This is a post that I’ve been wanting to write for soooo long, about one of my favorite topics: cooking. Specifically, cooking with Meal Delivery Kits. So far I have tried Blue Apron, Plated, Green Chef and Freshly. I signed up and paid for all of these subscriptions ON MY OWN – this post is not sponsored at all, although I do always take advantage of the new subscriber discounts and friend referral codes. Note: I have NOT yet tried Hello Fresh, although they are next on my list and I’ll come back and edit this post once I do.
The bottom line right from the start is that I LOVE THEM. It’s so fun to receive a big box of yummy ingredients and fresh new recipes. I love cooking and being in the kitchen, in general, so I feel like being a member of one of these clubs is worth it in just that fact for me: they got me BACK in the kitchen and re-inspired my love of cooking.
Not all Meal Delivery companies are created equally, though, so here are my thoughts on the ones I have tried.
Here’s how I’m rating them: How approachable / easy are the recipes? How prepared / prepped are the ingredients?
How expensive is it? How flexible is the plan (eg. skip a week, change the menu, etc.)
1) Starting with Blue Apron. Blue Apron was my introduction into meal delivery boxes and a big part of my heart is always going to be with them for this reason alone. Kind of like how your first child made you a parent. Well, maybe that’s a little dramatic of an analogy, but you know what I mean.
How approachable / easy are the recipes? NOT super easy, but do-able for sure. I basically had to double the estimated prep & cook time, and I consider myself a pretty good cook.
How prepared / prepped are the ingredients? NOT at all. Raw, whole foods arrive, which I kind of loved. The box was like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag – unlimited in its bounty. The vegetables are whole and unwashed. For example, you’ll receive an entire garlic bulb even though the recipe may only call for two cloves. I definitely had a LOT of garlic backed up afterwards. Only the spices and oils are single serve, for example, I received small plastic bottles of mirin or soy sauce, and small packets of spices.
How expensive is it? Eh. It’s not cheap, but it’s not the most expensive of the options, either. If you compare it to shopping for the ingredients yourself? It’s expensive. If you compare it to eating out? It’s equal – less. But if you look at it as a combination of convenience, healthy eating AND an experience, it’s worth it.
How flexible is the plan (eg. skip a week, change the menu, etc.). Super easy and flexible to skip a week or edit the menu, although not all combinations of the options are compatible, so if you choose one recipe, a few others may be “grayed out” and not available to select. I’m not 100% sure why, but I’m assuming it has something to do with the cost of the meals.
2) Next Up, Green Chef. Green Chef is an organic meal delivery service, therefore all of the foods you’ll receive are going to be certified organic. Even the packaging that your meals arrive in are all compostable/reusable/recyclable.
How approachable / easy are the recipes? The recipes are on the same level as Blue Apron in terms of ease. Do-able, but grant yourself some extra time OVER the quoted amount.
How prepared / prepped are the ingredients? Many of the ingredients arrive as whole foods, with the exception of some pre-prepped items like measured sauces and chopped onions. You will not have any food items left after you prepare the meals.
How expensive is it? Green Chef comes in at the top of the price range, with family plans starting at $11.99/meal.
How flexible is the plan (eg. skip a week, change the menu, etc.). I found Green Chef to be the least flexible in terms of changing the meals, but as easy as the others to skip a week. Just don’t forget to skip it a week before otherwise you’re on the hook for the meal arriving at your home.
3) Time for Plated. I see ads for Plated all the time, so finally gave them a try. The boxes are extremely well organized, and all of the marketing materials are beautifully designed and easy to read.
How approachable / easy are the recipes? The easiest of them all and the closest to the predicted amount of time. The meals are yummy and balanced, and I’d say the most approachable in terms of exotic-ness.
How prepared / prepped are the ingredients? Plated’s ingredients are the MOST prepped of all of the meal delivery kits, and the packaging is simple and easy to stack in your refrigerator by meal (as opposed to Blue Apron where you’ll just have an entire box of individual items you’ll need to put away).
How expensive is it? I found Plated to be the least expensive of the kits I tried, and that is even without my beginner promotion.
How flexible is the plan (eg. skip a week, change the menu, etc.). VERY easy to choose meals and skip weeks, but as with all of these, if you don’t skip in time, you are getting the food! It’s a good idea to add a reminder to your phone so you don’t accidentally miss the cut off. I did once right before we were heading out for vacation – luckily a neighbor was able to accept the package and enjoy a few meals! 🙂
4) Freshly is my final meal delivery company to discuss, but they operate differently than the above meal-kits. Freshly sends FULLY cooked and prepared meals that simply need to be warmed up. Consider them fresh & chef-prepared frozen dinners, but WAY WAY better. These are great options for us when we know we will be super busy with school and after-school activities. If I already KNOW I won’t have time to cook and can’t leave a crockpot on all day, Freshly is a FAR superior option to fast food. AND every item is Gluten Free.
SOOOooooooo all in all, it’s hard to say, because they are all very similar, but different in small ways. If eating organic is your jam, then it’s Green Chef all the way, and you’ll know the extra cost is going towards higher priced produce. If time is the biggest consideration for you, I’d say try out Freshly and Plated. If COOKING and spending time in your kitchen is a priority for you, try out Blue Apron, which I will say, even though it’s difficult to decide, is my favorite of them all. Blue Apron was my introduction into this awesome & convenient way to prepare healthy meals at home, and everything else I’ve tried has been in comparison to them.
Couple final thoughts:
1) BEFORE you sign up, check out any promotional codes they have for new subscribers. You may be able to get up to 1/2 off your first box.
2) If you need to skip a week, do not miss the deadline!
What have you tried?