& HelloFresh tips

I expressed my frustration with meal planning recently, so I figured it was time to finally pull this post together and share my experience with HelloFresh, as well as some tips I’ve learned along the way.

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Towards the end of the summer, a friend of mine shared a promo code for a free HelloFresh box. I had been intrigued by these meal subscription programs for quite some time so I decided to go for it.

I was immediately impressed with the packaging. The ice packs were more than sufficient for keeping the meat cold, the meat was safely separated from the rest of the food, everything was definitively labeled, and most importantly, the packaging for refrigerated items was long & sleek, making it storage friendly until used.

I was equally impressed with the quality of the food, and the ease of the recipes. That said, I ended up cancelling after two boxes. It just didn’t seem cost effective, and I was still doing so much grocery shopping because I wasn’t doing any planning ahead.

HelloFresh then called me just after the new year, and offered me a lower rate. So I went for it again. But this time I made it a point to browse the website, download the app, and really educate myself on how to get the best value from this service.

Because I know that we could all use a little break from doing all of the shopping, prepping, cooking, etc. I thought I’d share my tips for getting the most out of your HelloFresh subscription:

  • Download the app. If you’re anything like me, having an app available means that I might actually remember to do something with it as I’m scrolling through my phone, looking for excuses not to get out of bed in the morning. Instagram, email, Facebook, Snapchat, work email, HelloFresh.
  • Pause menus that don’t interest you and/or are cheap to make on your own. At the very least you can use the meal idea as inspiration, but I tend to pause weeks that include pasta as a main dish, particularly if it doesn’t include much in the way of vegetables or proteins. On the other hand, I almost always opt for meals containing beef, as it tends to be rather expensive to purchase at the grocery store.

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  • Think about the full meal. One of my very favorite HelloFresh meals was Apple Turkey Burgers. Not only were the burgers great, but it included 4 buns, potatoes for roasting as one side, and the makings for a sizeable salad. If I were making this meal with ingredients purchased from the grocery store, I would have undoubtedly ended up with too many buns, leaving me scrambling to find a way to use them or (most likely) tossing them in the garbage later that week. So I like to choose menus that involve a meal, a side, a salad, etc. rather than just one dish I’m throwing everything into.
  • Customize your menu. If you have the family plan, you get to choose two out of three weekly options. If you go with the classic plan, you get even more options to choose from. Again, this was something I didn’t realize I could do at first, so when I got the full menu card with three awesome looking meals, but didn’t get the one that looked the best, I was always a little disappointed. Then I learned that I get to pick, by simply clicking on the meals that I want in my box! You can make changes up until three days prior to receiving your box. *I initially went with the family plan, but recently switched to the classic plan for a little more variety. The boys may or may not eat what we’re eating, depending on the day, so I decided to go this route for a bit and see how I like it.*

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  • Work it into your regular meal plan. If you’re already pretty great at meal planning, but have some busy days on the horizon, you can totally work your HelloFresh delivery into your regular plan. You choose what day you’d like it delivered, and you can plan that around anything that might interrupt your usual meals. Additionally, there is a “Quick” option under the Subscription info that will ensure the recipes you get are as quick as they come!
  • Manage your subscription. If your current plan isn’t working for you, you can change it up. Not in the mood for seafood? Want some lighter options? All can be managed through the website or the app.

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PROS:

  • the instructions are clear & concise
  • once you have the recipes, they are yours…some of them are pretty run-of-the-mill, but others are something I may not have tried
  • the meals come together quickly
  • the packaging is clean and storage friendly, and includes food tips that don’t necessarily pertain to your current meals, just general tidbits of info
  • fresh, long-lasting meat and produce
  • common allergens are clearly listed under the weekly menus

CONS:

  • the packaging isn’t super environmentally friendly, however, it continues to improve with each box we receive. It seems I’m not the only one that took issue with it.
  • the cost. The convenience is obviously the key here, and you certainly pay for it, which is worth it sometimes. But it is definitely possible to buy all of these ingredients at your regular grocery store for cheaper, but then you have to do all of the measuring and prepping yourself. And time is money!

So I’ve decided to keep my subscription, especially now that I have a better understanding of the website and pausing/customizing my boxes. I think that, occasionally, it’s okay to get not just groceries delivered to my doorstep, but the exact amounts of everything I need, neatly packaged, and ready for me to easily prepare. We have to cut ourselves some slack sometimes, right?

Grab one of the promo codes for a free box below to try it yourself, and let me know what you think!

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*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive discounts on future orders. However, I did not receive compensation for writing this post, and as always, all opinions are my own.

 

 

& I don’t even know.

Eating nachos at 10am is a totally normal Sunday morning thing, right? Because that’s what I found myself doing this morning and gosh, I would really just like some normalcy this week. I was so exhausted by the time we put the boys to bed Friday night that I didn’t even have the energy to make or drink a much-needed and well-deserved cocktail. It’s been a week here, friends.

I put the boys down for a nap this morning, even though they don’t take morning naps anymore. It was partially because they needed it and partially because I needed it. Because after this doozy of a week I was just looking forward to a leisurely Sunday with shared parenting duties, as weekends should allow. Maybe a solo grocery shopping trip, some food prep for the week ahead, stuff like that. But just after midnight, Justin woke up with the stomach flu…

But let’s back up to Tuesday afternoon when Nolan started vomiting. A lot. The dog ate it. Theo played in it. I wore it. I was home from work because it was too icy for my mom to drive in that morning. I also had to miss work Monday (but worked from home) because we were iced in at my parents’. Oh, and I also had to miss work Wednesday (I normally don’t work Wednesdays but was trying to get in some hours since I had to miss Monday & Tuesday) because I didn’t want our nanny to be exposed to the stomach flu & I felt like I was coming down with it too. Ohhhh, and I also had to miss my scheduled work-from-home hours Thursday because 2/3 of our daycare provider’s kids were sick. Friday was somewhat normal. I was absolutely beat, but I got a lot accomplished. Nobody was sick, and everyone got to where they needed to be for the day. I made dinner. Everyone ate and kept it down.

Saturday was sorta normal too, except Nolan was super fussy, then ended up being awake most of the night. Theo slept through the night (which is unheard of) and then took a 3 hour nap (also never happens), and is currently napping again (NEVER happens) so with any luck he’s sleeping off any chance he has of getting this flu bug.

I suppose I might even start vomiting at some point too, huh? Not that it matters. Moms don’t get sick days. My husband was in bed for 19 hours straight, minus getting up to barf, but if I get sick I’m sure he’ll just go to work and I’ll just have to mom and be sick at the same time. That’s how it works, right?

Okay, my bitterness is starting to show. My exhaustion. My defeat. My NEED FOR A VACATION. It’s showing, isn’t it?

What I came here to say is that we had a yucky week. A week I’m not sad to send off. But it could be worse. It could be SO MUCH WORSE. We are, despite this double round of the stomach flu, healthy. We are happy. We have a roof over our heads. We have clothes on our backs and food in our bellies (some of us more than others). And even in the midst of the crappiness of our week, there were shiny moments.

I washed all the bedding, hung some pictures, and cleaned two rooms. All in the same day. Nolan had to test out the fresh bedding for me.

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I sort of accidentally agreed to renew my HelloFresh membership and a box showed up on our doorstep Wednesday. We had this yummy beef stir fry for dinner Friday night and I was reminded of just how easily these meals come together, no matter how intimidated I am.

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We’ve been talking about vacation a lot. And it got the best of us yesterday. A late lunch of Coronita and nachos was necessary. Obviously these were pretty good since I had them (albeit a much smaller version- and no beer, but that would’ve been a good idea) for breakfast again today!

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Nolan was so happy to see Theo when he woke up from his nap, that he basically forced his Cheerios on him. Theo isn’t one to say no to Cheerios, so he ate them while half sleeping. It was probably a lot sweeter in person than it is appearing in this photo, huh?

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And lastly, Nolan was looking just so sweet in his grey knee socks & Packers jersey combo!

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And you know what, there were so many other shiny moments I didn’t catch on camera. We’ll get over this flu bug. Life will continue as normal some day soon. I’m sure of it. Heck, we might even get to go on that vacation. I’m choosing eternal optimism in my head, even if I’m not really showing it right now. Tomorrow is a new day!