When I was living in Hoboken, Blue Apron was becoming popular. I was getting coupons in the mail and I was starting to see boxes on front stoops more frequently. I was working crazy hours in New York City and wasn’t having much success in eating healthy. My friend started getting Blue Apron and sang it praises. She said it was great because she didn’t have to think about what to cook after a long day at the office. I decided to give it a try. The recipes were really good and different; however, I ended up skipping more weeks than I wanted to because of my food sensitivities. At that time, there weren’t any gluten-free or dairy-free options, so if one of the weekly recipes didn’t fit into my dietary restrictions, I had to skip the entire week. After about six weeks, I cancelled the service.
Since trying Blue Apron, a variety of food meal kit companies have hit the market – Plated, Home Chef, Hello Fresh, Sun Basket, and Green Chef. A few weeks ago, we got a coupon for Green Chef. I usually throw the mailers away without even opening it, but the front caught my eye. Green Chef has seven meal plans that include Paleo, Keto, vegan, and gluten-free!
Brad and I did some research on the plans and the menus and decided to give it a try. I felt like we were in a rut with our recipes. How many times can I cook roasted Brussels sprouts and baked chicken? We selected the Paleo plan since all the receipts are gluten-free and dairy-free.
How It Works
You begin by selecting the meal plan that best fits your lifestyle and dietary restrictions. You can chose from Paleo, Keto, Omnivore, Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, and Gluten-Free. The Paleo and Keto meal plans are also gluten-free. There are two types of sizes – a two person plan and the family plan, which will feed four people. The two person meal plan starts at $11.99 per meal.
You can review menus for each of the meal plans, including the specific ingredients in each recipe. If you have a nut allergy, you can see if this is just an added garnish or if it’s in the sauce. All of the ingredients are organic, which is another added bonus. You know you are getting fresh ingredients that are grown without harsh pesticides.
Once you have created your account and selected your meal plan, you pick the day of the week you want your meals delivered. In our area, we have delivery Wednesday through Saturday. Initially, we selected Saturday, but have found we aren’t cooking our meals until Monday. I changed our delivery to Wednesday starting this week.
The meals are packaged in a large insulated box that can be recycled once unpacked. The ingredients for each of the three recipes are packaged in brown paper bags, clearly labeled. The ingredients are perfectly portioned, so you don’t need to do any measuring – all you have to do is chop or mince to prep for cooking. The meats are packaged with two large ice packs that take hours to melt, so if you get home late, you don’t have to worry about your food spoiling.
Now the fun begins! The recipes are very easy to follow. The recipe cards have step-by-step directions with pictures – great for those who are not very comfortable in the kitchen. Each meal takes between 30-40 minutes to prepare.
Is It Worth It?
After having three weeks of meals delivered, I can say it’s been a fun experiment. With the exception of one recipe, each have been delicious and really flavorful. A few observations:
- The portion size is way smaller than you would expect. When we cooked our first meal, we thought we would still be hungry because the portion size was so much smaller than what we are used to. But, you will feel satisfied. If you feel like you still need a little more food, you can always add a small side salad or extra vegetable.
- They love to use nuts as a garnish. Every recipe we have cooked have used toasted nuts (mostly almonds) as a finishing garnish. I eventually started leaving them off because it wasn’t something I really wanted.
- They select vegetables that travel well – which means lots of bell peppers and sweet potatoes.
- I do admit, I’m ready for a break from these meals. I’m ready for something a little more diverse. I’m skipping next week and maybe the following week, just to get a break.
If you are looking to try a meal kit service, then I definitely recommend Green Chef. The recipes are healthy, flavorful, and easy to prepare. However, be prepared for recipe fatigue and only have meals delivered two weeks out of the month.