A Review of Blue Apron by a Registered Dietitian

A Review of Blue Apron by a Registered Dietitian

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.

The basics:

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 A Review of Blue Apron by a Registered Dietitian

  • 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.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Maduros with Stewed Collard Greens & Charred Lime Review of Blue Apron from a Registered Dietitian

  • 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.

Baked Sicilian-Style Rigatoni with Lacinato Kale and Ricotta Salata Review of Blue Apron from a Registered Dietitian

  • 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.

Lentil Bolognese with Fettuccine and Crispy Rosemary Review of Blue Apron from a Registered Dietitian

  •  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.

Crispy Cod and Spiced Couscous with Acorn Squash and Rainbow ChardReview of Blue Apron from a Registered Dietitian

  • 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. A snail in a Blue Apron BoxUnfortunately 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! 

32 thoughts on “A Review of Blue Apron by a Registered Dietitian

  1. I completely agree with your assessment of blue apron. I just canceled my subscription because I felt that the meals were not really that healthy. White potatoes, white breads and pastas are not something I consider nutritious due to blood sugar spikes and I was getting them every week. Also the sodium content was surprising. Great review!

  2. THANK YOU so much for this review and the suggestions. I was offered a free week of meals from Blue Apron, and signed up. I haven’t received my first box yet, but I did review the recipes and noticed that all the servings had 600-700+ calories. I have well controlled diabetes because I am following the same less than 500 calorie, 45 carb guidelines you mention in your suggestions. I was already planning to break the portions down into more than one meal and add more vegetable sides. I’m glad to hear that is the best solution. I’ll be sure to leave out the salt as you suggested as well.

  3. Thanks for your review. I’m on my third and last week of trying Blue Apron and will be writing my own review once done. I googled “Is Blue Apron healthy” and I found your article.

    I was first surprised by their lack of dietary preferences and then soon felt that their meals weren’t particularly healthy because of how many potatoes they were pushing for me to eat. I adjusted each meal to try and make them a little better (not using so much salt, oil and cream based ingredients), but all my meals could still have used at least two times more vegetables than what was provided.

    • Thanks for reading my blog post Kiah! I agree, I love the idea of a meal delivery service and feel as though they could go a little heavier on the non-starchy vegetables and a little lighter on the starch – you can find high starch meals anywhere but it is hard to find healthy balanced ones. I think this is definitely an opportunity for meal delivery companies out there!

  4. Thanks for the review. I am just looking to try a food delivery service, but unfortunately I cannot find any that are good. I am not looking for such low calorie as I am a good weight and do lots of exercise, but I cannot stand salt. I hate it. I also do not like spicy and EVERY one of these services offers most of their meals as spicy, with no alternatices. It looks like I will just have to stick to making my own food.

  5. Thanks for the review. I am just looking to try a food delivery service, but unfortunately I cannot find any that are good. I am not looking for such low calorie as I am a good weight and do lots of exercise, but I cannot stand salt. I hate it. I also do not like spicy and EVERY one of these services offers most of their meals as spicy, with no alternatives. It looks like I will just have to stick to making my own food.

  6. I completely agree. I could not believe how unhealthy these meals were. I ordered vegetarian but still very unhealthy with fried foods, lots of added oils and salt, . And just like you, I am getting stuck with an extra week even though I cancelled right after seeing my first order.
    Love the concept but very disappointed overall

  7. I’ve done Blue Apron….several deliveries, and the menus were fun and exposed me to some things I would not have tried. Currently I’m trying Hello Fresh. More basic, home-cooked type meals, and I can do low cal or low carb if I choose, along with them having many more weekly choices. I also noted that Hello Fresh doesn’t use as much salt as BA. I felt like with Blue Apron, the recipes were constantly saying ‘add salt and pepper’ after every step. And I’m a salt loving person, but it seemed a bit much. Have so far enjoyed the two meals from Hello Fresh. As I said, more family, homestyle friendly but with some great dietary options available.

  8. Thank you so much! I’m trying to find a delivery system for my father who needs a heart-healthy diet…but severely hates change. I’ve heard of others like Hello Fresh, but I’m not sure that’s entirely healthy, either.

  9. I agree with your assessment. I am in my third week and switched to the vegetarian meal offerings. I buy my produce, eggs plus their own butchered pork,lamb and chicken from my local CSA. I rarely buy food, except snacks and coffee/creamer from the grocery store anymore. I am also a runner and keep a close eye on my weight. I thought the vegetarian recipes would help me find more ways to cook my vegetables. I have always made my meals with nutritional requirements first, taste and presentation second. My conclusion is, even after dividing the meals into 3, I have gained 3 lbs. In the past I have cooked with water in place of oil and most of their cooking is with olive oil. I will try altering this and see. On a plus side, even after dividing into 3 meals, they are so filling I did not snack as much. This could be because of the excessive sodium, though. I’m still on the fence and hope they offer a low calorie and nutritionally balanced meal plan. They seem like an awesome company and their customer service is commendable.

  10. Thank you for making this review. I wanted to try and find a healthy option for me and I unfortunately had to find out the hard way that Blue Apron is NOT for me. I am a diabetic and a sales rep swore to me that it met the dietary standard for a diabetic. Boy was I ever mad when I got my first box and look at the card for the nutrition info. A whole three days worth of carbs in one meal….yikes! I keep advocating BistroMD. I really like the meals, unfortunately it was a bit pricey. I would love to hear your thoughts on that meal service sometime.

  11. Thank you for your review. I was getting ready to make the leap but wanted to see if the food was actually healthy. I appreciate you taking the time to share your professional opinion with us. I hope they will eventually provide healthier options soon as I do want to try a convenient food service such as this one!

  12. I really liked Blue Apron. I agree the meals are not the healthiest but on par with good restaurant food. I love to cook so I really enjoyed learning new things and making it look like it came from a fancy restaurant. I had a few problems: several times Fedex delayed my delivery and I felt the integrity of the product couldn’t be trusted (delivered 24 hours late and then left on the front porch in 100 degree Texas summer), each time I called and told them, they credited my account for the whole box. It just got to be a waste to have to throw all that food away. Plus, I am very busy and never had the time to peel, chop, etc. by the time I got home from work at 7:30. It is what it is, only 3 meals a week for me and my spouse. We ultimately cancelled after about 6 months because of the waste and our schedules.

  13. My husband and I were eating out a lot due to our lifestyle – and I know that is just not healthy. I signed up for Blue Apron and I have been pleasantly surprised! Are the calories, salt, fat where they should be? No – BUT – I know it’s a heck of a lot better than what we had been used to. We are also eating more vegetables now, and, I have been having wonderful bowel responses. And no wasted food. Cooking for two after cooking most of my life for 4+ has been hard, and Blue Apron helps me with that. All in all, I know it’s better than we were doing before, and it’s fun to be back in the kitchen…with no waste, lots of variety, and flavorful meals. I’m going to stick with it. And I can control my own salt, where I couldn’t do that in a restaurant!

  14. I am a college student and order the subscription box for 2 people 3x/week. I only eat a fourth of each completed meal. I feel like if I just control my portion sizes instead of following the recommended portion size (half of whatever I cook) that these can be fine for dinner a couple times a week. There is at least three portions left over once I eat. Do you agree? Or do you think it would be best to cancel this subscription?

Leave a Reply to Brittany L. Jones, MS, RD, LD Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s