My maternity leave ended and I went back to my office job in July. We're still trying to find the right balance of prep and organization (and checklists and to-do lists and Clipboards of Fun) to make our family unit run as smoothly as possible.
One area that's been challenging is food. Here's the thing: I try very hard to not ascribe moral value to food. I don't think it's naughty to order pizza. I don't feel like a bad mom, or a bad woman, or a bad human, if we eat takeout every night.
However. My bank account doesn't like it very much. Nor do my guts. So while I'm all for ordering takeout food to make life easier, it's not a long term solution for our family. You do you, babies. This is a safe space. No judgment here. It's just not something that we can swing three nights per week, indefinitely.
I had the opportunity to try a HelloFresh Canada box last week and it was life-changing. I realize how dramatic that sounds but stick with me, things are about to get magical. (Pssst...if you're curious and already know you want to give it a go, HelloFresh Discount Code HILLARY60 gets you $30 off your first and second boxes.)
HelloFresh is a subscription recipe kit delivery service. You subscribe to the service and then every week, you choose three meal kits to be delivered to your door. On your delivery date, a cooler box of fresh, delicious ingredients, plus detailed instructions on how to create your meals and specific nutritional facts, shows up at your address.
I was skeptical. No one was home the day our box was delivered, and it was a hot summer day. I wasn't sure I would feel comfortable eating food that had been outside for hours. I was convinced I'd be opening up a box of spoiled food but I couldn't have been more wrong. The insulated cooler box and ice packs kept everything cool and fresh. My inner hippie cringed at the amount of packaging waste I thought I'd end up with, but almost every piece of waste created was recycled or composted. HelloFresh even runs an ice pack return program so you can save your ice packs for a few weeks and send them back in an empty HelloFresh box.
Our life is not quiet. I do not come home from work to a clean house and a hot meal on the table. It is not our reality at this point in life. And that's okay! There is plenty of time for relaxing evenings. Our weekday evenings are chaotic and rushed. Shawn picks Poppy up from daycare on his way home. I walk in the door and head straight to the kitchen to get dinner going. Between kid shenanigans and forgetting to hit the grocery store on the way home from work, Shawn or I will often reach for the phone to order a pizza to try to make things less stressful.
HelloFresh eliminates the stress. The meals come individually wrapped so you don't even have to think, you just grab one of the meals out of the fridge and get cooking. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I was able to cook my HelloFresh meals faster than I could have had a pizza delivered to my house. I was able to make nutritious, home-cooked meals on busy weekday evenings, and it didn't take a lot of complex planning or organization on my part. The least enjoyable parts of cooking (for me) are the prep: thinking about what to make and going to the grocery store to buy the ingredients. HelloFresh does both and I just had to do the parts I actually enjoy (the cooking and the eating).
The Nitty Gritty
What does it cost? There are different meal plans (family, veggie, pronto) and different levels (2 or 4 people) so the cost caries from $73.99 - $139.99/week (that includes delivery). HelloFresh Discount Code HILLARY60 gets you $30 off your first and second boxes.
Can I skip a week? Absolutely! There is no minimum subscription length and if you want to skip delivery for any reason you can. You just have to log into your account before the weekly cutoff and skip the week.
What if I don't like one of the scheduled meals? I kind of like the idea of trying new foods and cooking outside my norm, so I didn't request any changes to my box (and I was rewarded with Halloumi! I didn't even know Halloumi was a thing!) but you can make switches if you see something you don't like. As long as you sign into your account and make the request before the weekly cutoff, you can swap out one of your meals for a recipe you'd rather try from one of the other boxes. You can also set general meal preferences like "no seafood."
So was the food any good? Yes! The food was delicious. The ingredients were fresh and the recipes were easy to follow. I liked trying new food and learning new techniques. It made weekday dinners more exciting and less stressful. It was convenient and saved me time and sanity.
What's the catch? The only cons I encountered were: no leftovers! This could definitely be a pro for some but I like having leftovers to pack for lunch. The other con I found was the tiny bottles of vinegar were difficult for me to open. It made me think there's more work to be done on the packaging to make HelloFresh more accessible. People with disabilities, or seniors who aren't as mobile as they once were, could really benefit from having a service like this bringing fresh, nutritious food to their door, but there's no way anyone with impaired hand function could open those teensy tiny bottles. Overall these are two relatively minor things and they in no way diminished my enjoyment of the meals or my appreciation of HelloFresh as a service.
Use promo code HILLARY60 and see for yourself how HelloFresh Canada takes the angst out of dinnertime.