Meal kits yea or nay?

For me, making creative sides to serve with grilled protein is a challenge… maybe I should give these vegan entrees a shot :wink: Shipping veggies should be more environmentally friendly than proteins because no freezing is needed. Are these shipped room temperature or do they still include those freezer blocks?

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I’ve tried Hello Fresh and it was good. H thought his meals were better, so we only ordered for a month or so. A friend of ours recommended a local chef who started an online food service. They deliver or you can pick up. He uses fresh, local ingredients. Pricing is interesting. You get a total, which is the cost of the food/labor, and then after you get your food, you pay via Venmo or Paypal and you have the option of adding extra if you liked the meal.

I tried Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Dinnerly, Green Chef, and MarleySpoon starting back in September when D20 went off to college. I wasn’t sure if I could remember how much to buy and make for just 2 people. After some hits and misses, we still get Hello Fresh and MarleySpoon on alternating weeks. I love that I just have to choose what looks good and don’t have to scour the market for ingredients or fresh produce. We have almost no food waste. After a lengthy conversation, we opted to continue our current system through the summer, increasing from 2 servings to 4 to accommodate D. So far, so good and we even have an extra portion we can split for lunch the next day. I was so excited because MarleySpoon just released some new summer meals that use the grill. I am looking forward to a grilled salmon with peach and tomato salad (I agree it sounds funny but everything is always perfectly curated and compliments the other components so we’ll see)


Overall, we have loved these!
However, we cancelled when our shipment arrived late 3 times!
They would send an “I’m sorry” notice at 4pm. I was working long hours at the time, so it was pizza for dinner those nights.

The FAQ for purple carrot does state that they come with ice packs. I’m not sure why because there’s no meat.

And they also talk about recyclability and sustainability

I think that sounds delicious!

I’ve received two Dinnerly boxes and haven’t been thrilled with either one. But that’s my daughter’s favorite. They are the cheaper version of Marley Spoon. So you like Marley Spoon?

Love it!! But I was always a big Martha Stewart fan, even as a teenager. I was disappointed in Dinnerly but honestly, I think it’s because we had the more expensive ones first. Every meal looks and tastes like something you would have gotten from a restaurant and DH is anyways commenting on how high quality the meats and fish are. We have had very few issues with late deliveries or missing ingredients but the once or twice I had to call, they were quick to remedy the situation.

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Closest we have ever come to meal kits are when my 94 yo piano teacher gets her weekly shipments of Meals on Wheels…

Sunbasket for us. I’ve become lazy and mostly order the heat and eat ones. This week, there were 18 to pick from. The meal kits needing assembly/cooking by me were fine. This week, there were 20 options in the meal kits. I’ve never had any reason to complain about the quality of the ingredients. Really like the variety of choices to pick from, be it low carb, keto, etc., and like being able to select the protein I like in most dishes. SB recently added a lot of a la carte items: choose breakfast (eggs, cereal, juices, smoothies, coffee), lunch (salads, noodle bowls, soups, pizzas), Pasta and sauces, Proteins (seafood, meat, poultry, plant based, cooked & cured); and Snacks (chips, veggies & dips, cheese, nuts, seeds and sweet treats).

I also appreciate the ease of skipping a week whenever; the ability to order more meals than scheduled for; the ability to pick something different for H than I like; I like receiving text & email to remind me to make choices by Monday. WRT costs…I’d be spending MAYBE less if I had to get the ingredients at the store? Maybe. I think it’s a good deal. And…using my Amex offers, I have gotten $110 back this year. From my Chase cards, almost $28 back from their rewards. It is easy to switch my cards back and forth on SB.

The not so good: a few times, my delivery arrived at 8pm… Not good when I’d planned on having that for dinner! Not SB’s fault, …but annoying.
The packaging. SB does try to be eco friendly. The “ice” packs get melted and put in our food waste can. The cardboard boxes go into recycling. Sometimes the packaging in the box is shredded newspaper in an envelope, which gets recycled. The fun packaging is the recycled blue jeans pads. These go to my favorite dog rescue place! BUT…it is still a LOT of packaging.
My two cents…

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I cook to relax, so the kits are not for me (and even when the shipping materials are completely compostable, there’s still the environmental issue of shipping itself, for me)

But we got a Home Chef giftcard for my oldest, and he really loves it and it has taught him all sorts of cooking skills he resisted learning. #StealthMom . It was good because it didn’t require him to have a subscription or anything, or even input a credit card.

We also gave a Home Chef giftcard to a friend whose wife had terminal cancer. It gave him something to do unrelated to caregiving and grieving, but he had more control than if we had given him 3 months of casseroles.

I collected money from his friends, and then a mutual friend gave a huge gift so he’s still cooking for himself in the aftermath, and posting photos for us all to see.


@BunsenBurner - they (Purple Carrot & Green Chef) use some ice blocks that are reusable, and when done properly (they provide instructions), are also recyclable - I have a neighbor who uses them for her work so she picks up many of them, but friends have snagged a few (and I’ve saved a few as well) for picnic baskets.

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@deb922 - there are some perishables (Veganaise comes to mind) as well as to keep the produce cool/cold during shipping/transit so that it stays fresh

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I’ve been using blue apron for several years and am pretty happy. They have made enhancements over the years with more healthy choices including ww meals and more choices. During the early months of the pandemic it was good to get the delivery both for not needing to go shopping for those items and knowing we could get some fresh ingredients delivered each week.

I like to cook but dislike meal planning as someone said above. I wish there wasn’t so much plastic but there really aren’t that many things individually packaged, most of the produce is loose. I like the variety of ingredients and cooking techniquest in BA. I find the prep times they give accurate, and can pick from the meals for a shorter or longer time available. Although they now have grilling as an option on some recipes, I had been doing that anyway.

There was an episode of modern marvels recently inside their factory which was interesting.

We tried Hello Fresh several years ago and I found their meals simpler which was a negative for me.


I received an advertisement in the mail this week for a meal subscription for DOGS.

I got that, too, and I don’t even have a dog!!!

Is there a kit that would be good for preparing meals quickly? Eldest D is a master’s student and often is eating on the fly. I was considering getting her a trial to one of these companies as a gift. She is a pretty good cook but the issue is time. Recommendations?

In my limited experience (have tried 4 different ones) I know Hello Fresh and Sunbasket both have “quick” options. Hello Fresh has “20 minutes or less” and Sunbasket has “Fresh and Ready” you just heat up. The Factor75 ones were pre-cooked but I didn’t care for them. Blue Apron was the most complex to prepare, so while the food was the best, it took a lot of time to prepare them.