I was asked once if I could choose one household helper free of charge which would it be: a housekeeper, a nanny, a gardener or a chef.
I would choose a chef every and any day of the week.
It’s the one thing I really struggle with; working full-time and with two kids who are out and about all the time, I constantly worry that we’re not eating properly.
We regularly run out of fresh fruit and veg because I can’t get to the supermarket every other day, my son eats like it’s going out of fashion so we run out of everything ALL the time and quite frankly I don’t have the time to sit down and think about what we’re going to eat for the coming week because it depends on so many differing factors.
We never sit down at the same time and by the time homework is sorted, kit is washed and I’ve gathered my thoughts I need to cook something FAST.
Also there’s that whole stuck in a rut thing. Cooking the same ole things over and over. I like to try new things, discover new tastes, broaden our palettes.
So, this is all my way of saying I love the idea of meal boxes.
I don’t care if it makes me sound lazy (just order online. Just go to the supermarket. Just plan). If it were that easy I’d do it. It’s not. I don’t.
So, we took delivery of two HelloFresh family boxes to review. Both came on a Thursday. Both made me a bit giddy with excitement.
So what did we think?
Out of the eight meals we received I’d say we’d definitely make four of them on a regular basis now. We ended up trying dishes we would never have bothered with before and – like the pork dish – we make it regularly now.
Our meals were:
Pan-Fried Sea Bream
Creamy Leek and Mustard Chicken
Jamie’s Sizzling Steak Stir-Fry
Sweet and Sour Pork
Sticky Chicken Drumsticks
Courgette, Broad Bean and Feta Orzotto with Pork Meatballs
Saucy Mascarpone and Bacon Gnocchi
(Sorry forgot to take a photo of these two!)
So what is HelloFresh and how does it work?
Basically it’s a fresh food box which is delivered to your door with everything you need to make a set number of meals. The recipe cards are super easy to follow and you literally just take out the ingredients you need for the meal you’re making and it’s all there ready for you to prepare. There’s a spot of peeling and crushing and chopping, but other than that the preparation is quite minimal.
Each recipe card also tells you how long it will take to cook, so you can decide if you have enough time for each meal which I loved.
You can choose from a classic box, a veggie box and a family box. We tried out the family box which was £64 per box and included four meals for a family of four.
You can view upcoming recipes; oh and Jamie Oliver is in on the scene too creating recipes for the boxes.
The meat was all excellent quality, as was the fresh produce. It came well packaged and was very easy to follow and create the meals.
You can also swap recipes if you’re really not keen on one which is due to be in your box. However this is only available for the Classic 3 meal box (Meat & Fish). Hello Fresh say they are hoping to make it available to other recipe boxes very soon.
- The box arrives with everything you need to make four family meals. The ingredients are excellent quality and very well packaged. The meat and fish come in a well insulated pack inside the box. They were in the box for a good few hours before I got home to unpack them, but everything was still chilled.
- The meat and fish is locally sourced and organically produced and much better than similar cuts at the supermarket. I’m very fussy about the meat and dairy produce we eat and I was really pleased with the quality.
- The recipes were a mixture of old favourites and some we’d never tried before. We turned our noses up at the sweet and sour pork as we’re not really fans, but this version was a whole different way of making it and it’s now a firm favourite.
- Everything is measured out for you. This sounds like the laziest thing ever, but when you’re pressed for time it meant I actually enjoyed cooking a hell of a lot more. It also means less food wastage. It means you don’t have to buy a whole jar of saffron or fish sauce for one dish and it then sit in your cupboard unused for a year.
- You also know you’re getting a really healthy, balanced meal which is a big win.
- There is also plenty of food for decent-sized, not large portions. I have one child who eats everything and anything in his path so I think we’re on the verge of the family box no longer being suitable, for for smaller tummies it’s fine!
- I’m not sure if this is a ‘con’, but you have to cook the meals pretty much every day after receiving the box. The ingredients don’t last – probably because they aren’t full of chemicals to increase their shelf life – but it does mean you need to be prepared to make four meals on the trot. So no cheeky takeaways in-between. No eating out and skipping a meal. We did actually struggle with this sometimes because we’re so busy and because the box was delivered on a Thursday, which meant meals had to be cooked over the weekend.
- It’s expensive. There’s no getting away from it, it is a lot of money. However you do get your money’s worth – the ingredients are excellent and the bumf tells you each meal costs around £4. Yes you could probably make it cheaper, but you’re paying for the convenience here and the quality of the ingredients.
- A couple of the meals just weren’t kid friendly. Not your average kid anyway. My kids aren’t foodies, they like good simple fare like bolognese, chilli, stir fries, roast dinners.
A couple of the meals I just couldn’t get them to invest in!
I love the idea of these boxes. Love it. However, practically they do present issues of their own.
As I said, you have to cook the meals pretty much every day. Maybe if it were delivered on a Monday would be better as actually the weekends are the times I DO have have to think and spend a bit of time in the kitchen.
Yes if you look at the cost per box it is expensive, but having experienced the quality and the convenience I don’t think that would put me off now.
I think our overriding verdict though, would be that we really liked the boxes; how to took the stress out of cooking, how the kids could join in without me stressing that we wouldn’t get to eat until 9pm at this rate and how it opened up a whole new raft of recipes for me without me having to sit and sift through recipe books finding ones which would suit.
Have you tried subscription boxes? If so, let me know what you think?
I also reviewed three other meal boxes recently; see what I thought.
Just a note to the wise; you should also note, this is an auto-renewing subscription service. You can pause or cancel a delivery before midnight on the Wednesday prior to the week of your next scheduled delivery so MAKE A NOTE or a box will arrive on your doorstep.