Meal Kits Have Saved Our Sanity

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meal kitsThe pandemic has brought out quite a bit around the monotony of life, nowhere more prevalent than with food. At our house, we are so sick of food. We are sick of planning it. We are sick of buying it. We are sick of cooking it. We are even (sadly) sick of eating it. We never made bread or figured out what a starter really is, or concocted new and exciting pastries. At this point, we’re just trying to get enough nourishment in our bodies to make it to the next day. We’ve been known to have cereal-for-dinner night. Repeatedly.

Enter meal kits. Meal kits have saved us from opening a recipe book. Meal kits ensure we always have all ingredients on hand. Meal kits have reduced our food waste by probably 50%.

Meal kits were brilliant when we had a sitter who could follow the step-by-step directions to make us exactly what we picked out. Meal kits were brilliant when we couldn’t get a delivery slot at Whole Foods or Fresh Direct. Meal kits are still saving us today by providing a reliable and tasty alternative to cereal night or sushi yet again.

Hello Fresh {our fave}

Pros: The ingredients are fresh and often organic, the recipes are modern, and the meals taste so good. Don’t skip the sauces (as my husband likes to do) because they are magically formulated to pull the meal together.

Cons: Don’t be fooled by the silly promises that a meal is 10 minutes of prep and 35 minutes of cook time. We’ve never made anything in under one hour. Most meals take us 90 minutes. We’ve been making them for years. Part of the issue is that nothing comes prepped or cut, but that’s also why the dishes end up tasting so good – because everything is freshly cut.

Some of our favorite dishes include: BBQ pulled chicken tacos, sun-dried tomato spaghetti, crunchy curried chickpea bowl, za’atar crusted grilling cheese, and poblano flautas.

{I’m not getting paid one iota to rave about Hello Fresh, and I’ve thrown them a lot of my cash over the years.}

Blue Apron

We tried it years ago to mix it up with Hello Fresh. On the plus side, some of the ingredients come prepped. On the minus side, the prepped ingredients don’t taste as good. And the recipes, in general, were good, but not quite as good as Hello Fresh. So it didn’t last long.

Green Chef

Given our mostly vegetarian needs, we thought this would be a shoo-in between the all-veggie dishes and the prepped ingredients. But the recipes are complex, using many sauces, spices, and veggies, so they often took us upwards of 90 minutes to prepare! And somehow, even with all the herbs and flavors going in, the result was flat. We gave it a good long try and then canceled.

Daily Harvest

Not a meal kit per se but rather a variety of frozen, gluten-free, mostly very healthy ingredients packaged in grain bowls, smoothies, flatbreads, and acai or oat bowls. Everything arrives frozen, so make sure you have plenty of room in the freezer. It was super easy with no prep. Their food photography is exquisite, but the actual post-microwave meals look nothing like the ads. And they taste like microwaved soggy food.
Still, the Carrot & Cinnamon Smoothie is out of this world, and I may order a large box of just those every few months.

Freshly

Also not a meal kit; it’s more like the TV dinner of the new century. Freshly is basically a Lean Cuisine delivered to your door and refrigerated (not frozen). It lasted through one delivery cycle at our house, and then we canceled.

If you haven’t tried a meal kit, why not give it a shot? If you use a discount code, your first box will be free or close to it, and they are all (in my experience) easy to cancel. If you want to try Hello Fresh, let me know. I have about 3 million boxes I can gift a friend, after which they will send you many emails to coerce you into becoming a lifelong customer like me.

And if you have a favorite not listed above, I want to know about it! At our house, we need something a little new in our lives.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for the comprehensive overview! We haven’t tried meal kits but we have started getting the bulk of our produce through Misfits Market which has given me that little push to try some different things that I wouldn’t normally. I feel like I need the meal kit concept applied to gardening…

  2. Thanks Jessi! Misfits Market looks really interesting. I wish we ate enough vegetables to justify it 🙂

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