Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid review. I am NOT affiliated with Hello Fresh at all. I simply decided to write about my experience for anyone who is curious.
Having meals delivered to me is something I would never do. It just seems a little ridiculous to me. It appears sketchy, expensive and unnecessary.
A friend of mine extended the opportunity for me to try a free week. While I was VERY suspicious because I know that things like this usually have hidden fees and tricks, she assured me that nothing bad would happen. I used her code, picked my meals, and waited for my delivery. Here’s what happened.
When I first tried to navigate the site, I was a little confused. You DO get to pick your three meals. There should be NO charges for anything, not even shipping and handling. I accidentally charged myself $12 because I picked a 2-in-1 meal. I didn’t know this was going to happen and didn’t have time to change it before they shipped my food.
My friend suggested canceling the next week of meals so that you won’t forget to cancel it. If you don’t cancel it a few days after getting your order, they will send you another week that you WILL have to pay for (and if you forget, you don’t get to pick your meals).
You can change your meal plan under My Menu on the upper left corner, and you can change your shipment dates and calendar under your account on the upper right corner. This is also where you cancel your account (which can be reactivated at any time). My friend said that they regularly send coupons and discounts to get you back, so she cancels her account until she gets a coupon and then she will have another week of food sent.
The day the food was delivered, I had happened to leave on a two-day getaway with my husband. I had neighbors and friends stopping by all day to check for the package and stick it in the fridge.
Eventually, a girl who babysits for us found it and she stuck it on the floor in the kitchen. Not in the fridge. When we got home from our trip, I was so nervous when I saw it on the floor.
Thankfully, the meat was packed between two large ice packs. It was not frozen, but it was very cold. The other food was in individual paper bags, one bag for each meal.
In the box, you will find three papers with all the instructions that are very easy to follow. There are even pictures to help you figure out what is supposed to be happening. It includes exact amounts so that you can write down the recipe and repeat it with your own ingredients later.
I found that the meals were a little more tedious than I expected, but they were also much fancier than meals that I would normally make. I do feel like I could tweak all the recipes just a little bit to make them a little more appropriate for my lifestyle.
(ex: In the first recipe I made, the chicken was breaded with a seasoned breading and sour cream, and the orzo mixture had special garlic herb butter. Next time, I will probably just season the chicken and not bread it, and use regular butter with some garlic powder. I can’t imagine it will taste much different.)
I also noticed that when ordering my meals, they assured me that ALL ingredients would be included. Olive oil was used many times in the recipes and it was not included. But I would imagine that any other cooking oil could be used in place of this.
However, I really did enjoy trying these recipes! Although they were a little out of my comfort zone (with preparing AND eating!) it was fun to try some new things.
Were the meals good?
And finally, the most important part, were the meals even good?
One of my biggest weaknesses is finding meals that are healthy AND tasty. Whenever I add veggies to something, I have a hard time finding something that we all actually enjoy.
I loved how all of these meals had lots of hidden veggies but also were super delicious. The first meal had tons of colorful veggies in it, and I was really nervous my husband was going to turn his nose up. But he loved it and was suggesting ways that I could make it again with things that we usually get!
1st Meal: Spicy Breaded Chicken w/ Spinach Tomato Garlic Orzo + Chicken Pitas for lunch (this is the one that I got charged $12 extra for!)
- The chicken was much harder to bread than I had expected. Also, the spicy seasoning wasn’t as strong as I was hoping for. It smelled strong, but we couldn’t really taste it on the chicken.
- The orzo was AH-MAZING! I don’t like tomatoes at all, but in the noodle mixture, I was in love. The creamy and cheesy garlic mixture was incredible and we both finished off our plates.
- I was not a big fan of the pitas. The mixture was seasoned chicken breast (not breaded) in cubes, mozzarella cubes, tomato cubes, and sour cream. The wheat pitas were so thick I wanted to gag and I didn’t feel like the mixture had much flavor. I ended up eating it in a plain flour tortilla and didn’t enjoy it very much.
2nd meal: Pork Chop Fajitas
- The pork chops were delicious and perfectly tender! The seasoning was perfect.
- The meal took about 20 minutes to prepare, and most of it was waiting on the veggies to get soft, then the meat to cook thoroughly! I loved that this meal was super easy to put together and delicious.
3rd meal: Chicken Parm w/ Pasta
- This one was delicious, but once again it was the breaded chicken like the 1st meal and I struggled to do it correctly.
- I waited too long to use the ingredients, and the tomatoes were moldy. 🙁 Besides the tomatoes, there were no veggies in the meal.
- The pasta looked like regular spaghetti in the photo, but the recipe was closer to fettuccine alfredo! It was delicious.
Overall Pros and Cons:
- Learn new, healthy recipes
- No effort put into meal planning or grocery shopping
- You can use the recipes forever after!
- Good quality ingredients – some I had never heard of!
- There were no tricks. I put in my coupon, and I got a totally free week of food. I can’t say that I expected it to be so easy.
- I honestly expected only veggies and meat. But there was plenty of grain and dairy as well! (There are vegan/gluten-free/dairy-free meal options) The meals were very balanced and yummy.
- Meal prep can be frustrating, only because they are brand new recipes and have lots of steps
- While they do the best they possibly can, getting your meals delivered is just inconvenient. The food stayed fresh for over 24 hours not in the fridge, which is great. But you do have to be aware of when it is going to get delivered.
- It is crazy expensive. A week ranges from $70-90 for 6 meals (3 for 2 people). For my 3 person family, I spend $200 a MONTH on ALL of our groceries (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks, dessert). So, HelloFresh is not an option for me in any way without coupons or discounts.
Are you interested in trying out your first free week of Hello Fresh? Here is the link.