*This post was not sponsered in anyway*
Life is busy – work, family, exercise and social life. There seems to less and less time to shop, meal plan and cook.
I love cooking, but to be honest on busy, stressful weeks I sometimes wish there was someone else to take care of the planning and shopping. Are ingredients boxes helpful?
As a dietitian, I’m often asked for advice to help people take the stress out of the food component of life. For this reason exactly, I decided to trial a few different Meal Kits from HelloFresh, Marley Spoon and My Food Bag. Here is how they compared:
Meal kits are great as a nice break to a busy life- a great way to reduce stress and simplify things. They are super easy; the meal planning and shopping is done for you; the groceries are brought right to your door.
The recipes included great photos of your meal and were very easy to follow. Even as a dietitian, I felt that they taught me some great new recipes. I enjoy reading and finding new recipes, but don’t often have the time to try new things. Using the Ingredient Boxes forced me to try new recipes and I have enjoyed making them since finishing the trial.
If you are not a confident cook, these boxes might also help to get you back into the kitchen. I credit Hello Fresh for teaching Mr Foost how to cook more than baked beans, egg and rice 🙂
Personally I preferred having just 4 meals a week come in the box (some gave you the option of two to five). The four meals seemed to last the week with leftovers. We also like going out as a family, so really didn’t need to plan all dinners. And we are also happy with a simple omelette meal once a week. I felt four meals gave me most flexibility.
All of the meal kits have lots of packaging, which is not a big deal if it is an occasional thing but does add up. I kept some of the packaging so that if I use the boxes again, I can return the packaging for re-use (which is preferred I believe).
They are a bit expensive and really didn’t have quite enough vegetables . My tips are use these Meal Kits as a base of your week, but buy some more COLOURFUL vegetables that you can add to the meals (frozen vegetables work well as a quick option). I made a quick salad with every meal. When it called for roast potatoes, I through in other veggies as well. This was also good for my kids as every night was a new food so I used the salad or roast veggies as the familiar/safe food for them.
It doesn’t come with fruit to snack on but some give you the option to buy a fruit box. You still need to get things like bread and milk as the boxes are just a dinner thing.
Comparing ingredients boxes:
Out of the three I tried, Hello Fresh was definitely the easiest and quickest in terms of cooking skill. Marley Spoon was a little fancier with more veg (but did dirty more dishes). With both Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon you could choose which recipes you wanted send from a few options which I liked but My Food Bag is set (but they do have some different bag choices).
You need about 20-40 minutes to cook them. So great if you are at work and come home and want to quickly prepare a meal. A little trickier if you have little ones and it’s witching hour and you want to prepare dinner earlier. For that maybe check out our magic pudding meal idea blog.
There are also companies starting to produce these boxes including Aussie Famers Direct and there are lots of internet codes out there so you can give them a try at a reduced cost.
In summary, Meal Kits are a fantastic, easy and quick option for busy weeks. We love that they encourage people to cook and eat fresh foods (and reduce stress). Big tick of approval from us.