Thursday, 9 March 2017

A Mom Certified Review of HelloFresh Canada

Have you ever heard of the meal subscription boxes that deliver to your door? I'm pretty sure I had a dream involving fresh meals arriving at my home and then also, that I lived on a beach. 

Last week at least half those dreams came true when I received a HelloFresh Canada Pronto Plan Box! You know that feeling when your package arrives from whatever online store you love? Times that by three meals' worth of locally sourced ingredients prepped and instructions included in a refrigerated haven and you'll understand how I felt.

Do you hear angels singing?

If you check out the HelloFresh site, you'll see that you can choose from three different plans, Family friendly, the Pronto (30 minutes or under prep time) or the Veggie Plan. The ingredients and instructions for the meals of your choice are prepped and delived to your door! Since my toddlers randomly decide to eat or not eat things depending on the wind and the schedule of the moon, I went for the fastest prep time, the Pronto Plan.

You guys, I'm not a photographer and I'm a decent cook. I care much less about meal presentation and much more about food that tastes good and that my kids will eat. Since I like cooking and I am at home with my kids, I normally have time to grocery shop, but something happens in a home with kids under 5 at around 4:30 pm. I believe the common term is the witching hour. If I don't have a plan, both my kids melting down results in macaroni and cheese or take-out, FAST. Feeding my family healthy meals is important to me but even when I do plan, I tend to pick the same dishes over and over. 

Here's a real-life recap of our three meals. 

Meal One: Rosemary Beef Skewers with Garlic Ciabatta and Charred Veggies.

This meal was made easier by the option to not skewer the meat... although since my toddlers love "meat popsicles," it was a gamble. I tested out the Pronto Box for two people but I found the meals were generous enough to feed us and our toddlers. In this meal, I added a few extra veggies (zucchini) to bridge the gap.

Random thoughts:

Why am I not broiling everything in my life all the time? YUM!

 All the garlic everything. Yes please.

 Kids love bread. Actually, let's be honest, who doesn't love bread?

This meal was quick, delicious and I feel like I can easily recreate it on my own. It uses ingredients we normally eat and just mixed up the way it was prepared. My family loved it. The only ingredient I used from my kitchen was a dash of oil and the clean-up was minimal. 5 Stars. 

Meal Two: Crispy Chicken Katsu with Wasabi Mayo and Honey-Sesame Sweet Potatoes

Chicken (especially breaded chicken) and any form of fries are a hit with my kids so keeping the Wasabi mayo on the side helped make this meal family friendly.

The portions were sizeable and the meal was tasty and an easy different spin on chicken fingers. 

Meal Three: Jalapeño Cornbread Pie with Pork and Collard Greens

Nathan made our second and third meal of the week, which was fantastic for me! In this dish, he (mournfully) left out the jalapeño pepper to placate the tiny humans. He's not super concerned about presentation...

... but the end result was delicious and quick. 

I rarely buy ground pork but was impressed with the quality of the meat and brilliance of this dish.

Despite the tantalizing cornbread topping, the three-year-old refused to try this meal at all. One in three is about my success rate anyway so we were unperturbed. The 20-month old LOVED this meal.


So how did it go? 

Here's what I loved:

Not thinking about which veggies, spices or sauces to add to meals was liberating. Opening a box that instructed me how to cook and prepare delicious food was really fun and motivating for me. Since the ingredients were all fresh, I'll be recreating these meals in our future. I have not been broiling meat or veggies but after the rosemary beef skewers, I'll be doing so regularly.

Nathan can cook and is willing to cook but needs a plan. This box was the perfect option for when he's cooking. He creates delicious meals and doesn't have to think about it. Total win for our family. 

If we were both working outside the home, this would be a game changer. Since I'm at home, as long as I'm organized, it's not out of the realm of possibility that I can plan meals and prepare good food but when I get back to work in the fall, I could see this being a huge time and stress saver for our family. 

I love that the box is three meals a week. It leaves room for busy schedules, allows for leftovers and worked perfectly for days when the planning didn't happen.

Things to Consider:

No convenient fresh food service is going to be cheaper than doing your own grocery shopping and meal planning, but the convenience of this service is incredible. While it is a subscription service (you're charged weekly for three meals a week), you can cancel at any time with no minimum period of time, put it on hold if you're away and change up your meals whenever you want (Check out all the Frequently Asked Questions here). I will definitely be rotating it into our plans this year, especially when I know I'll be away for a week.

Would I Do it Again? 

Yes, I would and I would absolutely recommend it. Keep in mind, you still have to MAKE these meals. If you're looking for a service where you pop a ready-made-meal in the oven, this isn't it. However, if you're looking for creative, fresh, easy cooking? This is the service for you. 

 The HelloFresh Pronto Plan has also inspired me to be more intentional with my meal planning and prep. Cutting up meat and veggies in advance and even printing off some recipes the week prior makes all the difference to my meal time confidence during that dreaded 5 pm child-meltdown hour. The four-person box would have allowed for a full meal of leftovers for the next day's lunch for our family and I can't wait to try a few other meals I'm eying on the HelloFresh Canada menu. 

Ummmm... YUM! Turns out I'm not the only one eying up the other options.

If you're considering checking out HelloFresh Canada, you can use the code ABBIE 50 for 50% off your first box

I'd love to hear how you liked it and if you have any questions about the service or my experience, let me know below!

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