Over the last few months I've been trying to eat a bit better because it helps me feel a bit more balanced. It's had it's ups and downs (weeks with a few too many take aways definitely being a down, a deep deep down), but I am gradually getting there. One of the things that has been helping me is getting food delivered. I am not a natural cook, I enjoy eating food but will willingly duck out of any food preparation, it's just not something that interests me. However, this does mean that when I do have to cook (because we do all need to eat) I'm not always that imaginative. Recipe boxes have been a saviour on this front, they've given me a lot more confidence when it comes to trying new things!
There are loads of different boxes on the market, and it can be tricky to decide which one to go for, so I've done the hard work for you and checked out three of the best boxes around (and a little something extra for those days when you just can't be arsed to cook).
This is the box that got me into recipe boxes. My Dad spent a lot of Easter Weekend telling me how much he loved Hello Fresh (a lot). Nearly all our meals that weekend were courtesy of Hello Fresh and they were all delicious, so when I saw an offer of a box for £9.99 I was sold!
My box contained three meals for two people, although in some cases (beef ragu) the potions were giant and I was able to stretch them out to four meals - serious value for money! Each recipe was set out clearly on an idiot proof card, and the ingredients for each meal were ready to go in separate bags - really fool proof.
Obviously the proof is in the pudding (or beef teriyaki) and I really can't fault the recipes, they were totally fool proof and I seriously impressed myself with my skills (it definitely helped that everything came in neat pre-measured packs and the instructions were super clear. This was not my own doing)! Everything I made was delicious and looked just like it did on the recipe cards. It was ace, definitely a box I'd go back to.
I was contacted by a PR for Gousto a few weeks back who offered me a pretty hefty discount on a box, and given I'd already checked out Hello Fresh I figures I'd give Gousto a go too!
I have to admit on first impressions Gousto wasn't quite a polished as Hello Fresh as the ingredients weren't separated by meal (obviously this is an extremely middle class problem, but I am extremely middle class), although they did include a wooden spoon, which is always handy. I ordered a box of two meals for two people, although with big portions the meals easily stretched further. As with Hello Fresh the recipes were super easy to follow, but unfortunately the outcomes were a bit more touch and go, while my warm lemony lamb tabbouleh became a new favourite, the creamy open kale and feta lasagne was a fail and just didn't work (plus it required milk that didn't come in the box, something I don't often have in). I'm not sure if I'd order another box from Gousto, but I will be making the lamb tabbouleh again!
My friend Natasha tipped me off about Mindful Chef and I have to say I was really impressed by their concept. It is slightly more expensive than other boxes, but there's a real focus on the provenance of their produce, which is worth paying for. The meals are structured around the concept of a mindful diet that aims to nourish your body, control your blood sugar (something that's really important for me when it comes to managing anxiety) and look after your bowel and gut. All the recipes are gluten and dairy free, there are no refined carbs (something I like to try and avoid) and there are lots of fresh veggies that fill you up! I actually ended up getting two boxes from Mindful Chef in close succession and was really impressed by all the meals, especially the red Thai chicken curry with courgetti and the lamb souvlaki (I love lamb!).
The recipes are a little less idiot proof than some other boxes (you have to read them and not just look at the pictures!), but they were easy enough to follow. There was a moment when Mike (yep, I delegated...) was making dinner and it called for a spiralizer which prompted exclamations along the lines of 'and just how middle class is this box?!'. We ended up improvising with a peeler.
While most of the meals I (and Mike) made from the various boxes we tried seemed pretty balanced and were packed with veggies, it was nice to know that so much thought had gone into the recipes from Mindful Chef. Another box I'd definitely order again.
This is the one for when you really can't deal with cooking. I bloody love Everdine! Eight frozen meals lovingly prepared from fresh, quality ingredients, delivered to your door to be stashed in your freezer for the moment you need them. Wonderful. I am prone to forgetting to eat when I'm tired/stressed/down which inevitably makes things (a lot) worse, Everdine has been a total lifesaver in these situations. It means I have something ready to eat, that is nourishing and won't spike my blood sugar when I least need it to.
Price wise they aren't the cheapest meals in the world, but there are various offers flying around which means they end up comparable in price to M&S, and I think they taste better!
**I used various discount codes and offers to purchase these boxes. All opinions are my own**