Meal delivery services are all the rage these days. I was really hesitant to try one at first because I simply love to cook, and I felt that a meal service would take that away from my daily life. I warmed up to the idea a bit when I realized I would still be cooking, just doing a lot less prep! Which is fine with me, because as much as I love cooking, I hate chopping vegetables. Does anyone like chopping vegetables? If you do then you’re a rare breed. I knew a few people who had tried services like HelloFresh (which is apparently terrible, FYI) and Blue Apron (which is apparently better), but none of these services offered gluten and/or dairy free meal plans, and didn’t use organic produce. If you don’t have food restrictions and you don’t care if your food is sprayed with cancer-causing chemicals, then you are free to experiment with any meal service you’d like! Personally, I’m allergic or sensitive to a TON of foods – gluten and dairy are the worst, followed by ALL grains and legumes, then soy, sugar, and I even have issues with veggies like broccoli and brussels sprouts (hello paleo diet!). It’s a serious bummer.
A friend of mine in North Carolina had snap-chatted her Green Chef meals one day, and I decided to check in to it. And I was super excited to find that Green Chef uses organic produce and ingredients! They didn’t deliver to my area at that time, but I got an alert a few weeks ago that they were now in the Twin Cities. AND they had paleo meal plans!! So I placed my first order and anxiously awaited its arrival. It came the next week in a big box, with insulated packaging to keep everything fresh. All of the ingredients were pre-portioned into little baggies, which was very convenient but horribly wasteful. I threw away SO many plastic bags. This was strike number one. There were also a ton of little sauce containers, which were adorable and I’ll re-use for dressings in the future, but there were like 6 total in just 1 week. I don’t even need 6, let alone 6 more every week! Overall this system is terribly wasteful. Not into it.
Each week you get 3 meals for 2 people (6 meals total if you’re cooking for 1). The menu I received was:
- Orange-Balsamic Chicken with beets, roasted brussels, and cashew “parmesan” (leftovers pictured above)
- Lamb Samosa with roasted sweet potatoes and cilantro-coconut chutney
- Deviled Cod with greens & bacon salad, roasted rainbow carrots
I started looking over the recipes and I was pretty bummed out when I looked at the calorie totals for each meal. They were all about 600 calories or more per serving. While I don’t count calories, and I don’t think people should overly-restrict calories, I am unfortunately not a person who can eat as much as they want and not gain weight. Even if I’m eating strict paleo, low-carb diet, I can’t eat 2000+ calories a day and maintain my ideal weight. If this isn’t an issuer for you, then by all means eat away! But because of this, I tried to split each recipe into 3 meals, instead of 2. This did not go so well – there just wasn’t enough food! For example, with the deviled cod, you literally got 3 carrots. You got 2 broccoli stalks and a small handful of brussels with the chicken. In order to feel satisfied I needed to eat half of each recipe, which I didn’t want to do.
Now let’s talk about cost. I got $50 off my first order, but the regular price for the paleo plan is $98.94. That is super expensive for 3 meals. Even if you’re just cooking for 1, you’ll get lunch + dinner for 3 days of the week. For $100. That’s absurd. I can feed myself all 3 meals for a week for $100 at Trader Joes. Even if you’re able to split the meals in 3, you only have lunch/dinner for half the week.
The final straw for me came when I went to make my cod meal with salad 2 days after I received it, and all of the greens were slimey and spoiled. I contacted customer service about this, and they credited my account for 2 meals of a future delivery. No refund for what I’d already spent – they wanted me to spend more money to get a “free” meal. Additionally, I realized later that 2 meals did not mean 2 recipes, it was one recipe that feeds 2 people. So they wanted me to spend another $65 to get a free meal. Total BS. Strike number three. I might use the credit in the future if I see a super awesome menu one week, but honestly none of the recipes are anything you can’t do yourself, with the exception of maybe the sauces.
Overall the meals tasted really good, the lamb samosa was especially delicious. It was nice to have (some) of the vegges chopped + prepared, and the different sauces were SUPER yummy and really convenient since you didn’t have to reduce anything or prepare them yourself. All of the meals were cooked in about 35 minutes, which is great for busy people. If money is not an issue for you and you like the convenience of pre-portioned foods that only take 30 minutes to make, maybe you’d like to try out Green Chef. But personally I found it to be way too expensive for very little food, too high calorie, too low on veggies, and the packaging was too wasteful. And their customer service was pretty dismal.
Hopefully this was helpful if you’re considering a meal service. I really did want to love Green Chef and write a positive review, but nothing about it won me over, and I wouldn’t want my readers to try something sub-par at my recommendation. Let me know if you try Green Chef or another service and have a good experience, because I’m definitely still open to the idea of convenient meal delivery!