The last 12 months has been a year of growth and transformation towards a healthier state of mind, body and soul. Not that I wasn’t healthy before, but certain events encouraged me to learn more about health and challenged me to improve.
If you had asked me two years ago about purchasing a meal kit delivery service I would have said “no way.” In my mind, they were expensive, a waste of time (I didn’t need someone to plan my meals; I was already doing that for myself), and ultimately a gamble — I had a picky eater at home, which I knew wasn’t up for experimenting with new dishes.
Fast forward to the present — the kids are gone, and my husband and I are living an ’empty nester’ lifestyle for the first time in twenty-two years. I had already branched out with my ‘80% Vegan Diet’ (which, by the way, the US Health Report calls a Flexitarian Diet), and I was ready to expand my horizons into the world of home delivery meal kits.”
And honestly, I have to thank my sister-in-law who has been using Hello Fresh for her family of six. She enjoys the dinners and saves money using the kits instead of throwing out uncooked food.
Before venturing on I had a few principles in choosing meal kit services and the recipes for a given week:
- Vegetarian / Vegan dishes
- Low carb / healthier options
- Recipes that were different / new – something I couldn’t do myself
- No mushrooms
Process I used:
- Reviewed each services website and looked through the recipe options.
- Selected the weeks that were interesting and noted on my calendar when the box was being received. So basically planning out my meals a few weeks in advance.
I started my adventure into the meal kit delivery services with Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, and Plated. I was about to stop there until a fellow vegan friend told me about Purple Carrot … which led me to also find Green Chef.
Funny how the last one I tried was one of my favorites. I found Green Chefs’ organization of the ingredients, and the recipe instructions to be one of the best. Their customer service department impressed me. Tyler from their “Customer Care Team” emailed me prior to receiving my boxes and made himself available for any questions. That email came in handy when I realized one of the sauces contained an ingredient we don’t eat. Tyler responded quickly with a tasty alternative, and the altered dish came out great!
Almost every service I tried provided fresh ingredients but I found both Green Chef and Purple carrot to be the freshest.
I had fun during my 8 week experiment of testing the meal plans services! We discovered new and delicious recipes that I will definitely make again. In fact, I took two of the different meals and invited friends over for a “Couple’s Cooking Night” – where each couple made one of the dishes. The 4 of us enjoyed both meals with a couple of bottles of wine.
Benefits of Meal Kit Delivery Services:
- Explore & learn new recipes & ingredients
- Pre-measured ingredients – no wasted food
- Couples can work together.
- Normally when I’m cooking dinner I’m going off memory or I just bring ingredients together without a recipe card. By having a recipe to follow and most of measurement done, it was easier for us both to participate.
- Lots of individual packaging that becomes recyclable or waste
- Cost more than planning your meals yourself, shopping, & organizing.
Summary: I’m enjoying the services. I typically meal plan & create my grocery list on the weekends. At that time, I look through the recipes and order what and when I want. My only advice is to review your account(s) and skip the week(s) you don’t want to order. I’m currently subscribed to Green Chef, Purple Carrot and Hello Fresh open. Hello Fresh is less vegan which my husband enjoys more.
I’ve created a cheatsheet, which compares and contrasts the services I tried. I hope you find this useful, as many of my friends who have been asking the question about my favorite Meal Kit Delivery Service. Now it’s your turn… which one are you doing to try?
Betty’s Cheatsheet: Click link to view comparison in PDF format which includes costs, recipes selected, discount I was able to find online, tasting notes & my final comments: Meal Kit Service Comparison Chart by GourmetBetty
My Final Comments of each service:
Overall this was my favorite service. Best recipe instructions, ingredients were washed and of high quality, organized perfectly. I selected the vegan plan. Green Chef has many options of meal plans, seems very flexible with different costs. This allows you to change plans from vegan, vegetarian, meat or omnivore plan.
Service is a good option for both families & couples. Meals were delicious and service provides flexibility of selecting meat or veggie plans. Note they do not have vegan options.
We really enjoyed this service. As someone who has been eating mostly plant based meals it provides good ideas for vegan dishes. In fact, Purple Carrot only has vegan menus. They also have a meal plan for Performance Meals which have higher protein & are gluten free. This plan is a bit more at $78/week, which I am trying next.
Lots of options for mushroom lovers, which is not our preferred food. For this reason, I’m out. Cancelled my subscription.
This service is too expensive for the quality of the recipes and food. Cancelled my subscription.
Note: I have not received any compensated by promoting these services.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.
Peace & Happy Cooking!
Great write-up! Sharing it with Natalie – who’s gluten free. Thanks Gourmet Betty!