Have you heard of these pre-measured, cook-at-home, dinner-kits-in-a-box? Well I hadn’t until I was chatting with a friend about my biggest enemy: dinner. More specifically, making dinner… She suggested I try one of these dinner in a box services. I did and it saved me! It saved my sanity! It saved me from having little bald patches on my head!
With twin toddlers at home, my priority was hanging out with my boys, but I still had to feed them.
I found myself making the same 6 meals over and over and I was getting super sick of it. The planning, the preparation, the food. I was over all of it. I tried to find recipes that made quick and easy meals, so that I didn’t take too much time away from my boys. The result was that I was still killing myself trying to get dinners planned, prepared, and that weren’t totally BORING. I was so desperate for a change that I had even thought about asking my husband to pick up a meal or two during the week, but I didn’t want to take away his time from the boys either, he only had so much time with them after getting home from work and before their bed time.
So I tried Green Chef. There are several of these companies out there these days: Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Plated, etc. (do a search for “Dinner Kit in a Box” and you’ll see the whole list of them). They have different pros and cons, but basically they all offer the same service. You pick whether you want meals for 2, 4, or 6 people. You can get vegetarian or carnivore meals, or a mix of both (which is what we get). They can usually support specific diet needs too, e.g. gluten, paleo, etc. I also tried Blue Apron, but didn’t like the format of their recipe cards as much, but the two services are basically the same.
Here are some of the reasons why I love these dinner services:
- We get the meals for 2 and I can usually stretch it out to also feed my 2 two-year-olds. Occasionally I’ll have to add a side frozen viggie or a fruit for them, but not often.
- My boys get to try a lot of different kinds of food! Instead of doing the same meal over and over, the different flavors of food that come each week introduce the boys to Mexican, Asian, Italian, French, etc. They always try it and they usually love it. If they don’t, well at least they tired, but I like to think it’s helping them develop a more well rounded palate.
- The food is all organic. I’m no organic-only nazi, but if I can have us eat more organic, I will.
- The packaging is either recyclable or compostable. If it wasn’t, I would feel very wasteful!
- Pricing wise, it’s either on-par or sometimes even cheaper than if I tried to make the same meal at home, as they send you only the food you need to make the meal. For example, if a meal needs a specific spice, they will send me only the amount I need instead of me having to buy a whole jar that will eventually just get stale in my cabinet and be thrown away in three years when I declare “what are all of these spices anyways? Clearly I never use them. When did these expire? I’m throwing them out!”
- It’s easy to cancel a week or two if you’re out of town or not interested in what meals are coming up. Some of you may remember that I have some food issues, well, I can’t tell Green Chef not to send me stuff with cilantro. They don’t have a “no cilantro” option (sadly); however, it’s easy to log on every week or two, look at the recipes coming up and cancel, if I’m not interested (I do this on weeks that look particularly cilantro heavy).
- The meals are usually really good! Every once in awhile I’m not too excited about what comes and I think, “I’m not going to like that,” but I always try it and sometimes I am blown away by how good something is! For example, they sent me this recipe for vegetarian orange “chicken,” where they subbed chicken for cauliflower. I was very skeptical about how the cauliflower texture would turn out, but it was actually amazing and I loved it!
- The meals are easy to make and are usually around 30 minutes. Every once in awhile one will be 45 minutes, but that’s usually because of baking time, not so much “active” cooking time.