It’s been a long day at work. You get home, open the fridge to decide what to cook for dinner, and what do you see?
You forgot to do your online shop, and you couldn’t face the supermarket on your way home.
Or maybe there is a whole lot of food in there, but there is just nothing you want to cook!
This used to happen to me regularly.
My husband would hear me open the fridge, and close it again. Then he’d ask where we were going for dinner.
We ate out a lot!
And the thing is, I LOVE to cook. But I am busy all day and when it comes to cooking at night I want quick and easy, but I also want something TASTY. I do my shopping online, but sometimes the things you pick on a Sunday night might not be what you want on Tuesday.
Then I discovered Miracle Boxes, aka Food Subscription Boxes.
The Answer To The Empty Fridge!
There are now plenty of companies out there who claim to make cooking fresh, healthy meals at home a breeze.
Each week, they send you a recipe box full of everything you need to make three or more home cooked meals. They include the meat, fresh ingredients, herbs, spices and all the little ‘extras’ you need. And of course step by step recipe cards.
So there is no need to buy a whole jar of ‘Chinese Five Spice’ when you know you only want 1tsp of the stuff. (Check out this Michael Mcintyre sketch about Chinese Five Spice!)
The only things you need to add are salt, pepper, butter, olive oil etc.
Last night I had Gousto’s 15 minute on-pot Chicken Biryani.
Yep. That’s right, just one-pot to wash.
Plus it really did take just 15 minutes – and 10 minutes of that was just an occasional stir while waiting for the rice to cook.
Definitely less time than it would take to get a takeaway delivered!
Here’s the key bits you need to know…..
How Much Do Food Subscription Boxes Cost?
Both boxes contain 3 meals for 2 people. Hello Fresh is £39 a week, and Gousto is £35 a week, which works out £12-13 per meal.
This maybe a bit more than you would spend on a a meal at home, but is a lot less than a meal out. (You can get great deals on your first box to try them out too.)
Gousto has the option of 4 meals, which brings the price down to just under £10 per meal.
When And How Will My Recipe Box Be Delivered? (Outside of London)
Even if you are out all day your fresh food remains well chilled. Drivers will leave the box in your safe place or with a neighbour if you are out. (And the chances are you will be out, as delivery is from 9am-7pm with no way to specify a smaller window.)
Are the Fresh Ingredients Good Quality?
I’ve found the quality of produce from both companies to be excellent. The meat comes from their local farms, and veggies are organic ingredients.
Everything has been as good or better than the quality of produce I would pick up myself in the supermarket. No limp lettuce here!
If any of the produce arrives bruised, battered or broken, just let them know. Both companies offer excellent customer service.
Do I Get To Choose What I Want In My Subscription Box?
Gousto has a much wider choice of meals available, with 10 recipes to choose from each week. Hello Fresh has a more limited range, pre-selecting 3 meals for you. They also have 2 ‘classic favourites’ you can swap for if you don’t like their choices.
Both companies offer vegetarian options. I have tried some of their veggie dishes, which are delicious, but with some chicken on the side 🙂
How Long Do The Meals Take To Prepare?
Hello Fresh aim to ‘help you learn to cook’ so include measurements in their recipes. Sometimes they included more of an ingredient than I needed, and I found this confusing.
Gousto always provided exactly the right amount of each ingredient, so there were no leftovers, and no chance of getting it wrong.
I also found the Gousto recipes easier to follow as they tend to use fewer ingredients.
Even my husband has been able to whip up a fab meal! When I used to go away for a few days for work, I would plan ahead and leave lots of fresh food in the fridge for him to eat.
However, I’d arrive home to a fridge full of food to be thrown away, and a pile of pizza boxes. But now if I leave him with a recipe box full of healthy meals, I know he’ll actually cook. It’s just so super easy.
What Are The Portion Sizes Like?
The portion sizes of meals from both companies are very generously sized. If you are a family of 3 or 4 you could probably just get the box for 2 people and add an extra side of vegetables or a salad.
Do Subscription Recipe Boxes Really Contain Everything I Need?
Even though the meals are more than big enough for two people, I do sometimes throw together a side salad or some veggies to get some extra greens in. Most recipe’s provide only 1-3 of your five a day.
Are the Meals Gluten Free / Low Carb / Paleo?
These are great recipe boxes for people who want to eat good, fresh, home cooked food. They are not ideal for people with very specific dietary preferences.
I try to avoid milk, and my husband doesn’t eat nuts. If these are in a recipe I simply leave them out or substitute them.
For example, a chicken schnitzel recipe may ask for the chicken fillet to be dipped in milk. I use natural yogurt instead. (which is lush by the way!)
When you pick your recipes you can check the list of ingredients. With so many to choose from you shouldn’t have a problem if there are certain things you don’t eat.
If gluten free / low carb / paleo is important to you, then there are some specialist companies out there that may suit you better
What Are The Hidden Benefits Of Food Subscription Boxes?
The benefits that I didn’t expect are how much time these boxes have saved me each week. Less time shopping and less time cooking. And much less time spent looking in the fridge for inspiration of what to cook!
Now I just choose 1 of 3 recipe cards, knowing I have all the ingredients to hand, and get cooking.
Despite the per-meal cost, they have also saved me money. Why go out for dinner when you can cook a restaurant quality meal at home in under 30 minutes?
I’ve also found my post-dinner cravings for something sweet have been greatly reduced. I believe this is down to how tasty all the meals are – you feel really satisfied after eating. Something that can never be achieved eating grilled chicken and brocolli.
So Which Is Best, Gousto or Hello Fresh?
I think both Food subscription boxes companies provide a great product and customer service.
Gousto wins for me due to the greater choice of recipes and ease of preparation.
They also offer you the option of multiple boxes in the same week, with up to 4 meals in each. So if you want to you can easily use Gousto 7 nights a week without repeating a meal.
If you want to give Gousto a try, with £25 off your first order (kinda like a discount code), here’s my referral link 🙂
If you would like to try Hello Fresh go to HelloFresh.co.uk
There’s a new kid on the block – simplycook.com. Instead of providing everything you need, they provide recipe cards and the essential herbs and spicy, in a handy letterbox-sized weekly delivery. This could be an ideal solution if you don’t want all the ingredients delivered, but you are still looking for a bit of inspiration in the kitchen….. I’m testing them out this week, so stay tuned for an update!