A few weeks ago, a friend of mine started posting absolutely mouthwatering photos on Facebook. Now, she’s always been a talented cook (in fact, it’s been too long since I’ve had dinner at her place…remind me to poke her about that…), but she’s also a very busy working mom, and she decided to get some help + inspiration in the kitchen. She signed up for Plated, Hello Fresh, and Blue Apron.
I’d tried both Hello Fresh and Blue Apron before, but with a very different mindset. At the time, it was to replace “date night” with my husband, and we were only ordering vegetarian meals. We were also doing Weight Watchers…but also not thinking things through very well, because we just made “two servings” like the boxes said each meal was and were shocked at the fact that they were taking nearly 2/3s of our daily points. Why I didn’t think then to do what I’m doing now is beyond me, but I’m getting ahead of my self…
I commented on my friends posts often, and she offered me a free trial box of Hello Fresh, so I decided to give it another whirl. I’d been slipping on my meal prepping, and I thought this was a perfect opportunity — I’d order a “classic” box (meaning no/few vegetarian recipes, meaning the food would be all for me), I’d cook ALL the meals on Saturday or Sunday, and I’d have weekday lunches and dinners prepped and ready to go!
But wait! You might be thinking, how are you going to get enough food for Monday through Friday if each box only contains three meals for two people (aka, six servings)?
By using these:
I’ve complained about the Beachbody Portion Fix container system before, because I’m stubborn and don’t like change, but y’all – the damn system works. And it’s also helping me get the most out of my Hello Fresh subscription, so it’s a good thing.
So, before I get to my “review” part, here’s a quick recap of what I got in my two boxes. I skipped a week in between these, so these were delivered to me on March 11 and March 25.
Box #1 (the technically free box, since it came from my friend):
This was a great first box for me because it really tested me in the kitchen and made me feel like a badass when I was successful. Roasting a half chicken? NEVER would’ve tried that on my own. Grating zucchini to use as a “crust” on chicken breast? When would I have ever come up with that? And making my own meatballs? Look, I’m an #ItalianFail a lot of the time, and this is no exception — but I can’t say I’ve never done it now, thanks to this box!
So, after cooking everything up, I used my handy containers and portioned everything out (some of these photos show two portions of some things — I planned for that!)
Box #2 (my first paid box)
I will admit, I liked Box #1 a lot more than Box #2. It may have been due to my recipe choices, but I felt like I had a lot more green containers (aka, vegetables) filled with the first round. In any case, here’s what this week looked like:
Now, here’s what I want to show you. See that beautiful Beef Ragu cooking in a skillet, with a lovely fluffy couscous and some roasted zucchini? Here it is portioned out using the Beachbody containers:
Now, remember, this is supposed to be dinner for two people. So, two servings. Using the containers above, I got SIX carb servings and FIVE protein servings.
This is not to say anything bad about Hello Fresh. Let me be clear right now; I think, socially, what they describe as dinner for two makes sense, because the “two portions,” as they describe them, are restaurant portions. They’re equal to what we’d expect on a “night out.” And if we know anything in this country, it’s that restaurant portions are HUGE — waaaaaaay more food than we actually need in one sitting (there’s a reason there is an obesity epidemic in this country…).
Now, the bummer thing is that roasted zucchini I made? It didn’t even fill a single green container. So I had six carb servings, five protein servings (with a tiny bit of green mixed in, since I did cook the beef with tomatoes + onions + peppers), and not even one full vegetable serving. I ended up portioning out the zucchini into the containers with my single carb + single protein, which I figure ends up equaling about 1/4 of a green for my plan.
Using my container system, I’ve managed to get at least ten meals out of each of my two boxes, which means a single box covers me for lunch + dinner, Monday through Friday. It makes meal planning SO SIMPLE, which means I start each week feeling prepared to stay on target with my goals.
I have noticed that, so far, the Hello Fresh meals are very protein + carb* heavy, which means I do have to supplement to get more fruit + veggies in each week, which I usually do by having egg casserole baked with a LOT of veggies, my Shakeology, and fruit for snacks.
Have you tried Hello Fresh? A different meal service? What do you think?
*If you’re wondering why they’re SO carb heavy, it’s because potatoes are carbs, not vegetables. Same goes for peas, corn, and beans/legumes.