Meal Kit Subscription Reviews by a Foodie Mom

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meal kitI am a short-order cook mom. My 18-month-old isn’t ready for an adult meal, and my 5-year-old eats healthy (finally), but like a bird. Every night I remind myself that the important thing is that they are eating.

I have found ways to turn the tide with my picky eater, which you can read more about here. But, that leaves mom and dad.

We are foodies and we love to explore new foods. Life with two littles means we don’t eat out often (our wallet is thankful), and we are both working parents so we don’t have much time to be creative in the kitchen.

3 Meal Kit Reviews

Blue Apron had a lot of packaging waste.

I finally gave in to those Facebook ads pushing the meal kits and tried three options over the last six months. I did the hard work so you can benefit from my experiences.

It all started with a Hello Fresh Meal Kit we bought at Fareway. It was a peppercorn steak dish and one of the most amazing meals we’ve made in our home. It sold me on jumping into this experiment.

Blue Apron

What attracted me to Blue Apron was how they cater to specific diets. I am currently failing at the Weight Watchers diet, but that month we ordered only WW friendly meals that had the points already figured out for me. YUM! They were SO delicious and incorporated a lot of different flavors to make those WW 0 point ingredients taste better. But, this one definitely had the most packaging waste and was only moderately priced.

Marley Spoon

I wish this had smell-o-vision!

This is best known as “that Martha Stewart meal kit subscription.” Like Blue Apron, this one seemed to have more packaging waste, but it won in flavors. My favorite cookbook is a Martha Stewart cookbook so I was excited to try this one. Everything was there for taste, but these dishes took a lot longer to prepare and were much more involved. This was also the most expensive kit, by far. We really enjoyed the result of these meals, but it wasn’t a long-term solution for us.

Hello Fresh

Spoiler alert: I saved our favorite for last. I’ll admit, Hello Fresh recipes are generally the least adventurous when it comes to taste, but they are by far the most affordable, user-friendly option. They also had the least amount of packaging and food waste. They are also relatively easy dishes to make, unlike the first two. While we loved the flavors in the first two, I ultimately preferred a 30-45 minute cooking time over culinary explorations. Hello Fresh also has options to buy a gourmet meal, try a dish from their Hall of Fame, and they have calorie smart options. The chili rellenos dish from their Hall of Fame was our absolute favorite meal from all of the kits.

Meal Kit Benefits

Overall, I appreciated the benefits of having the exact ingredients you need for your meal. I’m definitely guilty of forgetting about a bag of carrots sitting in the back of the fridge, then feeling crushed when I have to throw rotten food away.

A meal kit ensures portion control, no extra food (I hate leftovers), and limited food waste. Not to mention the freedom of not having to plan your meal nor shop for the ingredients. We can explore new tastes, I have a newfound obsession with shallots, and I now make crema for every Mexican dish we have.

Meal Kit Results

We are taking in two recipes every other week through Hello Fresh. We need a week where all we make is spaghetti, taco meat, or grill meat. We are able to split up the cooking on some of these dishes. My husband might cook the meat while I prep all of the ingredients, cutting our prep time in half.

These are not the only three meal subscriptions out there. There is also Green Chef, Home Chef, and our local grocery stores have even started packaging their own kits.

Have you tried any meal kits I didn’t mention? What did you think?

Since Hello Fresh was the winner in my book, email me at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to share some free meals with you!

meal kit

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Niki grew up in Earlham, Iowa and now lives with her husband Ryan, daughter Riley, and son Merritt in Johnston. Riley has an observant stare that inspired the Facebook page Riley Is Not Impressed. Niki is an assistant director of public relations, social media at Drake University where she runs the university’s main social media accounts. She is also the director of the world-famous Beautiful Bulldog Contest. She has an Olde English Bulldog named Dexter, but he is ineligible to compete because she already knows he’s the most beautiful bulldog. She serves as President on the Board of Directors for Animal Lifeline of Iowa, which is a special needs, no-kill animal shelter. Niki is a two-time graduate of Drake University with a bachelor’s in journalism (2008) and a Master’s in Communication Leadership (2015).

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