Things have been… unstructured… since the end of my Renaissance Periodization cut and my BQ race at the Phoenix Marathon. I’ve written about my efforts to get back on track, not with the strict diet/training regime I had before, but something with a little direction. Basically, I need to do a better job of having food on hand so that I didn’t eat cereal and ice cream for every meal (true story). And a few new recipes after 12 weeks of the same tofu doesn’t sound like a bad idea. So I decided to try out some meal kit programs. I’m sampling Green Chef, Blue Apron, and Hello Fresh, at least to start. I’ll provide a review on each as I wrap up a week of meals. First up: Green Chef…
Well, before I get to Green Chef…
Things I Like About Meal Delivery So Far:
- Convenient, wholesome, filling food
- Easy clean up (huge benefits on the clean up front!)
- Reduction in food waste
- No need to go to the grocery store (all I’ve needed is salt, pepper, and oil)
- Specialized seasonings and sauces, so I don’t have to invest in large portions of these or try to make my own unsuccessfully
The two downsides I see so far to meal delivery are (1) price and (2) packaging waste.
OK, now Green Chef. This week my husband and I had three meals provided by Green Chef. They arrived on Tuesday, and we made one each night. My husband had them for dinner, and I had them for lunch and snacks the following day. They are not tiny meals so they are far too much for me to have for a typical dinner. We did the vegan option (other options include vegetarian, omnivore, paleo, carnivore, and gluten-free).
First up was Italian Lentil Balls. This involved polenta, lentil balls, and a pesto, plus a side of carrots. Oh, and a vegan cashew parm. The lentil balls were really good but this was probably my least favorite of the three meals because it felt really carb heavy and as noted below, didn’t include many veggies. 730 cals, 199g carbs (!!!!), and 28 g protein.
Next up was Moroccan Cauliflower, featuring chickpeas, cauliflower, quinoa, and spinach. And of course sauces and spices. I liked this one more. To up the protein content, I cooked a block of tofu in the remaining cauliflower/chickpea seasonings, and that worked really well. And we don’t like apricots, so we didn’t use those. My husband and I both agreed this was good but not necessarily something we’d want every night. 680 cals, 96g carbs, and 23g protein (not including my added tofu). (Picture above.)
Finally, we had my favorite meal of the week: Brazilian Tempeh Moqueca. This included tempeh, black beans, collard greens, and other yummy veggies/aromatics, plus a sauce. I again added more protein, which was easy to do by doubling the tempeh with another block I had on hand. This was a fun dish and not something I usually would have made on my own. 630 cals, 69g carbs, and 39g protein (not including my added tempeh). I like those macros better!
Favorite Things About Green Chef:
- Organic food (about 95% of Green Chef ingredients)
- Fully vegan option, always with beans, lentils or soy protein source (tofu/tempeh)
- Flavors and textures were good — I found all of the meals to be very pleasant!
- Creative recipes with interesting ingredients and foods that I wouldn’t trust myself to do well on my own, especially with the seasoning blends and sauces
- Easy to follow instructions (with pictures) and good organization using color coding of ingredients
- Each meal took under 45 minutes to prepare
- Ability to adjust salt
- Efforts to minimize packaging waste
Least Favorite Things About Green Chef:
- Holy carbamoly. I generally ate these as my primary source of carbs for the full day and then just tried to find protein sources and veggies for breakfast and any other meals. These dishes would be tough to work with RP if I were doing a cut; I’d probably have to spread a single meal over two days due to the carb content.
- Subscribers need to decide whether to skip an order at least 7 days in advance, meaning that I couldn’t try a meal first and then decide whether I wanted food next week too (instead, I just went ahead and skipped next week so that I could try the meals before committing).
- Cooking time estimates were sometimes a bit too low — for instance, searing tempeh takes more than two minutes per side.
- One of my three meals was very light on the veggies. The recipe images showed a bounty of carrots, while we were provided only one measly carrot. We luckily had more carrots on-hand to supplement.
- Some the veggies apparently need to be washed and dried, based on a hidden instruction I found after I had cooked all three meals without washing any produce. I survived!
So far, I really like the meal kit concept, and Green Chef was a good option. I will probably try at least another week of Green Chef once I’ve sampled a few competitors.
If you’d like to try Green Chef and get a discount (four free meals), you can sign up through my code/link (I get a credit only if you place a second order).
Have you tried Green Chef? What did you think? What other meal kit delivery companies should I try out?