February 10, 2017
Hello lovely readers!
I wanted to do a special review of Blue Apron (not sponsored), after having one of their boxes delivered to me this afternoon. Maybe I will give a day-to-day update based on the meals we eat. Here’s how the endeavor started. My boyfriend is visiting me to celebrate Valentine’s Day. While talking with a friend, I was telling her how hard it was to constantly be shifting from one place to another (he stays at an Airbnb to not bother my roommates), whether it is finding a good study pattern, going back to my place to gather more things, and figuring out how we were going to eat. In short, I wasted a lot in transition time that could be replaced with studying.
After hearing all of this, my friend suggested that we use one of her free meal options with a meal subscription service that she has earned. That way, my boyfriend can learn how to cook better because the recipe cards are so detailed, we wouldn’t have to extensively grocery shop and plan as much, and the ingredients would be delivered to us! The first quirk I encountered with Blue Apron was when I was choosing which meals to be sent to us. According to the company, they have limited amounts of various ingredients. Therefore, if you choose a recipe, other recipes will become unavailable to you. You are able to choose three out of six recipes, but your choices are limited based on what I have already said. I am not sure about the vegetarian options since my meals had meat options in them. If you are on a vegetarian plan, they may give you more options, or they may just limit you to two meals per week. In my case, I only saw two vegetarian options.
Our first meal was barramundi (a type of fish) with horseradish sauce, leeks, potatoes, and roasted broccoli. It sounds healthy upon inspection, right? Not necessarily. While the calorie amount seemed reasonable, the amount of fat in the dish amounted to 75% of the daily value on a 2,000 calorie diet. Even if you don’t have fewer calories that you want to eat in the day, you don’t want to have 75% of your fat for the day in one meal. I think most of the culprits that contributed to this number were the sour cream in the sauce and the butter involved in sauteeing the leeks. You could replace these fats with lower fat options, such as low-fat sour cream and smart butter or olive oil, but then you would be wasting the products that came in the box or having to figure out what to do with them. (My boyfriend ate the leeks on a different plate in the picture.) On the plus side, my boyfriend found this pretty simple to cook despite the long prep and cooking time, and it was delicious!
So far, my impression is that you are certainly paying for convenience because it is less expensive per serving to go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients. You are also relinquishing control in choosing recipes, but you can sometimes spend lots of time searching for them on your own. It is great for people who want to learn how to cook better and for those who want to learn how to build a more balanced plate. The dishes are certainly more healthy than, say, fried foods, and they balance protein and vegetables very well. However, if you are really trying to cut fat away from your diet or eat less than 2,000 calories per day, I would stay away from these services. In other meal kit subscriptions that I’ve looked into, the amounts of sodium are pretty high, and yet the recipes are advertised as “heart healthy”.
For me personally, I am still trying to find a balance between eating frozen bean burgers all of the time and putting too much time into making recipes. One technique I have embraced is the sheet pan dinner because once I prep and put things on the sheet pan and into the oven, I’m able to study while dinner is cooking instead of having to watch my food over the stove. Are there any cooking hacks that have worked for you? Any experiences with meal kit subscriptions that you would like to share? If so, please comment!