People who know me are aware that I am bad at eating. That’s not to say that I don’t eat – I do a lot of that. I’m just really no good at planning meals, shopping for ingredients and cooking. As a result my diet is fairly toast-based. Cooking for one also doesn’t help matters in my opinion. I find it hard to motivate myself to cook interesting, healthy meals just for me.
When I heard about recipe boxes I was in two minds. On one hand it sounded like quite a lazy option. I mean, just go to the shops people, how hard is that? Then I realised that that was very hard for some people. And me in fact. I never do a ‘big shop’. As a result I tend to eat badly and waste a lot. Not good.
So I found a handy voucher code online and smugly ordered myself a box from Hello Fresh. The process is very straight forward. I selected the veggie option and as far as I could see, I wasn’t given a choice on meals, which was actually fine with me as I liked the idea of being surprised and I’m not at all fussy. It should have been £35 but with some discount jiggery pokery I paid £11 for a box of three meals for two (so six meals for me!). Bravo. I also managed to do the same with Gousto – this time getting myself a box for £10!
What makes it better?
It’s exciting. When my first box arrived it felt like a culinary Christmas morning. I excitedly unpacked everything and laid it all out. The recipes I’d been sent looked delicious and I loved that I had been given the exact right amount of food to make them. There would definitely be no food waste!
The other thing I really loved was trying different things. I do love food and when I eat out I’m adventurous, but at home I’m really intimidated by new ingredients. The recipe cards were clear and easy to follow and the results were great. I mean seriously delicious. My horizons were expanded and I vow to no longer consist on toast alone.
Both companies pride themselves on being environmentally responsible and their websites are very comprehensive, offering information about their ethics and their suppliers. They argue that their services reduce food waste significantly. They also boast of convenience and balanced, healthy meals.
Is there a downside?
Yes. A few. I was troubled by the inevitable packaging. Both Hello Fresh and Gousto endeavour to use minimal packaging (none of the veg was plastic wrapped for example) but the fact that you receive the precise amount of spices, seeds, nuts, rice etc. you need means there are a few little plastic packets. As well as this, the ice packs that keep the delivery cool are plastic.
Secondly, it is very expensive compared to a normal shop. I doubt that without a discount code I’d be considering using this service regularly. Perhaps for a treat every few months.
Sadly, at this stage, the options are limited too. While Gousto offered more choice to vegetarians, neither company provided explicit vegan or gluten free options.
Also, although I really enjoyed the cooking, some of the dishes really weren’t speedy to prepare. I didn’t mind this but I can imagine it being frustrating if I had been in a rush.
My final issue (which could be a pro for some) was that the servings were ever so slightly too large for me. Obviously I ate them, but I did feel pretty stuffed afterwards!
Overall, I did really enjoy my little affair with recipe boxes and I’ll certainly stay on the look out for voucher codes for the odd treat week. I’m definitely not convinced that it’s the solution to the food waste problem though. I’m sure the answer lies in better organisation and meal planning.
If any readers have waste-free meal plans they’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you!
Oh and here are the meals I cooked. Sorry for poor photography!