It’s New Years Resolution time again, and for a lot of people that means trying out new tools that can help make their lives healthier. Maybe you are trying a new exercise, or maybe you are trying to cook more at home. There are a ton of new grocery home delivery services that can make cooking at home easier! At home delivery services make meal for two planning easy, as all of the ingredients (like ALL of the ingredients besides salt/pepper/oil) are sent to you in a box all measured out and prepackaged. They also do a great job of teaching you how to make the recipes so even a person who is incredibly uncomfortable in the kitchen can prepare a restaurant quality dish. The instructions have photos, similar to our blog posts, of each step and what it is to look like. If you are a food safety crazy like I am you are probably wondering “but what about the meat and cheese? What if I’m not home the second they deliver to put it in the fridge?” They have these amazing ice packs (don’t throw them out!) that keep the food cold that we have reused for picnics and potlucks too.
You can purchase a 2 person meal plan from Blue Apron for $59.99 which they estimate will give you a total of 3 dinners together per week. (You will see below that we were able to stretch this though.) They will accommodate vegetarians or aversions/allergies to red meat, fish, shellfish, pork, lamb, etc. – however they do not offer recipes to meet specific diets. Not even for weight loss! I would say this is one of the main places that Blue Apron is lacking. They do not offer recipes that would fit for weight loss, gluten free, dairy free, or a heart healthy diet. All of their recipes are very high in sodium (similar to dining out) and given that the majority of America already gets too much salt in their diet, I see this as an opportunity for Blue Apron to easily expand their offerings.
Blue Apron pretty much has their branding game on lock down – they have all of their product bases covered. Do you love the recipes they send and need a place to store them? You can buy a recipe binder. Want more than 3 recipes per week? You can purchase one of their four cookbooks. Is your kitchen gear lacking? Head over to their market for branded knives, cutting boards, an actual blue apron or “the kitchen drawer.”
NOTE: Blue Apron’s service auto renews and until you manually cancel they will keep delivering and keep charging you. This blog post was originally planned to be about a 1 week trial of Blue Apron and because I did not cancel my subscription right after ordering my first box, I was charged $60 and my second box showed up the following week.
I tried Blue Apron for 2 weeks and here is what I ate:
Salmon Pastrami on Rye with Red Cabbage and Green Apple Slaw
- This was probably one of my favorite recipes as this is something I have never tried before – not even at a restaurant!
- Quick and easy to put together, and I would make this again. I tried this following the directions, but did not add any salt when the recipe indicated and it was prefect.
- Healthy Bachelorette Version: This was the only recipe that I tried that had vegetables on the side – yay! The calories were pretty high at 675 per serving though. We made this into 4 meals by having half a sandwich with the slaw instead and eating the rest as leftovers.
- Two words: Fried Plantains. That’s what Maduros are!!
- This was my second favorite dish! Mainly because I never make plantains. I also loved the creative way they used collard greens – living in the south I have only had them with bacon. Again, I did not add any salt when indicated and it was plenty salty.
- Healthy Bachelorette Version: At 615 calories per meal this is on the higher end. Try dividing it up into 3 meals (2 dinners and 1 leftover) to cut it down to a reasonable 410. We would recommend trying with skinless chicken to captivate the flavors and cut back on the calories/saturated fat.
- Raisins and almonds in rigatoni? Kale yeah!
- Very tasty. We avoided adding excess salt in the directions though because there is so much from the cheese and the tomatoes.
- Healthy Bachelorette Version: This recipe used white pasta, and it’s the first time I have cooked with white pasta in years. While it was good, maybe not worth the blood sugar spikes it causes. This recipe rings in at 700 calories – that’s half a 1400 calorie day. No thanks! As you can see in the photo, we made this into 4 dishes instead and added some roasted broccoli on the side bringing it to around 400 calories total.
- This one was not my favorite (and the first recipe of my unexpected second box). The flavors were very heavy, but it would make a great winter meal if you like lentils.
- Fried rosemary is a cool garnish/flavoring!
- Healthy Bachelorette Version: This dish is also at 700 calories per person, and we would recommend dividing it up into 4 dishes and adding a side salad. Similar to above, we recommend whole wheat pasta instead. To beef up the nutrition without beefing up the calories, I opted to add in some broccoli here as well.
- This dish is going to give you diabetes y’all (just kidding…kind of). But it’s really really high in carbohydrates! With 1 cup of uncooked couscous (145g carbs) and 1 acorn squash (45g carbs) this recipe has 89.5 grams of carb per serving! (Remember: meals should be between 30-45g carb). I tried, but I just couldn’t do it…I saved the acorn squash and cooked the couscous and measured out 1/2 cup to have with this meal and unfortunately just threw the rest away. It was SO much.
- I like the idea of using chickpea flower in this dish for flavor on the cod, however mine did not brown appropriately and the oil required was way more than I needed.
- Healthy Bachelorette Version: This one is tough. I would recommend choosing either 1/2 cup couscous per meal or 1/2 an acorn squash – not both. This recipe had 585 calories per serving originally, but we just cut out a bunch when we cut out the carbs. Leave off the extra salt too!
Chicken Khao Soi Soup with Yellow curry and Crispy Wonton Noodles (ate it all and didn’t take a photo #sorrynotsorry)
- We love noodle bowls! If you like curry, you will like this dish.
- One MAJOR step I would add to this recipe is that you should strain the noodles in a colander. Half of my noodles may have gone down the skink due to me being lazy and not grabbing one.
- Healthy Bachelorette Version: The golden mountain sauce is basically salt and this was a very very salty dish. Try and only add half of what they give you. The chicken thighs add calories and saturated fat, but don’t necessarily add a lot of flavor here. You could save some calories here with white meat chicken instead. Overall, at 600 calories this one isn’t the worst but if you turned it into 3 meals (2 dinners and 1 lunch) with a side of non-starchy vegetables (think side salad or raw veggies and dip) this would come in at 400 instead.
Last but not least, in my second Blue Apron box I received and unexpected visitor. Yes. Yes. That is a snail in my kale. Unfortunately I had to cut back on the kale because there was snail all over it!
KALE NO. I contacted Blue Apron and send them this photo and I was credited $19.98 to my account, however you cannot buy a Blue Apron meal box for this price. Looks like I will have to get that blue apron after all…
A Registered Dietitian’s Take on Blue Apron and a note to the company:
Overall, I love the idea of getting more people in the kitchen and getting them more comfortable with food and cooking their own meals. I thought the meals were very tasty, had unique flavors I do not typically use and I definitely learned something each time I made one. I don’t think these recipes are something I would make every night – and a lot of times it felt like we were dining out at a restaurant. The recipes were easy to follow and I love love the photos in the instructions.
The majority of the meals run very high in calories 600-700 calories per meal. For a typical Healthy Bachelorette, this is more than what we are looking for to meet our goals (slash it’s half of our calories for the whole day). The meals are also very high in carbohydrates and sodium, while sometimes lacking in non-starchy vegetables. I think that Americans are looking for an easy, economical way to eat healthy, and Blue Apron should seriously considering bringing on a Registered Dietitian to their team to assist in making the meals healthier. Consider accomodating those with special diets – think low calorie less than 500kcals per meal, gluten free, pre-diabetes and diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, dairy free and more. With nearly 50% of the US population suffering from heart disease, Blue Apron is missing out on a large market of consumers looking for healthy options – an RD can help.
Have you tried Blue Apron or other meal delivery services? What is your take? We would love to hear about it in the comments below!