One cannot think well, love well, sleep well,
if one has not dined well.
Waaaaaay back when I started blogging, I took part in a lot of food challenges. I meal planned. I kept the grocery budget way low. I cooked from scratch: breads, pastas, all manner of desserts. I ate local (within 100 miles) and some meals a week exclusively with foods from our farmers’ market. I went vegetarian. Much more recently, I’ve done a paleo challenge and the Whole 30 (twice).
That was while I was still primarily a stay at home mom with littles. Once I started working, the hours kept accumulating, and then the kids got older and I added part-time chauffeur and soccer mom to my workload. So my new favorite food challenge is trying out different meal kit subscription boxes.
Who should try a meal kit subscription plan?
If you’ve never tried one, these services create meal plans for the week, and then ship you exactly the ingredients you need to prepare those meals, along with detailed directions. It’s a perfect system if any of the following apply to you:
- You’re busy and don’t have the time to dedicate to planning out healthy meals and going to the grocery store.
- You’d like to try more adventurous meals but don’t keep a lot of food in your fridge and pantry outside your everyday staples.
- You’d like to involve your kids in the cooking process, perhaps to encourage them to try new foods.
- You’d like to cook more but don’t have a lot of experience.
- You have a tendency to optimistically buy healthy ingredients that then go bad before you get a chance to use them all.
- Using very fresh ingredients or supporting regional farms is important to you.
On the flip side, any meal subscription service is going to be more expensive than if you sat down and meal planned according to what’s in season and on sale. You are paying a premium for convenience; I’ll not pretend otherwise. But if you’re currently wasting food or eating out a fair amount or picking up a lot of stuff you don’t need at the store because you shop with a posse, the difference in cost week by week may be negligible. (Where you live and shop makes a difference too.)
Green Chef Review
As a Moms Meet blogger, I was invited to try out the family plan from Green Chef. (New customers get $50 off their first box with my affiliate link!) Green Chef is a USDA-certified organic meal kit delivery service; ingredients are pre-measured and largely prepped, including homemade sauces and marinades which come in great containers for reusing for packing hummus, guac or applesauce in lunchboxes.
There’s a lot of stuff in that box and everything was in excellent condition.
These were the ingredients for one of our meals; the labels are conveniently color coded to the recipe page, so you can make your kids take care of prep work.
This was a 40 minute meal, which brings me to another point: these are not necessarily super quick and easy meals. It’s not boxed mac and cheese. The meals were simple, but still involve chopping and cooking.
As I said earlier, this is particularly nice for those who aren’t very experienced cooks, as all the steps are laid out clearly for you. It’s also a stealthy way to make your kids spend time with you. Mine will generally help when I need it, albeit reluctantly, but they’re always more actively involved with a meal kit, because no one can resist dictating and double checking step by step directions.
Pan meatballs have always been hit or miss for me, but by following the directions exactly (meatball size, amount of oil, pan heat, cook time) I wound up with meatballs that weren’t blackened on the outside but were cooked all the way through. Yay!
The second meal involved salmon, which I can’t eat, so my brother and his family got to enjoy that one. NOTE: you CAN opt out of seafood or another protein when you subscribe to the Omnivore, Carnivore or Family Plan. I just didn’t have that option open to me as a tester.
It’s a shame, because it sure looked pretty.
Sidebar: my brother’s house has much better light than mine.
They also eat really early! Holy cow, dinner out of the oven at 4:54? I’d forgotten what it was like to have small kids. My kids are just getting home then, and that’s when they don’t have a game.
Their finished meal. I’d Instagram that:
Both our families have their picky eaters, who liked some aspects of the meal more than others (my nieces favored their potatoes over the salmon, the men in my family tried picking out mushrooms or kale but it was so incorporated they did wind up eating some). That’s to be expected when kids are trying new foods; it takes up to ten tries to develop a taste for savories, and meal kits are a fun way to deliver that exposure without a lot of food going to waste from the experiment.
Overall, the meals were well received! A little out of some people’s comfort zones, but enjoyable, and for the more developed palates pretty darn tasty and healthy. The orzo leftovers were even better the next day. Looking at the site, there are plenty of meals that would work out well for my family that we’ve never tried before. I’d just have to skip the seafood.
One thing to note: it seemed like salt and pepper were included in the directions way more than necessary. Keep a light hand with the salt, people. A little goes a long way.
I’m always overwhelmed by the amount of packaging in any of these meal subscription boxes. Good news though: all the materials Green Chef uses are either comprised of recycled materials or recyclable. In some cases, both. More details on Green Chef’s eco-friendly packaging here.
For smaller households:
Green Chef also offers a number of 2-person plans (3 dinners a week for 2 people).
- Omnivore: meat, seafood, and vegetarian dinners.
- Carnivore: Meat and seafood lovers, dig in. Every dinner includes a land or sea protein plus veggies.
- Gluten-Free: Always gluten-free and flavor-full, with meat, seafood, and vegetarian dinners.
- Vegetarian: More than just salads, every dinner makes veggies the star in unique, delicious ways.
- Paleo: Eat like an epicurean caveman. This paleo menu is rich in fresh produce and proteins.
- Vegan: Plant-based just got better. An innovative menu with natural, specialty ingredients.
Try Green Chef out! It’s fun, healthy, family time.
And don’t forget, you get $50 off your first box when you order through my affiliate link!
I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.