I’ve been reviewing meal kits for a long time, and I always try to approach them with an open mind. It can be tricky sometimes though, to put myself in another diner’s shoes. As a married lady with no kids, I don’t have to worry about picking meals my children will eat, and as someone older and established in my career, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to worry about pulling together meals on a student’s schedule and budget.
Meal kits weren’t really a thing back when I was a student, and I sometimes wonder if I would have used them if they were. I’m pretty sure they would have helped balance out my mostly-hummus-and-pizza diet, but would I have liked them? Would they have saved me time? Could I have afforded them?
In order to find out how meal kits could work for someone in school today, I first needed to find the right meal delivery service. HelloFresh is MSA’s Readers’ Choice for Best Meal Kit, and I had a feeling their “easy prep” meals might be a good fit for busy students. Next up, I needed a student helper. Luckily, one of my best friends’ sisters, Vina, just started medical school, and she was eager to try out HelloFresh and give me some genuine student feedback.
In this review, I’ll showcase the meals she selected and then pick her brain about how she found the experience of cooking them, ask whether she liked the food, and see if she liked HelloFresh enough to continue subscribing on her own.
But first, let’s meet Vina!
Vina just started her first year of med school, and I can personally vouch for the fact that she’ll have the best darn bedside manner the medical profession has ever seen. (Here's a picture of her in her white coat with her proud sis.) She’s a great dog mom, a fabulous tennis player, and all around lovely human being. Funny but true "doctor joke" fact: her favorite cocktail is the Painkiller.
Vina’s HelloFresh “Easy Prep” Meal Picks
Here are the three meals that Vina selected for her HelloFresh delivery:
- Sheet Pan Pork Sausage & Pepper Flatbreads
- One-Pan Turkey Stir-Fry Tacos
- One-Pan Cheesy Beef Tortilla Melts
She cooked all of the meals herself, and then photographed them.
Vina’s Thoughts on HelloFresh’s “Easy Prep” Meals
After Vina had a chance to cook through her HelloFresh box, I called her up to ask her about her experience. Here’s how our chat went:
Lindsey: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about your HelloFresh meals, Vina! Let’s start with a little background. Is this your first meal kit experience or have you tried other ones before?
Vina: This is my first time trying HelloFresh, but I’ve used Sunbasket in the past.
L: How did you find the experience of cooking HelloFresh's “Easy Prep” meals?
V: I thought it was great! The recipes were very easy to understand, and I like how there was barely any clean-up. I only had to use 1 pan, maybe a bowl, and 2 other utensils per recipe.
L: On average, how long did it take to make the meals?
V: Typically, 20 minutes. 30 minutes tops!
L: Which meals were your favorite? Were there any you didn’t enjoy?
V: My favorites were the sheet pan pork sausage & pepper flatbreads and the one-pan turkey stir-fry tacos because they were so tasty! The one-pan cheesy beef tortilla melts were the easiest to cook with the least amount of clean-up, but it was my least favorite because it was little heavy for me.
L: As a student, how could you see HelloFresh’s quick & easy meals fitting into your lifestyle?
V: My favorite part about HelloFresh was how much time I saved! I felt like I saved an extra 3-4 hours a week because I didn't have to go to the grocery store, cut up/prep the ingredients for my meals, and I was able to cook delicious and quick meals, so I could get back to doing my school work. Also, I loved how the meals came in compact prep bags, so when you have roommates, you're not crowding the fridge space.
L: Would you consider subscribing? Do you think you’d be able to afford HelloFresh on your student budget?
V: I think I would be able to afford a subscription, but if there was a student discount it would encourage me to stick with it. I could actually see my roommate and I sharing a subscription. We already cook together a few times a week, so if we subscribed together it would reduce the individual cost. The meals were really easy to make in our limited kitchen with a lack of space/appliances.
L: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience with HelloFresh?
V: I really did enjoy the meals! I hadn’t thought about signing up for a meal kit subscription, but this has convinced me that it might be a really good option for me!
Thanks so much, Vina, for giving us a student's perspective on HelloFresh.
If you’d like to learn more about HelloFresh, hop on over to our brand page. There, you’ll find reviews, reader ratings, and lots more info.
Have you tried HelloFresh? Head to the comments section and let us know!