By Natalie Notaro
As a junior at the College, I have spent the past few months navigating through the off-campus lifestyle. Having lived in Wolfe Hall my freshman year and Cromwell Hall my sophomore year, I have yet to be as independent as I am in my off-campus house. Living in a house presents many new responsibilities, such as cleaning my own bathroom, taking out my trash and cooking my own meals.
I have never been much of a chef. I can make pasta or scrambled eggs, but trust me, I am no Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen. My sister has always been the chef of the family, so once I moved into my house this past August, I was on my own.
Because I’ve never formally learned how to cook, I decided to look into HelloFresh. A few of my housemates ordered meals from them before, so I figured that I would give it a shot.
HelloFresh is a meal-kit company, and the largest one in the United States at that. You simply make an account, select how many people you need to cook for and choose three meals to be shipped to your house once a week. The meals are known for being healthy and clean, and relatively simple to prep and cook.
Each meal has various prep and cook times depending on the recipe. For example, it takes longer to cook one of the pork meals than the vegetable stir fry. I try to choose meals that are relatively quick and easy, like vegetable quesadillas or a pasta dish.
I can’t deny it, the meals are always delicious. But instead, I would suggest saving your money and going to ShopRite instead.
The food that HelloFresh sends is pretty good, but the prices exceed the quality and quantity of the food being produced. A plan for two people costs approximately $45 a week. For what? My meal bag the other night contained a tomato, a plastic bag of shredded cheese and a tortilla shell.
HelloFresh also takes your payment information before you even select your first meals. This way, they have your card on file. If for whatever reason you would like to cancel your order for the week, you only have five days to do so, or else they charge your card and send you three random meals.
HelloFresh does not send meals for just one person, another aspect of their plan that I found troubling. One week, a housemate decided to split the meals with me for a trial. She decided that it wasn’t for her, but I continued to have meals sent to me. These meals were so unreasonably expensive, and the amounts of food were always disproportionate. There were typically leftovers, however, pasta dishes can hardly feed two people as they claim to.
The food can sometimes take triple the time to make as it does for me to eat, leaving me feeling that I’ve wasted precious time and effort.
HelloFresh has each of their recipes for every meal on their website. This means that you don’t need to spend fifty dollars a week for basic ingredients. Instead, go to the grocery store and pick them up yourself. This way, you get the right amount of ingredients, without being overcharged.
If you want my advice, meal-kits are probably great for a busy and on-the-go family, but not for a college student on a budget. There are so many alternatives to these expensive plans, and other ways to be eating clean and healthy that don’t cost an arm and a leg.