So I recommend a lot of products on here. For better or worse, I get more feedback on that stuff, with people trying out a service, or beer, or movie, than I do on most sports things I write. And I’ve had several merchants come to me with a “hey thanks for the link, that generated a ton of sales!” Cool. So I’m going to keep recommending things, only now I’m going to use affiliate links to do it.
This will be an ongoing series where I recommend a product or service, but only ones that I use and like. I take great consideration before recommending something on here, because I know some percentage of you will go out and try it. Straight-up sponsored posts are different– advertisers pay us to promote them and I’m upfront about that. But with this I will only recommend things I like and which I think you, the reader, will like, too.
First up: Hello Fresh.
I’ve mentioned Hello Fresh before, and for good reason. My wife and I have been getting it for about six months now. It’s a food subscription service that delivers to you the ingredients for 2-5 full meals (for two) each week. You’ve probably heard of Blue Apron. Hello Fresh flies a bit more under-the-radar. We tried Blue Apron a few years ago, but we didn’t like it as much. Don’t get me wrong, their meals were good (perhaps a bit too eclectic), but we found that they took forever to prepare and required a lot more legwork in terms of cutting up fruits and veggies and such. Hello Fresh meals are much simpler to prepare. Each comes with exactly six steps, and if you follow them precisely, you’re all but guaranteed a good meal. They can all be cooked in roughly 30 minutes (though budget for 45 for some). They’re more consistent in their quality but varied enough to give you dishes you likely wouldn’t make on your own.
All of the ingredients are, as you would expect, responsibly-sourced and fresh. Not once that I can recall in the six or so months we’ve been getting it have we received any questionable ingredients, except for an avocado… that was so fresh it wasn’t ripe yet and therefore unusable.
Hello Fresh offers three types of plans: regular (for two), vegeterian (for two), and either of those styles in family size (for four). The regular and veggie plans cost $9.99 per serving (so we spend $60 per week to get three full, well-balanced meals for two people), and the family plan comes in a bit less at $8.74 per serving. Those prices are extremely reasonable for restaurant quality meals that would easily cost twice as much out, and would take substantially more time to prepare if you bought the ingredients separately and made them on your own. Hello Fresh sends all the ingredients, with the exception of some fruits and vegetables (where you get the whole item), in the exact proportions you need. There is very little measuring and such. What you get is what you use, right down to the condiments.
For us, the meals arrive each Monday (I think you can choose your day) in a box. They are hand-delivered by a Russian man in a white van, whom I’ve taken to calling Boris. Now, I know what you’re thinking– I’m home all day and can take the box inside right away so it doesn’t sit out in the heat. What if you are at work all day? No worries. Hello Fresh comes packaged in super-premium ice bags – for real, I have no idea how they stay frozen as long as they do – and is designed to stay cold for at least 12 hours. We’ve had several occasions where ours sat out until after 5 p.m. and wasn’t refrigerated until much later and everything was still plenty cold and fresh, including their fine, delicious meats.
With the regular plan, you can choose from a selection of meals each week – on their website or app – which include chicken, steak and fish. Their steaks are, quite frankly, incredible. Now, if you’ve listened to the podcast lately, you’ll know I’m on a bit of a quasi-vegan kick, so for the last few weeks we’ve been getting the veggie option, and the meals are shockingly good. If you’re trying to avoid meat as much as possible, it pretty much means salads and pasta for dinner, but Hello Fresh has managed to come up with hearty, full vegetarian meals that somehow taste just as or almost as good as the regular ones.
Their portions are sizable but restrained. When you finish a Hello Fresh meal you don’t feel like you want to puke (there’s a tagline!). Even if you get as many red meat options as possible, you’ll still feel like you’re being somewhat healthy because the portions are reasonable.
Anyway, if you’re thinking about a meal plan subscription service, I would HIGHLY recommend Hello Fresh. The meals are delicious, simple to prepare, and mostly healthy. Better yet, they are running a great summer deal right now to take $40 off your first 2 boxes. There is no commitment after that. It’s well-worth the money.