Ever since my son was diagnosed with T1D five years ago, I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen. This has, of course, saved us bundles–we used to eat out at least 2-3 times a week before dx. But I have to admit that I grow tired of the same old meals pretty easily. Now that my son is on two swim teams, our schedules are hectic, meaning I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. While various meal kit services such as Blue Apron have been around for several years, I had been hesitant to jump in because I worried about counting carbs and I hated the idea of committing weekly. But there have so many new entries in the field, I finally decided to jump in and give a few a try. Hope the ratings and reviews help you decide which meal kit service is right for your family!
* POOR ** GOOD *** EXCELLENT
Access to Nutrition information ***
Carb counts are available on each recipe card and on the website. Meals were 35-100 carbs per serving. The lower carb meals seemed incomplete–pork egg roll in a bowl without rice? Fish cakes without buns? I ended up adding a healthy carb to three of the six meals we ate, which made this service less of a value.
All the meals were tasty…this was definitely our favorite. The entrees were compatible with the meals I already made, but different enough to taste new and fresh.
Ease of prep ***
Instructions were easy to follow and took the exact amount of time the card said it would. Great for beginner and novice cooks.
Freshness of ingredients *
When I signed up, we had to order three meals and the only delivery day was Thursday. They were shipped from Chicago and spent three days in transit. Unfortunately, a Thursday delivery did not fit well with our schedules that first week. Two of our three meals were to be used within two days according to the recipe cards and website, and since the kit arrived after 6 PM on Thursday, we couldn’t use the kits until the weekend, as we had plans Friday evening. We prepared the third meal on Tuesday, a full eight days after the kits were originally shipped. . Needless to say, the fresh ingredients were not so fresh. The cilantro was slimy and wilted and the green bell peppers had black spots all over them. The meat and other ingredients seemed okay. This was so disappointing.
Environmental friendliness **
Well, there’s an attempt to be environmentally conscientious. Freezer packs have instructions for recycling. Some of the ingredients’ packaging is recyclable, and the plastic bottles for liquid ingredients can be reused. Still, if you do not live in an area with a liberal recycling program, you will be throwing out a lot of plastic.
Access to Nutrition information ***
Carb counts are available on a separate sheet sent with the kits, but they are not available on the website. This made it difficult to use counts as a guide when selecting recipes. Each meal was 45-65 carbs per serving.
Taste * 1/2
While the meals sounded great, they were not as flavorful as the other services we tried. The Cauliflower mac ‘n cheese was particularly meh.
Ease of prep *
Instructions were not as easy to follow. The ingredients listed on each card included a column for 2 and a column for 4 servings, but it was unclear if the instructions were for 2 or 4. So, for example, if a recipe said to add 1/4 cup of water to a pan, I did not know if I needed to double that for a recipe for four servings. I made four meals total and never figured it out. Cooking times did not include washing vegetables, so they took longer than the recipe cards noted. And each step listed several tasks, some of which were unrelated to each other.
Freshness of ingredients **
Meals were shipped from New Jersey and spent two days in transit. Still, the vegetables were fresh and unblemished.
Environmental friendliness ***
All the packaging is recyclable. Individual kits come in paper bags with fresh ingredients loose in the bag. Freezer packs have instructions for recycling and the padding inside the box is made from recycled materials and can be further recycled. By far, Hello Fresh is doing it right when it comes to environmental responsibility.
Access to Nutrition information *
Carb counts are available on the website only. This was a huge inconvenience at meal time. Each meal was 50-65 carbs per serving.
Taste * * *
My family was in agreement that these meals were pretty tasty. There was one meal that I didn’t care for, but the rest of my family loved it.
Ease of prep *
Instructions were not easy to follow because there were multiple tasks in each step, and some you had to come back to after completing other steps, which made it super easy to forget or overlook something. I missed a step one time and ended up making chimichurri sauce with Kale, which was supposed to be added to the dish separately in larger pieces instead of being blended with the parsley, because instructions for prepping the parsley and kale were in the same step as blending the parsley only. Gotta read closely! Also, it seemed like essential steps, such as peeling carrots, were omitted from instructions. ALL of the recipes took much longer to prepare than the card noted. I spent about 50-60 minutes on each meal even though several recipes said 30-40 minutes.
Freshness of ingredients ***
By far, these were the freshest ingredients–way better than what I can get in my local grocery. Meals were shipped from Charlotte, NC on Monday and arrived by 11am the next day.
Environmental friendliness *
Plated does not even pretend to be environmentally friendly. Everything came bagged in plastic baggies and the meats were double wrapped in two layers of plastic.