We Tried HelloFresh: A Dietitian’s Review

HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service that offers weekly shipments of recipes and groceries that allow you to make easy and appealing meals at home.

The service is a great way to reduce the burden of meal planning and grocery shopping. It’s also a good option if you enjoy cooking but simply don’t have enough time for extensive meal prep.

What’s more, the service is reasonably priced and offers family-friendly recipes. However, it may not be ideal for those with special dietary needs.

As a registered dietitian and mom of two, I tried 1 week of HelloFresh to better help you decide whether HelloFresh is right for your household.

Keep reading to find out how HelloFresh works and whether I’d recommend it over similar services.

HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service that ships weekly boxes of fresh ingredients along with recipes to help make mealtime easier.

The boxes contain pre-portioned ingredients for preparing your meals, including sauces, seasonings, and garnishes.

You can choose a meal plan and allow HelloFresh to choose which meals you receive, or you can select from more than 20 rotating recipes to build a custom menu.

You can also skip a week at any time.

Meal selection

HelloFresh offers six meal plans to choose from:

  • Meat & Veggies: a variety of meals that include meat and vegetables
  • Veggie: plant-based meals that are vegetarian but not necessarily vegan
  • Family Friendly: quick, easy-to-prepare, kid-approved options
  • Calorie-Smart: meals that have around 650 calories or less per serving
  • Quick and Easy: meals that can be cooked in 30 minutes or less
  • Pescatarian: meals featuring seafood but no other animal proteins

Within each of these categories, there’s also a bit of room for customization, such as choosing to avoid beef, pork, or seafood.

Additionally, you can select meals from other meal plans.

For example, if you’re on the Calorie-Smart meal plan but see a Family Friendly dish you’d like to try, you can easily swap out a meal to include that recipe in your shipment.

HelloFresh also discloses allergens, including gluten, but does not currently offer dedicated gluten-free or allergen-free menus.

diet friendliness

With the exception of vegetarian, pescatarian, and reduced calorie diets, HelloFresh does not cater to specialized diets.

The service offers a variety of meals that may align with your personal dietary needs but leaves it up to you to decide whether each recipe is a good fit.

Additionally, HelloFresh is not ideal if you’re strictly following a vegan, paleo, or keto diet, because many of the recipe options don’t meet the requirements of these diets.

For instance, I generally follow a low carb or keto diet.

While HelloFresh does offer some lower carb options, many of their meals feature rice, potatoes, or pasta.

I was able to replace these with keto-friendly alternatives, like cauliflower or zucchini noodles, for myself, but doing this required planning and spending extra time in the kitchen.

Additionally, if you follow a gluten-free or allergen-free diet, you may prefer a meal delivery service that caters specifically to these dietary needs.

weight loss

While weight loss is no guarantee when using HelloFresh, one of the meal plans it offers is the Calorie-Smart option.

Each of the meals on this plan clocks in at about 650 calories per serving, and according to the HelloFresh website, the meals are dietitian-approved.

If you’re eating at a calorie deficit, then you are likely to lose weight.

The calorie-controlled meals on HelloFresh’s Calorie-Smart plan may help you reach this goal. However, weight loss is not a guarantee, even if you’re receiving Calorie-Smart meals (one).

According to its website, HelloFresh focuses on sourcing high quality ingredients. The company includes fresh produce with most recipes, and some of the items are organic.

According to the company’s website, HelloFresh also sources hormone-free chicken and pork, as well as sustainable, “ocean-friendly” seafood.

What’s more, HelloFresh features appealing and interesting flavors across a variety of regional cuisines.

Here are some examples of recipes on its weekly menu:

  • Pork Sausage Rigatoni in a Creamy Sauce
  • Zucchini and Mushroom Bibimbap Bowls
  • Salsa Verde Enchiladas
  • Pork Schnitzel
  • Buffalo Spiced Chickpea Bowls
  • Caramelized Apple Cheddar Melts

Many of the ingredients are sent completely fresh, so you’ll need to prep the veggies and prepare simple sauces using the ingredients you receive.

When I received my box, I took a look at all the produce. The green onions were a little wilted but still very much usable, and some of the baby potatoes were slightly bruised but also still usable. The meat all looked fresh.

Here are the ingredients for the Cheesy Smothered Mushroom Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Carrots, along with a picture of the prepared meal:

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Cheesy Smothered Mushroom Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Carrots

HelloFresh has a goal of promoting positive experiences in the kitchen. It claims that adult of any skill level can cook the recipes it provides using relatively simple methods and common kitchen items.

I was really impressed with the recipe cards in particular, as they include:

  • large, full-color step-by-step photos
  • a list of the kitchen tools and staple ingredients you’ll need
  • one or two helpful tips for prep
  • an estimated prep time

I consider myself a pretty advanced home cook, and I found that I was able to prepare the recipes in the time stated on the recipe card.

However, some recipes require a bit of multitasking — veggies in the oven while both rice and meat are cooking on the stovetop — which may be difficult or overwhelming if you’re new to cooking.

Plus, because you’re using multiple pots and pans, some recipes require a good amount of cleanup time.

Luckily, HelloFresh has a solution for both of these concerns with its “One Pot Wonder” meals.

HelloFresh costs about $8–11 per person, per meal. You can get the lowest price per serving by ordering the largest plan size: five recipes per week for four people.

HelloFresh’s most popular plan size is three recipes per week for two people. This works out to $8.99 per serving, or about $55 per week, plus the cost of shipping.

Speaking of which, shipping is a standard $8.99 per box.

However, HelloFresh regularly offers new users free shipping and a discount on their first shipment or several shipments.

Meals are delivered weekly and typically arrive 1 or 2 days after they have been shipped.

Ingredients arrive in insulated boxes with ice packs to keep them safe and cool for several hours. Therefore, there’s no need to worry if your box arrives while you’re at work or running errands.

Except for meats, the ingredients for each meal are neatly packaged in paper bags inside the insulated cooler. The meats are underneath the bags, separated from the rest of the food by a piece of cardboard and ice packs.

The recipe cards are outside of the insulated liner, so they don’t get wet.

HelloFresh is a great fit for families or households that don’t have any specific dietary needs, like gluten-free or strict vegan.

The service offers a wide variety of dishes each week, with at least a few that are likely to appeal to picky eaters or children.

HelloFresh is also a great choice if you want to learn how to cook. The recipes are fairly simple and typically come together in about 30 minutes.

The recipe cards are extremely detailed and include photos, so it’s likely that you will be able to successfully cook the meals even if you’re totally new to cooking.

Getting started with HelloFresh is simple, as the website walks you through the process.

First, you’ll select your desired meal plan and size. Keep in mind that regardless of the plan you select, you can always pick and choose recipes from other plans as well.

Next, you’ll enter your payment details and select your first week of meals.

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HelloFresh allows you to customize your plan by your diet type and plan size.

Once you have entered all your information, you’ll be assigned a weekly delivery day.

Just keep in mind that shipments arrive weekly any time between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, so your box may arrive after dinnertime.

It’s also worth noting that if you don’t skip the week or choose your meals by 5 days prior to your next delivery day, HelloFresh will automatically select your meals for you.

While this may not be a downside for some, it can be helpful to set a reminder to check your account before this deadline each week so you can pick your own meals or avoid unwanted charges.

Similarly, while it’s easy to cancel your subscription online, make sure to do so at least 5 days prior to your next shipment.

Customers are generally happy with HelloFresh. In most instances where there is an issue with an order or with ingredients, reviewers say customer service at HelloFresh is extremely helpful and responsive.

However, some common themes in negative reviews are produced arriving in poor condition, missing ingredients, and difficulty canceling the service.

HelloFresh offers weekly meal kits for two or four people. You can select 2–6 recipes each week.

The six meal plans are Meat & Veggies, Veggie (vegetarian), Family Friendly, Fit & Wholesome, Quick and Easy, and Pescatarian. However, you don’t have to stick strictly to the meal plan you choose. You can select from the full menu each week.

This table compares and contrasts HelloFresh with four other popular meal kit delivery services.

Note that this table includes only meal kit delivery services, not services that deliver fully prepared meals.

Several potential competitors will ship completely cooked and assembled meals to your door, including BistroMD, Fresh n’ Lean, and Freshly.

I really enjoyed my HelloFresh box, and it’s definitely something I’d try again during a busy season. It saves a lot of time on meal planning and grocery shopping, which may be a big plus for a lot of households.

There are tons of options to choose from each week, so you’ll probably find something that appeals to your family.

They also have several kid-friendly recipes — the Meatballs with Bulgogi Sauce was particularly a hit with my 5-year-old.

However, if your household follows a specific diet, like keto, paleo, or vegan, it may not be the best fit. instead, Green Chef, which is owned by HelloFresh, may be a better option.

Additionally, if HelloFresh is out of your budget, you may want to look into EveryPlate. It’s also owned by HelloFresh and offers meals at a flat $4.99 per serving.

How much does HelloFresh actually cost?

HelloFresh prices per serving vary based on how many servings you order each week. Larger orders have a lower price per serving.

For example, 2 meals for 2 people costs $47.96, or $11.99 per serving. However, 6 meals for 4 people costs $191.76, or $7.99 per serving.

Shipping is $9.99 per week.

Can you cancel HelloFresh after the free trial?

HelloFresh does not offer free trials, although they offer promos for new users. You can cancel your account at any time, regardless of whether you used any promotional offers.

Can you cancel HelloFresh after 1 box?

Yes, you can cancel your HelloFresh subscription at any time.

Can I cancel HelloFresh after the first order?

Yes, you can cancel your HelloFresh subscription at any time.

Does HelloFresh charge when you skip a week?

No, you will not be charged for weeks that you skip. However, you must skip before that week’s deadline to edit your order or you will be charged and your box will be shipped.

HelloFresh is a moderately priced meal kit service that delivers appealing recipes with a focus on fresh ingredients, simple cooking methods, and bold flavors.

It’s a solid option if you enjoy cooking but also value the convenience of a meal kit.

While HelloFresh is more affordable than many of its competitors, including Sunbasket and Green Chef, it’s not a great fit if you have strict dietary needs or preferences.

Overall, I recommend HelloFresh if you’re looking for easy and flavorful meals delivered to your doorstep.

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