I don’t know about you, but meal planning is a total recurring nightmare for me. Week after week, I scramble to find fast and healthy recipes to make after a long work day, something that will both nourish and please. I want to expose my children to different tastes and textures to widen their horizons when it comes to food, but all that preparation and the time it takes to shop, chop and cook leaves me exhausted.
I had been using emeals.com for quite some time, but had become disenchanted with it. It was just too time-consuming and required too much thinking. More often then not, we ended up ordering up pizza or picking up burgers because I had forgotten to defrost the chicken. When I heard about meal subscription services, I thought it was worth a try.
But when I started looking at using such a service, I got confused. Which one should I use? What are the differences? How do I know I get the best bang for my buck?
I decided to try them all! Over the next weeks, you will be able to read my review of each service. I will grade them on a variety of topics so you can easily decide which one is best for you. I am basing all my reviews on a 3 meal a week / 4 portions weekly order.
Part 1 – Miss Fresh
Miss Fresh promises to provide recipes ready in 30 minutes or less, using fresh local ingredients. They operate out of Montreal, Quebec and deliver across Canada.
When I navigated to the website to select my meals, I didn’t like the weekly selection. Miss Fresh allows you to pick 3 out of 4 meals every week if you select the cheapest option, the “chef box”, but they also offer a “custom box” which allows you to pick out 3 out of 12. The cost is a little higher but when you have picky eaters at home, it’s good to know the option is there. Also available are a “vegetarian box” and a “kilo control box”. Some of the recipes developed by guest chefs, nutritionists and doctors. I guess this helps give some credibility to how healthy the service is. Perception is everything. Personally, I don’t care who makes the recipes. I only care that they are tasty, fast and easy.
About the Delivery
I received the box as promised, on Tuesday, and was pretty excited. It was very well packaged and the big freezer bags (water based 100% biodegradable) kept everything cool, on top of being reusable. I stored mine in the freezer for later use! I read the documentation and looked at the recipe cards. I liked the format and the fact that they could easily be stored in a binder, being they are 8.5″x11″. I also like that the nutritional info was nice and big, easy to read.
My first reaction was to think that there was no way so little food would feed my huge family of 7. I had selected the 3 meals a week and 4 portions per meal even though Miss Fresh does allow for up to 5 meals a week and 6 portions per meal. Since there usually always is at least one of the older kids missing at the dinner table and since the little ones eat like birds, I thought I could get away with it.
I unpacked my food. Everything was really fresh except for the onion, which was a bit soft and bruised. I sorted out all the pre-labeled ingredient in three piles and stored in my fridge.
About the Food
The first meal I made was Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping. The instructions were easy to follow, the meal was on the table in 30 minutes, as promised, and the flavour was all there! The kids had seconds and thirds, which never happens! My only complaint was that the veggies were not pre-cut. There was huge carrots and potatoes to cut and for some reason, I was under the impression everything was done for me–maybe because I had seen it on another service–but I was not happy to have to take a peeler and a knife. In the end, it was all worth it. According to my kids, this was in the top 3 of the best meals ever… And I’m a terrific cook! Needless to say, I stored that recipe card in my binder… Oh and portion wise, I fed 5 with this meal and had leftovers! (see gallery below)
The second meal was Pork Tenderloin with Apple Served with Brussel Sprouts and Rice. All my kids like Brussel sprouts, so I thought for sure this would be a winner. Again, meal was ready in 30 minutes, easy to make and flavourful. The younger kids had an issue with apples touching the pork, so they didn’t eat very much. I enjoyed this one too, not nearly as much as the shepherd’s pie, but it was a decent, healthy meal.
The third meal was Grilled Chicken Cacciatore with Bruschetta Lettuce Bites. This one, unfortunately, missed the mark. When one orders a “family box” some things are just off the option list and vinegar is one of them. I should have adapted the Bruschetta Bites to reflect that. Nonetheless, Miss Fresh kept its promise. But I didn’t store this recipe card…
About the Company
Customer Service was impressive. I received an email back within minutes with the name of a real person and a phone number to call if I was in immediate need of assistance.
And now, my rating
Cost per week: $107.88 Cost of Delivery: FREE Area of Deliver: Across Canada Payment Method: Credit Card
Website: 5 Freshness of ingredients: 4.5 Recipe Cards: 5 Ease of Recipes: 4.5 Are they healthy?: 4.5 Meal Choices: 4.5 Kid Approved: 4 Customer Service: 5 Variety of options: 5 Ease to cancel or skip a week: 5
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