Hello Dinner

Last year, when my husband and I realized that life as usual wasn’t going to be usual for a while, we started looking for alternatives to our normal foodie ways. Pre-pandemic, we made most of our meals at home but, soon, even simple trips to the grocery store became troublesome due to empty shelves and unwanted crowding. To help keep the trips infrequent, we signed up for a boxed meal delivery service.

One of the two meals we received for the week.

Several years ago, we subscribed to Blue Apron’s meal kit service (read my impressions here). This time, based on online reviews, we went with Hello Fresh. We started with their Veggie meal plan (they offer several different plans) to introduce more plant-based meals into our repertoire and expand our cooking experiences. After a few months, we switched to their Meat & Veggies plan for greater meal variety.

Our chosen two-recipe plan provided enough ingredients to make four meals a week, two for each recipe option. Every recipe comes with its own large, four-color instruction card and perfectly portioned ingredients. Most recipes require a few common pantry items that are not included; like cooking oils, butter, and salt and pepper. We received our first box last September and continued the weekly service until recently.

All the ingredients to make dinner for two.

What we liked

We were able to select meals in advance from a large variety of options. Our selections arrived on our porch in an insulated box every Monday. Each box contained food for two night’s worth of meals. This took a huge load off menu planning and shopping.

Meal prep was something we did together. There were always several components to the meals (protein, starch, vegetable), and a fair amount of prep, so we divided the duties to best assure everything was done on time.

The meals were, for the most part, interesting and varied, and not overly complicated. The flavors were good and the portions were reasonable. Hello Fresh provided some unfamiliar spice and sauce blends, which were fun to try.

Because the ingredients came in pre-measured portions, we weren’t left with partially-used jars of things that go to waste.  

Several of the recipes were “keepers” that we will make again on our own. The recipe cards list the ingredients, amounts, and step-by-step instructions so they are easy to replicate. Hello Fresh even provides the ingredients for their special spice and sauce blends on their website.

What we didn’t like

Most of the recipes called for oven roasting. We don’t like heating the oven – and the house – unnecessarily. When we could – which was often – we used an alternative cooking method (e.g., rather than bake string beans for 15 minutes in a 450 degree oven, we just pan-roasted them).

We chose to pan-roast our string beans rather than heat up the oven.

Some of the recipes called for ingredients that we didn’t deem necessary. This is a personal preference but I, for example, chose not to add a tablespoon of butter – and the calories – to rice that will be covered with a sauce.   

A few times, the supplied produce wasn’t very fresh and so we substituted our own.   

Although Hello Fresh tries to be eco-friendly, it’s challenging when sending out thousands of boxes of individually packaged items. One scallion wrapped in plastic or two tablespoons of sour cream in a pouch seems wasteful.

We are big fans of leftovers and we didn’t like doing a lot of work for one night’s meal. Fortunately, we found that by supplementing the provided produce with some of our own, we could stretch many of the meals to cover two nights (or at least one dinner and a lunch).

Dinner is served.

Boxed meal services are becoming more and more popular and there are a lot of options to pick from. There are a host of websites that compare the different offerings to help you pick the right one, based on your budget and eating preferences. Because of the competition, most (all?) run promotional pricing on your initial order(s) to help entice you. Pro tip: if you know someone who subscribes to one of these services, ask them if it offers free boxes to friends they refer. I was able to pass on this offer to a few of my friends.          

Although we have paused Hello Fresh for a while, we are likely to start it up again in the future, or maybe try another service for comparison. It’s a convenient – although not cheap – way to add more variety to your meals.


Please click over to Deb’s (The Widow Badass) and Donna’s (Retirement Reflections) blogs for their new What’s on Your Plate? monthly dinner (or breakfast, lunch, or midnight snack) party. Check out the various meal inspirations found there and share one of your own.

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

104 thoughts on “Hello Dinner”

  1. I’ve wondered about that service. In theory it sounds great, but you’ve found the darker side of it. I’m spontaneous when I cook so it might feel limiting to me. Plus we like leftovers, too. Thanks for sharing your experiences here.

    1. That’s one reason we paused the service. As nice as it was not to have to think about 2 (or 4) dinners a week, we started to miss some of the spontaneity. On the other hand, with Covid, we weren’t/aren’t interested in making many trips to the grocery store to pick up a few items.

  2. Hi, Janis – Thank you so much for joining in What’s On Your Plate. Welcome aboard! Your post has helped answer manhy of my questions about Hello Fresh and similar companies. Now may be a perfect time for me to give them a try. Thank you for sharing the highs and lows that you found. Your balanced review is very, very helpful!

  3. Although the concept sound sound, I was never able to embrace the Blue apron or hello fresh. There are just no eay answers to getting these daily meals to table.

  4. Thanks for sharing. Our son has used a boxed food service and had a couple of boxes delivered to our home when he was visiting. I too was bothered by the amount of plastic packaging.

    1. It’s a concept that seems to be growing in popularity. They are trying hard to reduce their waste (with some green-washing too) but I don’t know how they will be able to get around the packaging. I think Hello Fresh did better in that area than Blue Apron (but maybe they have gotten better too).

  5. This sounds yummy and much healthier than my current Girl Scout Cookie meal plan (Trefoils for breakfast, Samoas for lunch and Thin Mints for dinner). As always, thank you for the info!

  6. I haven’t tried the boxed kits, and have many of the same reservations you note. We don’t like to fire up our big oven either, but a few years back we bought a Breville toaster/convection oven and we use it all the time. Can bake salmon for 2, or green beans, or a small cake, and its very reliable and efficient. It was relatively expensive, but for as often as we use it, we’ve gotten our money back several times over!

    1. I’ve been jonsing for one of those Breville ovens but we don’t have the counter space. Maybe I could find somewhere in my pantry to store it and just bring it out when I needed it (which, I expect would be often). When we looked at them at Williams-Sonoma, we thought that they were the perfect size for just the two of us. Thanks for letting me know about your experience with your oven… I’ll think hard about getting one.

      1. I absolutely love my Breville oven. I bake almost everything in it. I hope you can find some room for one. Seems so much more energy efficient and doesn’t heat up the house.

          1. They do radiate some. They are designed to use the top as a plate warmer. And once it was pushed back too far and started melting the power plug. Not good! So I’m careful about that.

  7. Janis, after a full year of deciding what to cook every night, I can see how this might be a good alternative. We’d likely embellish the meals and change cooking methods as well, but at least the basic decision of ‘what’s for dinner’ would be done in advance. I tend to cook simple meals that are healthy, but lacking in flavor and would much appreciate the accompanying spices and sauces. Thanks for sharing your impressions. It’s nice to know you would do it again.

    1. I think it’s worth a try to see if you like it. Even if I don’t start up again, I now have about 8 – 10 recipes that I can comfortably add to my regular rotation. There are a few services to choose from, each offering a slightly different variety of meals. For instance, Hello Fresh doesn’t offer Keto, but others do.

  8. We would follow your example, Janis. But we live in the country and such food delivery services are not available. I have to drive for an hour to go grocery shopping. The good thing about our area is that it has been a fairly safe bubble.

  9. Great review of Hello Fresh, Janis! My sister tried it and she loved it because it made her life that much easier and got her a hot meal on the table…she is not well, so has limited stamina for shopping and cooking. I think these types of services definitely have their place and someday I may sign up for one.
    Thank you for joining us!


    1. I think they are worth trying and, as you said, there are some very good reasons someone may want to sign up. It worked for us for a while but we found ourselves actually wanting to cook more of our favorites. I am looking forward to next month’s What’s On Your Plate?

  10. I really appreciated your inside scoop on these services. I’ve often thought about trying one, but I only need meals for one and don’t care for leftovers. The variety would certainly be welcome, not to mention the better nutrition. I’m in a rut with fast and easy.

  11. Hi Janis, I have been curious about the pros and cons with meal kit services. We also have them in Victoria. It looks like the pros outweigh the cons. You still keep it flexible and add/adapt the recipes to your lifestyle and cooking preferences. Interesting about trying other spice and sauce blends. Like you say, “variety.” A great post and a fun series!

    1. The various services run great promos all the time so you might want to take advantage of one and sign up. We miss the little green box that showed up on our porch every Monday, but it’s starting to be BBQ season so we are firing up the grill more and more 🙂

  12. Thanks for breaking the pros and cons down so clearly, Janis. I supplement my cooking with Daily Harvest bowls and although that’s quite different from what you’re describing, it’s wonderful that there are so many options out there. We are a multigenerational household and dinner is for 6, sometimes 7 people, so cooking is a big thing for us, even when I’m not in the mood! Any help is welcome. 🙂

  13. I’m glad you wrote about this meal delivery service. We are not likely to try it, since there are four of us, and I like to cook. I always wondered how people felt about the service.

    1. They do have meals for 4 also and, believe me, you’ll still do the prep and the cooking. We enjoyed not having to think too much about what we were going to have for dinner 2 – 4 nights a week. That being said, we have happily returned to our normal rotation of meals (including a few we added from the Hello Fresh meals we especially liked).

  14. We love cooking and have always planned our menus a week at a time and grocery list from that. Since semi retirement I tend to only plan on days when I work; the other days we free fall into a plan somewhere in the morning or the afternoon. Cold and miserable; baked potoates and meat loaf. Unexpectedly nice; bbq steak and all the trimmings cooked outside. Now we farm source all our meat so proteins are always in the freezer; great quality and awesome price. Fresh veggies once a week to supplement what I put up in the freezer from the garden. We live in the country so delivery of that sort of item isn’t possible but I doubt we would use it because of the cost and the environmental impact. Your meal you featured looks good! Bernie

    1. When this whole thing started and we realized that we wouldn’t be getting out and about as much, we bought a small freezer for our garage. It’s nice to be able to stockpile larger quantities of meat and other items. Creating a menu based on how you feel, or what the weather is like, is nice. I also love picking fresh fruit and veggies from our garden and incorporating that. Yay spring and summer!

  15. We did Home Chef for a while but when I started Keto it didn’t make sense for us to keep it up. The meals were good but like you say, it was some work for just one meal.

    1. I sometimes wonder how much people will maintain their delivery habits once we can get out and about comfortably again. The delivery services – food and non-food – are really raking it in. I appreciate the convenience but I worry about the environmental impact… I also like to poke around in a real store now and then.

  16. I too have been looking for options to having to plan and prepare dinner every night.

    My experience has been that the takeout options in our area aren’t to my liking, but I was disappointed to discover that most meal services offered online were of the kind you mentioned here. You still have to make the meal yourself. From the reviews I had read online, the cons were exactly what you mentioned – produce that wasn’t very fresh, and over-packaging.

    I wanted something that was more heat-and-serve.

    About a month ago, I finally found a catering company that had expanded their business offering during the pandemic to include prepared food in servings for two. Unlike ordering from restaurants, the food arrives cold with reheating instructions provided.

    We have had several of their meal options and the food has been amazing, as well very generously portioned. This was a business almost exclusively devoted to corporate events and weddings, but I was happy to hear yesterday that they have developed a strong and loyal customer base during our never-ending lockdown and will survive this pandemic …. unlike so many other businesses in the city.

    Perhaps you might find a similar business in your area.

    1. I’m glad you reminded me. We had a few of those opportunities around here too. Several restaurants created full “family-sized” meals and at least one catering company did the same. We took advantage of that several times but not lately. I think I’ll check them out again because, you are right, many times I just want to sit down to a warm meal, without the prep and clean-up.

      1. I think when this is finally behind us, I will want to have a big party to belatedly celebrate my 65th. The catering company I found offering takeout during this latest lockdown will be my first choice to handle the food. My anticipation is building 🙂

  17. I really appreciated this detailed ‘review’ of meal kits in general and Hello Fresh specifically. I’ve viewed these services as a blessing for when I am not in the ‘neighborhood’ to prepare meals to friends and family in times of crises (deaths in family, births, sickness, etc). As such, I think of them as temporary helps…and am ‘happy’ to pay the price and accept whatever quality their meals actually produce.
    With the Pandemic, these services understandably expanded!
    Also with the Pandemic issues of packaging have also ‘expanded’….sigh.
    I like that you have actually gotten new recipe ideas from this along with ease of eating a home-cooked meal without having to navigate the COVID crowds!

  18. I always wonder about these meal kits when I’m too busy to get to the store. Haven’t done it…yer

  19. Your reflections are spot on. I just stopped Hello Fresh for some of the same reasons but kept all the recipe cards. It was fun for awhile and I learned a few new tricks, (zest, zest, zest) but it became somewhat repetitive and once my discounts ran out, too expensive. My husband will miss the nicely plated dinners I presented him! He felt like he was living a 1950’s dream. Time for a reality check and more leftovers. 🙂

    1. They did encourage a lot of zesting, which added a nice layer to flavors. When we started, I wasn’t aware that we could pick and choose our meals so it seemed like we kept getting one with spaghetti and one hamburger-like meal. Once I figured it out (duh), I was able to get much more interesting choices. No more 1950s dream?… your poor husband 🙂

  20. I tried out Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, and one other one (can’t recall name) back when I was trying to jump start my cooking in early retirement. I did enjoy getting exposure to some new ingredients and engaging my cooking skills, but found that a lot of Hello Fresh was “basic”, as in I could have most of that on hand with no problem (and at lower cost). I might explore again in the future, but during the pandemic, I’ve been watching some of the magazines for seasonal recipes and making a 2 week tentative meal-plan before shopping. The new recipes have been fun; not a lot of keepers, but luckily Tim will eat almost anything I make. (Almost being a key word!) Right now, I’m on a freezer/pantry clean-out… we are moving 900 miles and the movers will not take anything liquid , frozen, opened or that can “expire”… which is a lot of things in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. A few dinners have been “odd combinations”, but I’m working things down.

    1. I think we actually had more interesting meals when we were on the vegetarian program. We decided to switch when they became repetitive (good, but repetitive). That way, we could choose a vegetarian meal when we wanted. You are right about seasonal recipes… I didn’t notice that Hello Fresh did much of that. We received a few very sorry looking tomatoes in the winter. I love odd combo meals… kind of like your very own, personal potluck!

  21. I love looking at recipes and menus and getting ideas for creative meals. We have ingredients on hand for just about everything you can imagine! But I’m not always so good at actually following through, LOL. There are nights that I would be happy to just have some cheese and crackers and olives with my gin and tonic and call it good. Fortunately, Eric also loves to eat well, and he likes to cook, so we’re saved from my laziness, haha!

    1. We had a family friend – now passed, unfortunately – who loved nothing better than a “meal” of fruit, nuts, crackers, and cheese (and probably wine). We still call it “Bud’s Dinner” when we have it. Sometimes it’s the perfect meal when we aren’t not too hungry but want to graze. Lucky you to have a husband who likes to cook!

  22. Thanks for your honest review, Janis. I have never tried a service like Hello Fresh. I like the creativeness of cooking. Before the pandemic, Hubby and I used to go out for dinner frequently. Now that we eat all our meals at home, I don’t mind cooking, it’s coming up with different meal plans each week that is a chore for me.

    1. Although we’ve never been big restaurant-goers, having to come up with a week’s worth of meals is a hassle I’d rather not do (a big reason I love leftovers). Having 2 – 4 meals already determined was nice… we still needed to prep and cook, but we didn’t have to plan.

  23. We have Hello Fresh here too, also one called Mindful Chef which seems to be more highly recommended. I’ve never tried either as they do sound to be just as much bother as cooking from scratch! What we have tried is the odd boxed meal from a restaurant – the dishes are prepared but need to be heated. They were much fancier than what we would normally make, with multiple dishes per course, so again seemed a lot of trouble, and we were left with a lot of plastic packaging. I think we’ll just stick to our own cooking. Pre-pandemic we ate out a lot, so we’ve both had to expand our repertoires – we cook alternate nights – and have developed some new favourites. Another plus is that we have both lost weight without all that restaurant food and drink.

    1. I love that the two of you cook alternate nights! Do you get to choose the meals you make or is one person in charge of the week’s menu planning? I remember that my mom did most of the cooking but Thursday was “Dad’s night” to make dinner. It was usually pasta and my mom relished not having to lift a finger for one night. You are so right about the calories involved in eating out. It’s a nice treat but I think most of us would be pretty shocked if we knew how many calories were in our restaurant meals.

      1. Menu planning is what? 😉I shop each week then we each decide on the night depending on what is there. Fortunately there is an odd number of days in the week so that it’s not always the same person looking at a near-empty fridge on the last night.

  24. Thanks for the review. I was wondering how some of them were but haven’t tried any. We had done online ordering from our local grocery and have had it delivered or we would pick up. Masks, crowded aisles and empty shelves do not make for happy shopping.

    1. I never was crazy about grocery shopping anyway so I wonder if the curbside pick-up option (which we take advantage of too) will be around after we can get out and about safely again. They make it pretty convenient and you don’t have to wander around the store wondering what aisle something is on or stand in line to check out.

  25. I appreciate your review of this type of service. I think all the packaging and shipping would niggle at my conscience, though. After all the dinners I’ve cooked for the past year, I am glad to be going out to restaurants again! Someone sent me an email sign up for a local chef who delivers prepared meals for two to a central location, but I haven’t yet received an email – so I don’t know if that will ever happen.

    1. Oh my, I wish that chef worked in this area! So many food service professionals have gotten very creative so they can stay afloat until people are out again. Although I’m comfortable eating outside in certain circumstances (with other double-dosers and no crowds), it may be a while until I will venture inside. Fortunately, in SoCal, we can eat outside pretty much all year.

  26. Very informative Janis! I’ve never tried one of these services. I might have to join you all in this plate challenge!

  27. I am looking forward to retirement and learning how to cook – I really use the crockpot more than anything else. This service looks like a great deal – it is just me, so I always have leftovers.

  28. I like all of this because I’m always looking for options. My wife, however, is a by-the-book foodie whose only idea of a shortcut is either going out to a restaurant or getting takeout. There’s no in-between for something like this. But again, I like it because it provides nice options especially during a time when going out in public continues to be dicey. It really sounds like you guys figured out what works, what doesn’t, and how you can change it all up to suit your desires. Well done! – Marty

    1. I think most of us found ways to work around our normal routines that helped us get through the craziness. Hello Fresh was a nice option for a while and we may re-up when we get tired of our own recipes. I am forever grateful that we were able to adjust with minimal disruptions. It sounds like you are in the very lucky position to reap the benefits of your wife’s culinary skills.

  29. Whenever Mark and I visited my parents in Belgium (and stayed with them), they’d subscribe to Hello Fresh (back then the only game in town), so we could prepare healthy, tasty, and varied meals for all of us.

    While we didn’t pay for it, the two of us made all the meals and our biggest complaint was the amount of time it took to prepare the recipes. And the amount of dishes afterwards. Even with the two of us, we were not able to stick to the indicated time frame.

    I also agree with the amount of waste in each box. Yet, I did enjoy all of the meals and the variety in recipes. Thank you for providing your insights about this method, Janis. Many of them I agree with. But, we never had leftovers. The meals were for four people and all of us are big eaters. 🙂

    1. These services certainly aren’t time-savers as far as preparation, that’s for sure. Also, there are a lot of dishes to wash. I guess the savings is all in the planning and shopping. Also, we didn’t have leftovers unless we added veggies and starches (usually not more meat) to the ingredients.

  30. I’ve never tried a food delivery service, mostly because I don’t like to plan my meals ahead and I’m one of those rare people who really doesn’t mind going to the grocery store. I’ve gone throughout the pandemic, just worn my mask and kept a healthy distance from others. But I did appreciate your review, as it’s interesting to hear from those who have tried them. And I can see where they would come in handy!

    1. I’m afraid that if I didn’t plan our week’s meals, we’d end up having spaghetti or stir-fry every night 🙂 I do miss going to the grocery store and getting inspired for a meal based on what I saw. Throughout the pandemic, we go as early as possible, with a list, and get in and out as quickly as we can. Now that we both have our two vaccines, we are a little more casual, but we still don’t dilly-dally.

  31. Thanks for sharing your review. We’ve never tried one of these services. My daughter did while in college – she and her roommate found a way to get lots of free shipments by the referral process. Saved them money and shopping trips via the subway/trains in Chicago. I’m so picky about veggies at the store…I can’t imagine the freshness factor being 100% good in a ship to your door system? Cheers to you and your hubby cooking together!

    1. Cooking together can be fun… as long as each person is responsible for their specific part. 🙂 We were surprised by the lack of freshness we experienced sometimes but, fortunately, we had our own produce to substitute. I can’t imagine going grocery shopping via subways and trains – so happy that I just need to hop in my car.

      1. Yes, it can be fun. My hubby tends to enjoy me being the clean-up person and stay out of his way while he does the cooking. Unless I’m in charge of the microwave items. Then I can help.
        I told him about your post and now he’s thinking about ordering some kind of box delivery just to try it out.
        I’m with you on shopping via a car – much more convenient, that’s for sure!

  32. I have used Hello Fresh and Home Fresh, but in both cases went for the more oven ready, less prep meals. In m (our case) we have a large stovetop oven which gets used ninety percent of the time and the foil pans fit in there. I’m generally mainly ordering meals not to have to cook and if that’s ever the step you wanted to take, they are often local. I have a local place called front porch pantry that makes and delivers meals for two..

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience! I was surprised at the prep (and subsequent dirty dishes) the Hello Fresh meals required. I don’t mind cooking but I usually avoid recipes with a lot of ingredients and prep. Those pre-prepared meals sound like a good idea. I think a few local restaurants and catering companies started to do that with Covid. I wonder if they will continue afterwards?

  33. I enjoyed your critique of this Service. I’ve thought about Home Delivery Meals during COVID and with The Man and I getting Older and not eating so much. We’re still Raising a Teen Grandchild whose a typical picky eater so it wouldn’t work for her and would mean the convenience factor at Home is Lost. Most of these are expensive, but once I was on a Home Delivery Dietary Plan and it was not bad and I did lose the 61 lbs. I needed to at the time, having Dieticians prepping the whole shebang took all the Guesswork out of it. BTW: Found your Blog via Widow Badass and LOVED your Blog’s Name, so Clever! There are times now where I feel Retirementally Challenged, for sure!

    1. Welcome to my blog! Thanks for popping over and leaving a comment.

      You are right that these services aren’t for everyone… and, even if they appeal, it’s not something to do long-term. They make it easy to pause but, after pausing for a little more than a month, we have canceled. Now back to having to figure out every night’s meal (with plenty of planned leftovers in the mix), I do miss that green box showing up on our porch every Monday 🙂

  34. Thanks for providing an account of your experience with Hello Fresh, Janis. I was curious about it, and haven’t tried it myself. I like to cook, and also to be spontaneous, and therefore have tried a service like this yet. However… although I like to cook, it never occurred to me when I was a young woman, that I would spend the rest rest of my life cooking dinner for others EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. In recent years, we’ve developed the pattern of going out for dinner once a week and Rob cooks once a week, and I cook the other five nights. During the pandemic, the “going out” night shifted to patio dining, takeout, or precooked frozen meals from our local independent grocer (depending on the covid case numbers).


    1. I agree… cooking isn’t a huge chore, but coming up with menus, then prepping, then cooking, and – flesh – everything is gone, gets a bit tiresome. Although we enjoyed the variety of Hello Fresh dinners, there was a ton of prep… and no leftovers. Thanks goodness grilling season is here!

  35. Hi Janis
    Great post about hello fresh!
    My son had something like this come for a while and my step daughter also did!
    The packing materials are the thing I like the least.
    But I guess it out culture to just have shipping materials waste
    However – what alarms me is having food come into contact with so much plastic and materials
    I am sure they use food grade plastics – but recently was reading a book about the food contact with materials and it does subtly add up.
    The organs in the body and the glands –
    The small leeching of chemicals is there

    And when you said
    “One scallion wrapped in plastic or two tablespoons of sour cream in a pouch” seemed wasteful – I agree – but I was also thinking about what the food picked up from that packaging –

    Anyhow – (again) enjoyed this post and it sounds like the creative exploration of the meals and lots made the pandemic more enjoyable

    1. The leeching of chemicals is something I haven’t thought much about… but I guess I need to reconsider. Yikes! I’m curious what you use while grocery shopping to put your five apples or two onions in. I used to use a mesh bag but during Covid, that practice has been curtailed.

      1. Hi – when I was thinking of packaging and food – I was referring more to the longer exposure and food being wrapped – like single servings of sauces or dips have plastic on all sides of a smal lol amount
        I heard this is why those Keurig coffee pods are not ideal – single serving of coffee grounds stored in that plastic – shipped and all that-
        And even the Starbucks instant coffee in the little sleeves has that single item stored in a wrapper for so long!
        So I think food from the store to bring home is likely fine – what do you think? I am mostly sugar free in my eating and usually only have grapefruits – but when we bought apples – they did come in the plastic bags – and hubs enjoys frozen blueberries in a huge plastic bag.
        And so we both know that plastic and wrappers are all round and no fully getting away from it – but all this take out food really does offer something to think about –

        1. I have tried to reduce my use of plastics, and just about anything that is single-use, then thrown away, but it’s hard in our modern world. I guess the best we can do is be aware and try to limit our impact. Those Keurig pods are terrible. I have a coffeemaker that has it’s own built-in filter. Then, the grounds go in our compost.

          1. Hi Janis – I have enjoyed this bit of comment chat and whew – it sure is difficult (impossible) to avoid all plastics. And we try to use glass containers for storing food and then if I use plastic wrap – I try not to have it touch hot food or try not to have it touch the food at all

            and your coffee built-in filter sounds like that has many perks and a little cost saver too – 🙂
            then the grounds for the garden – right on

            and side note on coffee – I have noticed a difference between organic coffee and regular – the organic seems better (less acidic) and I never have to add a pinch of baking soda to smooth it out
            Years ago I heard someone suggest adding a dahs of baking soda to the coffee grounds and then of course right after that I heard a few more people suggest it (and one lady even put backing sodas under her tongue to bring her acidic level down and adjust the body’s PH).
            anyhow, non-organic coffee seems more acidic to me – and once day after a Starbucks I felt nauseous = and I had a little baking soda in a baggy and put some under my tongue and all was well – hmmmm

  36. They put the butter because the risotto has to be creamed to be excellent. I don’t know if you know the “creaming” of risotto but you can search youtube and see and then try to do it and feel the difference. 😉 I’m from Italy, I prepare rice almost every day. I often cream it with butter and white wine ( Prosecco is done in my town), it’s delicious 😋😋😋

  37. Hi Janis, I followed Donna’s link to this post. How fun and what an in-depth analysis. I haven’t ever tried any of those boxed meals, but one of our neighbors did during the middle of the pandemic and loved it. I think she might have lost a bit of weight as well. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. I’m impressed that your friend lost weight during the pandemic! At first, my husband and I ate more than our normal portions because we didn’t think there was enough for leftovers. But, once we figured out how we could add more veggies and/or starches to stretch out the meals, we usually could get two full meals (four servings) out of one boxed meal for two.

      1. She had a lot of issues going on besides COVID. And the meals helped her eat more nutritious foods in better proportions.

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