I Was a Meal-In-A-Box Skeptic. Enter HelloFresh.

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Life goes fast, and that can be stressful when you have stuff to do. Between juggling kids, job, housecleaning, grocery shopping, caring for aging parents, getting snow tires (oh shoot–yes–gotta do that soon), cooking, and a whole myriad of other stuff, it’s no wonder many people are looking at ways to make daily living a little simpler.

I got suckered in with a coupon. Thank goodness!

Anyway, I had heard about services that supply a weekly box of all the ingredients you need to make some meals for that week, but I thought the idea was pretty hokey. I mean for goodness sakes, I can get to the grocery store, right? And I have a ton of cookbooks plus the internet at my fingertips. It just seemed a little decadent and wasteful. And then my friend gave me a coupon for HelloFresh. She claimed it had gotten her and her family out of a food rut. When I decided to give it a shot (and it was the $40 off that got drew me in), I didn’t realize how good it was going to be. I’m a convert.

Why I got over being a meal-in-a-box skeptic:

So, everything that follows is based on my first 4 weeks of using HelloFresh. We haven’t tried any other meal-in-a-box services. So, here goes:

First, it was super convenient to sign up. The site is very easy to navigate. And the website is pretty. I guess I’m shallow or a sucker or both.

Second, the meal choices are varied and use healthy, fresh ingredients, some of which I’d never think of cooking if I had to come up with the meal myself (read Israeli couscous and bulgar wheat) , but which turn out to be easy to cook and great conveyors of flavor. We are on the 3 meal plan (per week), so once a week I get online and select 3 meals of the 6 options provided. They range from comfort food (like Shepherd’s Pie) to the spicier stuff, which is more up my alley. They also offer a vegetarian option, which is great because my daughter is a vegetarian. (And by the way, she’s a vegetarian who pretty much doesn’t like vegetables, but I have assigned her the task of cooking the vegetarian meal we get once a week, and she’s been cooking AND eating it all. That in and of itself is enough to keep me on the plan.)

This is what I chose this week:

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Third, the HelloFresh customer service is outstanding. A couple of weeks ago we received a box that included some very wilted and brown basil. I emailed customer service, and within 10 minutes (yes, for reals, 10 minutes) someone responded to my email and gave me a $10 credit on our next box. I loved that, and let them know. And besides the basil, all the ingredients have been super fresh and delicious.

For me, the best things about HelloFresh are these:

  • I really don’t like grocery shopping, and now I don’t have to do it as much.
  • I think we actually spend less on food. I don’t need to buy full bottles or boxes of any ingredients we don’t have in the house, and I don’t buy too much food.
  • We don’t waste as much food, AND directly related to that my fridge is cleaner.
  • I actually look forward to cooking our HelloFresh meals. It’s crazy that by letting someone else narrow our meal choices for us, I’m more engaged in cooking. I’ve been learning about new cooking techniques (like cooking fish in parchment paper), and I like that, because they’re also easy to execute.
  • Want to skip a week? No problem. HelloFresh lets you choose the weeks you want to get a box.

The one bummer about the service is that the food arrives in a beautiful sturdy box with two big cold packs, and that feels wasteful. The box can be recycled and the material inside the cold packs is water soluble so can go down the sink, but I still wish we could send the box back to HelloFresh to be reused.

Want a coupon for $40 off your first box?

If you’re interested in HelloFresh, you can get $40 off your first box. I should disclose that I will also get a $20 credit. I’m not the kind of person who’d promote something I don’t love myself, but you don’t know me, so I’m not sure what to do about that conundrum. There’s a lot of drivel out there on the interwebernet (read: the election, sigh), so take it or leave it. I’m a strong believer in healthy skepticism, full disclosure, and fact-checking.

I should also disclose I haven’t tried any of the other services–HelloFresh was the first one I tried, and it’s working for us so I’m not looking elsewhere–unless I find a really good deal!

Now, with all that extra time on your hands that you’re not spending on grocery shopping or cleaning out moldy leftovers from your fridge, maybe you can do something else to reduce your stress! Get out for a half hour run or walk. You could even go get a massage 😉