My Review of HelloFresh Meal Kits

HelloFresh Meal Kit
HelloFresh Meal Kit


This post contains affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read the full privacy policy here.

Subscription boxes are all the rage lately and meal kits are no different.  Meal kits claim to make it easy to eat a healthy, whole foods diet.  They deliver every ingredient needed for each meal in the proper proportions so there is no waste and no need to shop for ingredients.

I received a HelloFresh meal kit for free as a gift from my daughter-in-law. Since it’s no secret that I love free stuff, it should come as no surprise that I jumped on the opportunity to order.

It should also come as no surprise that I want to share my opinion with you. Have a seat while I share my review of HelloFresh.

Ordering and Receiving My HelloFresh Shipment

Ordering and Receiving My HelloFresh Shipment

It was simple to sign up. HelloFresh is a subscription program that automatically bills for and ships a meal kit every week.  The downside of this is that there would only be two days between receiving one box and being locked into the next box.

Because I wouldn’t be able to access my 6-meal box in two days, I decided to skip the box scheduled for the following week, which was very easy to do.  It’s also very easy to change my menu options, adjust the number of meals I receive and cancel my plan if I desire.  This makes the service very easy to fit into my life and finances.

There are several different lifestyle options to choose from such as pescatarian, meat & veggie, vegetarian, pork-free, family-friendly, quick/easy, carb smart and calorie smart.  I chose the meat & veggie option and was “assigned” three meals but I did have the option of 22 other meals to substitute any or all these 3 meals.  Some of these choices were an extra charge, others were not and the choices appeared to be from all the lifestyle categories listed above.   I must assume that the lifestyle choice and “assigned meals” are in case  I forget to visit the site and pick the meals for an upcoming order.

My HelloFresh shipment arrived on the day they promised.  It was surprisingly small and light considering that it contained 6 meals.

As I unpacked the box, the reason became clear and, I have to say, I was delighted.  I had received another meal kit as a gift and was disturbed by the amount of packaging I had to throw away.

The HelloFresh box contained an inner cardboard box as insulation and one frozen ice pack.  The foods were all packaged in plastic bags, no containers of any kind.   I am not saying that plastic bags are good, mind you, but a bag takes up less room in the landfill than a container. The meals themselves were separated into brown paper bags and clearly labeled. 

Preparing The Meal

Preparing Your HelloFresh Meal

As advertised, the Hello Fresh box came with all the ingredients I would need to prepare the meals, except for olive oil, salt and pepper.  All of the ingredients were fresh and in good condition.

The prep itself was easy and uncomplicated. I didn’t run across any ingredients or procedures that I hadn’t encountered before.  Someone who is switching over to home cooking from convenience foods or take out will probably see the prep work as excessive but this is the price we pay for improving our eating habits.

I was overwhelmed at first because, when following the directions, I felt I was doing too many things all at once.  I ended up overcooking my roasted carrots while I was mixing the meatballs and cooking the rice.  I finally realized that I had to go back with the cooking style that I’m comfortable with:  I do all my prep (chopping, mixing sauce, coating meat, etc) first and then get to cooking.  This added a few minutes to their “box-to-table” estimate but at least I didn’t overcook anything else.

The only downside here is a personal one:  There are a lot of dishes to wash.  For the ginger meatballs, I ended up washing a knife, cutting board, 3 mixing bowls, two baking pans, a saucepan, spatula, vegetable peeler, plate and various cutlery.  Maybe this is just a normal dinner for some but, in my opinion, the fewer dishes, the better.  Of course, I did save time and trouble by not shopping so I guess I’m ahead of the game!

The Main Event

Saucy Ginger Meatballs

HelloFresh Meal Kit
HelloFresh Saucy Ginger Meatballs

This entree was the first one I tried and it was wonderful, although, at 910 calories per serving (1820 calories total), I decided to turn it into 3 servings instead of two.  Not only did this smaller portion fill me up, I think I would have had trouble eating a “full” portion.

The meatballs are dressed with Bulgogi sauce, which is a sweet Korean barbecue sauce.  It was paired with Jasmine rice and oven-roasted carrots then drizzled with spicy sour cream and sprinkled with a generous amount of sliced green onions.

The spiciness of the sour cream complemented the sweetness of the roasted carrots and the combination of colors was pleasing.  I would definitely order this again.

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Creamy Lemon Tomato Spaghetti

HelloFresh Subscription Service
HelloFresh Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Creamy Lemon Tomato Spaghetti

The calorie count on this recipe was a whopping 1090 per serving (2180 calories total) so I decided to divide this into 4 servings. I also added a side of baby spinach with dressing because I felt it definitely needed more vegetables.

The pasta was a delight.  The sauce was a combination of cream cheese and butter, giving it a wonderful creamy texture, although the taste of either was not obvious.   The lemon zest and juice added a brightness to it while the roasted tomatoes allowed for a touch of sweetness.  The combination of flavors worked very well together.

The chicken was spread with a mustard/mayonnaise mixture and topped with a combination of panko crumbs, seasoning packet and parmesan cheese.  I did enjoy it but I felt that the mustard flavor was far too dominant and overwhelmed the subtle flavors in the crumb topping.  If I were to make this again, I would skip the mustard mixture.

HelloFresh Subscription Service
HelloFresh Butternut Squash Agnolotti

Butternut Squash Agnolotti

This particular recipe had two things I have never tried before:  kale and agnolotti.  I enjoyed the kale more than I thought I would.  In this recipe the instructions had me saute it in oil with the onion.  The onion lent a soft sweetness, the kale was peppery with a nice chew to it.

The agnolotti is a ravioli-type pasta I haven’t tried before and it was very good.  The pasta itself was fresh and relatively thick,  the butternut squash filling was very mild.  The added walnuts, garlic herb butter and parmesan cheese gave it a variety of flavors and its end result was delicious.  I’m glad I didn’t have to share this with anyone!

The bottom line

Of course, it’s the bottom line that matters so here it is!  Would I order this again?  Yes, I definitely would and I did.  The price per servings in my box would have been $10.48 each, including shipping.  Because I had paired down the size of my servings on two of these meals, I ended up with 9 servings which come out to $6.99 per serving, including shipping.  This is more than reasonable in regard to price.

The fact that the waste is minimal is a big plus for me.  The meals are separated using recyclable paper bags and the outer and inner (insulating) boxes are both recyclable as well.  The individual items that require packaging come sealed in plastic bags (no containers) that are just big enough to hold the items, which results in minimal throw away waste.

I am so impressed with this service that I have partnered with HelloFresh to give you a $40 discount on your first box!!  What are you waiting for?

Have you ever tried a meal kit service?  Which one did you try?  How did you like it?  Let me know in the comments below!

All My Best,


Home Chef Review: The Good, The Bad and The Balance

Home Chef Review: The Good, The Bad and The Balance
Home Chef Review: The Good, The Bad and The Balance
This post contains affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read the full privacy policy here.

It seems like every time I turn around, I see an ad for a meal delivery service and I’ve been curious as to whether they were any good.  As you know, I’m not a fan of premade anything so I had decided to forgo trying them.  Until…

I received an email from Home Chef stating that my stepmother had referred me to the program and, if I signed up, my first box would be free.  Now “free” is definitely one of my favorite things so I decided to give it a go.

Here is my review of the Home Chef Meal Box that I received for free:  the good, the bad and the balance.

Order Up! Online Sign-up Form

Online Sign-up Form for Home Chef

I cruised over to the website to sign up.  There was an initial glitch (more about that later) but it was quickly solved by customer service and I was able to sign up with minimal fuss.

There are 7 different categories to choose from: Culinary Collection, Meal Kit, 15 Minute Meal Kit, Grill-Ready, Oven-Ready, Entrée Salad and Protein Pack.  You can also designate desired cook time.  Menu choices can be further narrowed by opting for carb-conscious, calorie-conscious and vegetarian, as well as what sorts of proteins you prefer or food sensitivities you have.  Some kits can be modified in regard to which type of protein will be included.

The choices change weekly, although some of the more popular dishes will reappear from time to time.  The week I looked at had 19 extremely varied options.  The description is very good, noting the items that make up the meal.  Possible allergens and nutrition profile are also included.

The price is noted when you first look at selections (before clicking on the description) so it’s easy to stay within your budget. Both of my choices ran just under $9 per serving, which seems to be the minimum price, while some selections run close to $13.  My box of 2 meals twice weekly (4 meals total) would have cost $49.53 at full price, including shipping.

It’s All About The Food

Now for the important section because it’s all about the food, right?  The two meals I chose were shrimp paella and apple cherry spinach salad.  Each entree provided two servings.

Home Chef Shrimp Paella

The shrimp paella was an “oven-ready” selection, which boasts no prep work.  I had assumed that this meant it would come pre-assembled in the pan a’la frozen dinners (but not frozen).  This was not the case. All the ingredients were packaged separately so I would have to assemble them myself.

This was not a difficult task and the meal came together quickly.  I simply dumped all the ingredients (except shrimp) into the included tin pan, mixed ‘em up, laid the shrimp on top and baked it for 18 minutes.

The shrimp paella was tasty with the fresh peas, fresh peppers, crispy red peppers, pine nuts and shrimp giving the dish an interesting mix of textures.  The flavor was mild but varied and the shrimp was very fresh.  The packaging indicated that I would have 3 days to cook it although I cooked it the day after receiving it so I have no idea how the freshness might have held up had I waited.

At 468 calories, 44 grams of carbs, 23 grams of protein and 21 grams of fat, it’s well within the guidelines of what would be considered a healthy meal.  It contains 1717mg of sodium, which runs around 75% of your daily intake but higher sodium is a given for prepacked ready-to-eats.  This amount is definitely something you could work around by modifying your intake for the rest of the day.

Home Chef Apple Cherry Spinach Salad

My second choice was apple cherry spinach salad with goat cheese and sherry shallot vinaigrette.  This was a no-cook selection, although I chose to add on the chicken breast option, which did have to be cooked.

The produce that came with the meal was fresh and unblemished.  The chicken breasts were well-trimmed with no visible fat.  In addition to cooking the chicken, there was a small amount of prep work to be done, namely cutting the apple and the scallion.  It came together in less than 10 minutes.

There was a generous amount of walnuts, dried cherries and vinaigrette, which gave the salad a fabulous flavor.  The only shortfall, in my opinion, was the amount of spinach that was included.  I used both portions of spinach for my first salad and some romaine I had on hand for the second one.  Again, I enjoyed the mix of textures from the apples, walnuts and dried cherries.

The nutrition profile broke down to 460 calories, 33 grams of carbs, 6 grams of protein and 200mg of sodium, all of which play well into a healthy diet.  The 34 grams of fat seemed a bit high but it would be easy to cut back on the vinaigrette, as it was a very generous 3 oz portion.  There was no notation as to how much the chicken breast changed that profile.

The things I love

Home Chef Meal Kits

The freshness of the ingredients is pretty amazing.  I only have this one box to go on but everything I received was high quality and exactly what I would have chosen if I had picked it out myself.

It’s easy.  The ingredients come premeasured and, in some cases, pre-prepped.  All the ingredients you need are in the box so there are no surprises or last-minute trips to the store.  In the case of the oven-ready selections (such as my shrimp paella), they even include the cooking pan.

The food is high quality and delicious.   The portions are generous and could possibly be stretched into 3 adult portions, depending on appetites.

They indicate possible allergens that might be present on the ingredient list for each recipe so there’s no need to go searching for that information.

The price per serving is indicated right up from so it’s easy to stick to a budget.  My box would have cost $12.38 (including shipping) per serving which would be equivalent to eating at a moderately priced restaurant.  If I were to stretch the box out to 6 servings, each meal would cost only $8.25.  I think this is a great value. And guess what makes it even better?  I’ve partnered with Home Chef to give you $60 off your order!

The customer service is excellent.  When I first went in to accept the offer, a box popped up informing me that I already had an account and could not receive the discount.  While this was technically true, I had never ordered after my initial sign-up.  I sent an email to Home Chef to explain this.  They replied promptly to tell me that they had deleted my original account and I would be able to proceed with the offer.

The things I love less

According to their website, Home Chef claims that their ever-changing weekly menus lead them to use different vendors to obtain the ingredients they need to fulfill those menus.  Although they say their ingredients are “occasionally organic” and that they source responsibly “whenever they can”, they are unable to guarantee either.

Despite the fact that they include allergens on their “ingredients list”, the actual lists themselves only include the major players in the recipe but no macro ingredients.  “Rice Pilaf” and “tomato seasoning” were listed on the ingredients list of my shrimp paella but there’s no way to ascertain what these two items actually contained in regard to spices or artificial flavorings/preservatives.  And you know how much that rankles me.

And then there’s the “leftovers”.  I’m a bit horrified by the amount of trash that was generated by 4 meals, as you can see in these pictures.

According to the Home Chef website, the cardboard shipping container is recyclable, which, of course is always a good thing.

The insulated liner is made from recycled cotton and denim, which I assume is biodegradable, although this isn’t mentioned specifically in their literature, nor do they address the possible contamination due to the dies used in denim.

The ice packs contain water and polyacrylate (which is harmless) and can be reused or split open to dump contents down the drain.

This leaves lots of plastic, wraps, bags and containers, which can be more problematic.  I don’t want to delve into world events in this article, but I think it’s safe to assume that we’re all aware that plastics are not as easily recycled as they used to be (and to be honest, some never were).

I don’t have any solutions, I’m just saying it makes me uncomfortable to add this entire tall kitchen bag full of trash to the top of the heap at my local transfer station.  This is four meals worth.

The Final Conclusion

Home Chef Meal Kits

What’s the bottom line?  Where do we draw the line between convenience and what are (or may be) negative consequences?  What’s the final conclusion?

The truth is that we make these compromises every day.  Every time we start up our car, everything we mail order, every single item we choose that isn’t locally sourced from small businesses.  Even those locally sourced products, in most circumstances, come at some cost.

In the case of these meals, they may be a blessing to those who don’t have easy access to a store, have limited cooking facilities or cooking abilities.  They may be a lifeline for someone who wants to eat a healthier diet but doesn’t have the time, knowledge or capacity to make that happen on their own.

I, personally, found them to be tasty, convenient and (for the most part) healthy.  I would not rule out ordering again.

Check out My Review of HelloFresh meal kits!

What about you?  Have you ever tried a meal service or do you use one now?  Tell me all about it in the comments below!

All my best,



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