on the same budget.
With that said, among the major meal delivery services, HelloFresh offers the best selection, including great options for people with food sensitivities. We felt we actually saved money on HelloFresh, and we certainly expanded our palates with menu options like beef chiles rellenos and crab cakes under a lemon-dressed salad. If you’ve got the money, we’d definitely recommend checking it out.
Try it here with a $20 discount.