Yep. I have. And it feels SO good.
Wanna know my secret? For the past few weeks, I’ve been using HelloFresh.
Not sure what that is? Basically, it’s the next best thing to having a personal chef. Someone else does the meal planning using seasonal ingredients, and you get a box of fresh food delivered to your door, together with a set of recipe cards. The box contains everything you need to quickly whip up healthy, tasty meals (and get your life back again). It includes fresh produce, meats, cheeses, herbs, spices, and pantry ingredients.
I’ve fallen in love… hard.
I have some big HelloFresh discounts to offer both my Australian and U.S. readers at the end of this post. But because you probably don’t know yet exactly how HelloFresh is going to change your life, read on. Then you will see.
Here’s my top 12 reasons why I love HelloFresh:
1. It’s given me my kitchen mojo back again.
You know when you get in such a rut with meal planning that you wish you didn’t even have to eat?
That was me for the first few months of this year. For real. I didn’t have the mental energy to think up brand new ideas each week. My inspiration had fled. As a result we were eating the same old, same old things that I’d made a thousand times before.
I was bored. My husband was bored. The kids were becoming overly reliant on the same handful of familiar foods. And I hated being in the kitchen doing the same old thing the same old way for the millionth time.
So I’m delighted to say that HelloFresh has given me my kitchen mojo back again. We’re now eating exciting and interesting food on a daily basis, and I’m once again excited and interested to be making it.
(And yes… in case you’re wondering… all the photos in this post are of HelloFresh meals that I’ve made in the past couple of weeks! It’s like we have our own little restaurant happening at home.)
2. I’ve got my life back.
Let’s all take a moment of silence to commemorate the amount of time we have all spent each week for years and years, hunting through recipe books for ideas, (or staring into space with pen poised over a blank notepad as we try vainly to conjure up some inspiration), creating detailed shopping lists, and doing the dreaded grocery run with kids in tow.
I get twitchy even thinking about how I used to do the grocery run with kids. If they weren’t running down the aisles like lunatics, they were busy competing for the Guinness World Record in “greatest number of things you can nag your mother to buy you in one shopping trip”.
I mean… begging for chocolate and ice-creams is understandable (albeit annoying) but they didn’t stop there. My kids don’t even have to know what something IS in order to want it obsessively.
Last time I took the kids grocery shopping, Miss 4 had a full-blown tantrum over some shower-cap looking thing that you stretch over a salad bowl to keep the flies off. Apparently her life was about to end if I didn’t buy it for her immediately.
My PTSD is flaring up just thinking about it. Thank God those days are gone forever.
3. I’m trying new things.
It’s amazing how a few simple little things that I never would have thought of doing, can add such pizazz and flair to a meal.
That’s the chef’s touch, I guess. There’s nothing complicated or fancy in here, just simple little tricks like adding a squeeze of fresh lime juice to some Greek yoghurt and using it as a dressing… or adding fresh herbs to a sauce… or using a spice rub on the meat… or peeling the cucumber instead of slicing it… or using an unexpected topping on a pizza… or caramelising the onions… or making a mash with cauliflower and parmesan thrown in to liven up the plain old spuds.
I will be honest, I’ve never had much flair in the kitchen. I can follow a recipe and make something presentable, but I’ve never danced a tango with my ingredients.
Now I feel like I’ve got a few dance moves happening. I’m actually really starting to enjoy the process. Instead of dinner being a chore that I have to bang out as fast as humanly possible, I feel like I’m creating some magic.
Shaking up my routine and trying some simple new things has given me a whole new passion for cooking. And I feel like I’m becoming a better cook in the process.
4. The meals take 30mins or less to make.
You know when Jamie Oliver released his book about 30 minute meals? And we all tried them and they took 2 hours?
Yeah. This is not like that.
These really DO take 30 minutes or less from when you crack open the fridge to when your family is sitting at the table drooling over what you’ve created.
The recipes are simple and straightforward, with step-by-step photos so you can see at a glance what to do next.
I’m all about less time in the kitchen, which = more time to watch cooking shows on TV (oh the irony) while sipping a glass of wine.
5. We’re eating fresh, healthy food.
It’s the bane of every mother’s existence… the pressure to come up with a healthy, balanced, interesting menu that everyone will love.
You want your family to eat healthy. You know you need to cut down on the pre-packaged stuff and get more whole foods into everyone. You know you should be eating a rainbow of fresh veggies and a variety of proteins and so forth… but it’s easier said than done, right?
Life is just. So. Busy. And planning that sort of menu, let alone keeping a fridge stocked with fresh ingredients to feed a voracious family of little dinner-monsters… well, it’s no easy feat.
Well, I’m happy to report that we are now eating the freshest of whole-food ingredients on a nightly basis. And all with a lot less effort than we were expending before.
6. The kids love it.
I was in such a cooking rut at the start of this year that kids were never being challenged to try new things. And it’s always been my fear that I’ll create picky eaters if I feed them the same narrow, monotonous diet week in and week out.
On the other hand, there can be a lot of internal resistance to stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new foods with kids, because chances are they’ll hate it, right? And then that’s all your hard work down the drain. Might as well just throw up your hands and feed them a cheese toasted sandwich, which AT LEAST THEY WILL ACTUALLY EAT, even if it has like zero nutritional value.
Well, in theory the Family Box is designed to be family friendly, and with three fussy kids aged 4-8, this family was about to put HelloFresh to the ultimate kid test.
Yes, the Kid Challenge from which professional chefs shrink back in dismay.
Would they like it?
WOULD THEY EAT IT??!
The first HelloFresh meal I served my kids was a Moroccan Lamb Filo parcel. I will admit, I didn’t have high hopes for how this would go down. It’s not the sort of thing I’ve ever fed them before.
But truth be told, I was happy to not have to be sweating these decisions for myself – that’s just what came in the box, so I trusted the process and the expertise behind it, and that’s what I made.
I slapped down those plates on the table and we all tucked in.
After a few minutes of silence (always a good sign), my 7-year-old said, eyes wide, “Mummy! This tastes too good to be homemade!”
LOL. Uh, thanks, son. I think.
(For added context, this is my son who has Sensory Processing Disorder and has some massive hangups about food textures and trying new things in general. He’s pretty picky with his food.)
He took a few more bites, then gushed, “This is my number one favourite meal! As well as McDonalds, pizza and spaghetti bolognaise!”
Kid stamp of approval officially given.
We’ve been cooking from these boxes for a few weeks now, and the kids have eaten and enjoyed every single meal. I’ve had to coax the 4-year-old with a couple of them, but she’s always needed a bit of coaxing with dinner, so that’s no different to before. As for the older two, it’s almost funny how effusive they are with their praises.
“Mummy, I LOVE these noodles!”
“This is SOOOOO tasty.”
(In a tone of great excitement) “What’s your favourite bit, guys? Mine is the nuts! No, it’s the crunchy bread pieces! Oh, I don’t even know, it’s ALL so good!”
“Mummy, when can we have this meal again? I love it soooooo much!!”
There’s been at least three times that I’ve said to hubby, “I wish I could record the kids’ reactions to these meals, because it’s so over-the-top, no one would ever believe it’s true.”
It does make me wonder… was my cooking really THAT bad before…? ‘Cos I can’t remember ever having a reaction like this to any of “my” meals. Hmmm.
HelloFresh, this family takes our hats off to you.
7. It’s got my husband cooking.
There’s something about having full-colour, step-by-step, mouthwatering recipe cards on the counter and matching fresh ingredients stocking the fridge that seems to lure out the inner MasterChef in all of us.
My husband has cooked more in the last couple of weeks than in all the months prior this year.
The HelloFresh concept has really given him a sense of ownership over the whole cooking process.
Instead of me having my own little plan that I’ve worked out for myself in my head and haven’t told him anything about… instead of checking the fridge and not finding anything inspiring in there… he now knows exactly what’s for dinner, how to do it, and has everything he needs at his fingertips to carry it through.
So being the man of action that he is, he just gets in there and does it.
It’s ridiculously inspiring. And means I get to sit on the couch with a glass of wine and watch him cook.
(Are you beginning to understand yet why I’m so obsessed with this whole thing? Ha!)
8. Opening the box feels like Christmas. Every single week.
Who would’ve ever thought I’d get excited about unpacking groceries?
But I do. There’s just something about opening up a big cardboard box packed to the brim with secret goodies. I have been known to squeal with excitement as I uncover what’s inside.
The kids even join in with the fun and get involved, pulling things out and helping put them away.
I wondered at first how the delivery part was going to work. I go out a lot – what if I missed it??
The HelloFresh folk reassured me that around 90% of their customers are actually out when a delivery is made. This company is all over it. The way they pack these boxes is an art form unto itself. They use woollen insulation and icy cold gel packs (all recyclable) so everything inside stays refrigerator-chilled even if it sits on your doorstep for hours. It’s actually pretty awesome. Plus – no more plastic bags going into the landfills.
Here’s a look at me unpacking one of the boxes:
9. The quality of the food is brilliant.
HelloFresh have top quality suppliers. I’ve been really impressed by the brands they use and the quality of what they pack.
Roza’s Gourmet pestos and chutneys, Tasmanian farmhouse cheeses, fresh herbs, dewy-crisp vegetables, free-range chicken breasts, La Boqueria salamis and chorizo, authentic Fillo pastry, thick and creamy Greek yoghurt… I could go on and on.
In the last box I unpacked there was even two tubs of Meredith’s Dairy goat’s cheese. I always thought goat’s cheese smelled like old socks, until I tried some Meredith’s Dairy on a cheese platter at a Tasmanian winery. It was love at first taste. The stuff is pure deliciousness.
Previously I’ve only ever been able to find Meredith’s Dairy goat’s cheese at the sort of gourmet deli we just don’t have in my part of the world. Now HelloFresh brings it to my front step.
(Oh… and I live in a tiny village in regional Queensland, 8 hours drive from the nearest capital city. So if you think they won’t deliver where you live, look them up. You might just be surprised.)
10. It’s convenient but flexible, too.
There are three types of boxes on offer – a Classic Box, a Family Box (kid-friendly), and a Vegetarian box, so you can choose what suits you best. You can also choose how many mouths you’ll be feeding, and how many meals you want per week.
A HelloFresh subscription is fully automated, so you can retire from being the family hunter/gatherer for good. Just click once, fill out your preferences and let the bounty roll forth.
And yet, as much as we all love the idea of the food fairies leaving a magical delivery upon our doorstep every week, some weeks life happens. You might be going away, you might still have leftovers from last week, or you might just want to flip the script and try out a different box that week.
HelloFresh makes it very easy to change, pause, or stop your order, whenever you like. There’s no minimum subscription term, and no cost for cancelling at any point. In other words, it’s completely flexible.
You can also log in and check out the recipes coming up for the next week. I love browsing through the recipes to see what will land on our doorstep. We usually get a Family Box, but if, say, I like the look of the Classic Box line-up better that week, I just switch it over.
So what are the quantities like? The largest box you can get from HelloFresh Australia feeds 4-5 people for 5 meals (or 4 meals if you get the family box.)* There is a LOT of fresh produce packed into that big box. The delivery guy warned me it was heavy, and he was right.
But we’re not that into portion control over here, and usually when a recipe says it feeds a crowd, we tend to decimate the entire thing. So I did wonder how the portion sizes would go.
After a few weeks trying it out, I’ve found the food quantities to be generous. We’re feeding 5 of us (2 adults, 3 kids) and we nearly always have leftovers.
*U.S. readers, your meal plans are structured slightly differently. Your family box contains three meals. Keep reading – I have a special discount for you at the end of this post as well.
11. It costs the same as we were already spending on food.
I feel like some spoiled rich person bragging about how we basically have our own personal hired chef planning our meals for us and a concierge to drop all the fresh ingredients at our front door once a week, every week.
I mean, I know it sounds impossibly entitled. I never have to plan a menu or do an epic grocery shop with whiny children again.
Surely this service has got to cost a fortune, right?
A family meal plan is priced at only $8.75 per meal.
After using HelloFresh for a few weeks, the results are in, and we are definitely not spending any more than we used to on food. In fact, it’s slightly less.
The reason? When you try to menu plan for yourself, there is a ridiculous amount of waste involved. It can be hard to buy some things in small quantities, so you have to get the whole packet/ box/ shebang, and then the leftover bit sits in your pantry for the next one hundred years.
(Did you know Australians waste 50% of the groceries they buy? True story.)
HelloFresh, on the other hand, portions out the exact amount of each ingredient that you’ll actually need. From dainty packets of fresh spices, pine nuts and sesame seeds, to cute little tubs of Greek yoghurt, you have exactly as much as you need for the recipe at hand, without spending a fortune to purchase a whole lot of excess that will only go to waste.
They also seem to plan their recipes with convenient ingredient overlaps, so that you’re actually using up the rest of that packet of baby spinach leaves instead of leaving it to turn to slime in the bottom of the crisper.
In short, they’ve done all the thorough planning and calculating, so you don’t have to. And the wondrous result is that you can still make practically-done-for-you meals per week without spending any more than you usually would.
12. HelloFresh will give you free food… just for trying it out.
Look, sometimes bloggers get really cool perks. Because I’m totally obsessed with HelloFresh and have partnered up with them to spread the awesomeness, I’m able to offer my readers an exclusive discount.
My Aussie readers will get $35 off your first box. While my U.S. readers will get $40 off their first two boxes. (That’s $20 off your first box and another $20 off your second box.)
Yep, you’ll get free food just for trying it out.
Oh, and the first box is a one-off trial, so you don’t even have to sign up for anything to give it a go.
I hope you’ll try it and fall in love just as hard as I did.
And then you too can quit the menu planning and grocery shopping and get your kitchen mojo (and your life) back again.
Australian readers, you can click here for $35 off your first box – the coupon will be automatically applied when you click through this link.
U.S. readers, you can click here for $40 off your first two boxes.
Note for U.S. readers: Your specific suppliers will vary from what I’ve mentioned in this post (HelloFresh uses top quality local food suppliers no matter where you are in the world), but otherwise, the system is virtually the same.
Please make sure you click the appropriate link, as you’ll be directed to either the Australian or U.S. site.
Any questions? Ask me in the comments and I’ll do my best to help out!
Happy eating, friends!
This post contains affiliate links.