Meal Delivery Kits – Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Sun Basket

Disclaimer: I was not paid to review any of these services, but this post does include referral links which will credit me if you choose to sign up. 

Meal delivery kits have become popular for combining convenience with fresh food. Our family has used 3 different meal delivery services and have enjoyed trying new foods and eating a variety of cuisines.  The meals come in various stages of preparedness, usually just requiring some dicing and then cooking.  The average estimated time to prepare is 25-35 minutes. This post will outline our experience with each company.  For each company, we enrolled in 3 meals a week for 2 individuals.

Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh allows you to sign up for 3, 4, or 5 recipes for two people each week, or 3 recipes for four people. If purchasing less than 5 recipes per week, you choose your meals from the 5 total for the week. There is also a Veggie Plan with 3 vegetarian meals per week. Hello Fresh shipped their meals with all ingredients for 1 meal boxed together. This made it very easy to pull those ingredients when ready to prep the meal. The meal selection was good, but we no longer use Hello Fresh as the quality of their ingredients became worse and worse. We would receive rotten vegetables and meat that was brown. When contacting customer service, they would always place a credit on our account for a portion of the meal cost to replace the bad ingredient.

Pricing starts at $7.49 a meal.

Blue Apron

Blue Apron was the second company that we tried and one that we still use regularly. They provide a selection of 11 meals to choose from each week. If you’ve tried Blue Apron in the past, you may remember that the selection of certain meals would eliminate other options. This contingency has been removed and you can select any 3 meals that you wish.

The meals are very easy to prepare with only some minimal prep, such as dicing potatoes, grating cheese, removing stems from kale, or pressing garlic.  The ingredients for all three meals are lumped together in the delivery box, not separated by meal. Although, the ingredients are individually wrapped and labeled with the exception of garlic, lemons and limes. Pricing starts at $7.49 a meal.

Comment with your email for a chance to win a free delivery.

Blue Apron also provides how-to videos on their site, plus options to order corresponding wines and cooking tools.

 

Sun Basket

Sun Basket is by far my favorite meal kit delivery option! Each week you get to choose from 18 different recipes, with no restrictions. You can even select to receive multiple of the same recipe. This would be a great option for a dinner party or when having company.

When selecting your meals, each recipe indicates if it is paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, or vegan. There is the option to upgrade proteins for an additional charge, like upgrading chicken thighs to chicken breast or for organic options. All of their produce is 100% organic. They also have add-ons, like breakfast egg bites, oatmeal, salad kits, and snacks.

Like Hello Fresh, the ingredients for each recipe are packaged together in paper bags. Pricing starts at $10.99 a serving.

Inside view of new delivery
Sun Basket – Shipments are insulated to keep the ingredients fresh. The 3 meals are individually packaged, with the exception of large ingredients. Meat is packed separately below a cardboard divider.
Individual recipe
Sun Basket – The ingredients for each recipe are individually packaged.
Recipe Card
Sun Basket – Each recipe comes on its own recipe card, with full instructions.
Ingredients
Sun Basket – All ingredients are individually packed, labeled and ready to go.
Finished Product
Sun Basket – The finished product

 

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Salad in a Jar – Learn to Make Your Own

Salad in a Jar

One of my favorite ways of building community and supporting a culture of healthy eating is to host Salad in a Jar parties. On a monthly basis, I invite families to my home, ask them each to bring a salad topping to share, and we prep up to a week’s worth of salad. I provide kale (straight from my Tower Garden), spinach, and mixed greens. It’s always fun to see what people will bring to share, everything from carrots, beans (black, garbanzo), onion, and peppers to chicken and various cheeses and seeds. It’s typically the ladies prepping salads in the dining room, with the men and kids playing outside, but the kids love to pick out ingredients for their own salads too! When they get to prep it, they are much more likely to eat it.

Salad in a Jar Prep

Prepping a Salad in a Jar

Jar Size – I prefer using pint size mason jars. You can stuff a lot of ingredients and greens in a pint size jar, but the downside is that you must empty into a bowl to eat. Quart size jars are good if you are prepping a salad for your entire family or want to shake it up and eat it straight out of the jar.

  1. Dressing – You can always add dressing when serving, but sometimes it is convenient to have it all in one. So dressing is the first ingredient in your jar. It takes just a thin layer to cover your entire salad.
  2. Wet Ingredients – These are ingredients that are already wet and can withstand soaking in dressing until served. Examples: Tomato
  3. Hearty Moisture-Resistant Veggies – The next layer should be hearty veggies that create a thick layer between your wet ingredients and greens. You want to keep your greens as dry as possible until you are ready to serve. Examples: Carrot, Onion, Zucchini
  4. Soft Veggies Examples: Avocado, Bell Pepper, Corn
  5. Protein Examples: Chicken, Egg, Tuna, Beans, Salami
  6. Greens – This is the main event. I recommend leaving half of your jar empty to fill with greens and you can really stuff them in. Examples: Spinach, Romaine, Kale, Mixed Greens
  7. Cheese, Nuts, Grains – Just like your greens, you want to keep your cheeses, nuts and grains dry until serving. Examples: Walnuts, Quinoa, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds

Of course, every layer is optional and you can mix and match as much as you want.  If the greens stay dry, the salads will keep for up to a week.

Salad in a Jar ExamplesSalad in a Jar Examples

What are your favorite salad ingredients?

 

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6 Easy Ways to Eat More Greens

Go Green

March is traditionally thought of as a green month, given St Patrick’s Day and spring coming soon, but greens are not always our favorite or easiest thing to eat. Given that kale, spinach, chard, and other greens  provide a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and K, iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate and other B vitamins, it’s time to cycle them into our daily routine. Read below for some helpful tips on easy ways to eat more.

Go Green

  1. Add to your smoothie – Add spinach or kale to your smoothies. Whether making a green smoothie or adding to your fruit and protein, a little green adds a lot of nutrition without affecting the flavor much.
  2. Add a small salad to every meal – No matter what you cook for dinner, throw together a quick salad with spinach, kale, mixed greens, broccoli, nuts and your favorite dressing. When dining out, ask for a small house salad. You’ll start your meal off right and get some greens in too.
  3. Add to your breakfast – Spinach or bell pepper can be added to your morning scrambled eggs or omelet.
  4. Top your pizza – Whether making your own or heating up a frozen pizza, throw some spinach on top.
  5. Swap bread for lettuce – Make any sandwich into a lettuce wrap.
  6. Buy bagged – If rushed for time, buying bagged greens can reduce the time it would take to wash and chop.

 

What is your favorite way to add some extra greens in during the day?

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National Nutrition Month – My Families Juice Plus+ Experience

No better time to start a blog on family health & wellness than National Nutrition Month. Through this blog, I’ll be sharing recipes, fitness ideas for the whole family, and my family’s journey with Juice Plus+.

My 2 year old son and I began taking the trio capsules and gummy chewables in 2014. Although very skeptical, it wasn’t long before my husband jumped on board. I joined the Juice Plus+ company as a distributor in December 2014, thinking that I just wanted to share it with my family and close friends. But as a learned more about the research behind Juice Plus+ and my family’s own experience, I knew I needed to share with even more people.

Research

There are currently over 30 published research studies from leading hospitals and universities around the world, with more being completed everyday. My favorite studies show that Juice Plus+ is bioavailable. That means that your body is receptive to absorbing the nutrients in Juice Plus+. Eighteen publications found significant increases in blood levels of antioxidants and other phytonutrients. There are also research findings related to heart health, healthy gums, immune system, DNA, oxidative stress, healthy skin, systemic inflammation, and lung health. You can read more about the research findings here – Juice Plus+ Clinical Research.

My Juice Plus+ Experience

With a 5 year old in preschool, the biggest thing we’ve noticed since taking Juice Plus+ is that he has never missed a day of school due to sickness.With all the bugs that go through early education (and school in general), this support to our immune system has been huge! With him not missing school, it means fewer days away from work for me too.

Since moving to St Louis in 2004, I was a daily Zyrtec user with year-round allergies. I am happy to report that I have taken 1 (ONE!) Zyrtec in the last 13 months!

What health benefits do you think that Juice Plus+ could provide for your family?

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