How A HelloFresh Box Got My 2020 Healthy Eating Resolutions Off To The Best Start

Lots of veg, healthy ingredients and new recipes are my top priority for 2020. But when life gets in the way, so do the bad habits. Could HelloFresh be the answer? See how I got on...

New year, new me - that’s how the old saying goes. Come 1st January, I - along with pretty much every other person in the universe - consistently make a valiant effort to get fit and healthy after a little too much over indulging over the festive period. But my efforts usually fall flat after a few days after I’ve caught a glimpse at all the leftover Christmas chocolate (well, it’s not like I can let it go to waste!). But this year feels different somehow, like I’m more committed to see it through. 

According to research*, eating better is Britain’s top resolution for 2020 - trumping exercise, giving up booze and spending more time with family. So maybe we really are trying a little harder this year? More than ever, we’re aware of the impact of poor food has on our health, and the negative effect food waste has on the planet meaning millions of Brits are pledging to clean up their act. But life can get in the way, meaning if we’re truly to stick to our resolutions, we might need a bit of outside help. Enter, then, HelloFresh who deliver all the fresh ingredients and step-by-step recipe cards straight to your door. No shopping, no planning, no waste - basically, your easiest January (and every month after!) ever and the best way to keep those resolutions intact. Plus, it could be your cheapest as HelloFresh are offering Female First readers an exclusive 35% off their first 4 boxes with the code HELLOFF35!

So how did I get on? See my HelloFresh diary below…

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First Up, Choosing My Box

When starting your subscription, you get to choose the box and number of people that works for you. Families will naturally gravitate towards the Family Box, featuring kid friendly 2-pot dishes, whilst the time-conscious among us will rip open the Rapid Box, containing up to 4 speedy under 20 meals . As I have a little more than 20 minutes spare in an evening, enjoy cooking and wanted access to the full whack of dishes, I’ve gone for the Classic Box containing 3 recipes for 2 people (but you can up both of these amounts). 

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Selecting My Recipes

My other half and I made a conscious effort in 2019 to dramatically reduce our meat intake and for 2020 we’ve gone Pescetarian, with more of a leaning towards the vegetarian side during the week. From the menu, I’ve opted for two plant based options - the Indian-Style Chickpea and Pistachio Burger and Roasted Butternut Squash Curry, and one fish dish - the ever so fancy Pan-Fried Monkfish Medallions with Fennel. For me, the biggest challenge for 2020 is to try healthy recipes outside of my regular repertoire (I basically rotate the same 10 dishes). The curry is similar to something I’d usually make but with less fuss and a fresh spin, whilst I’d be more likely to buy a pre-made burger or stick to boring salmon. Off to a good start!

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Delivery Time

It’s Sunday morning, and I’ve woken up to a miserable day outside. The last thing I want to do is think up a shopping list and head out on a quest to supermarket. Then, the doorbell rings - my knight in shining armour, the HelloFresh delivery man. Ok, so I have to get out of bed to answer him but that’s about it - no agonising over recipes, only to find the ingredients missing at the shop. Just a cardboard box, with goodies portioned into separate paper bags for tonight. Since they’ve been packed with reusable chill packs to keep everything cool, back to bed I go…

Unboxing

Ok, I’m up and to be honest, I’m pretty excited to see what’s inside. I check the contents of each meal bag (everything you need for one recipe is kept together - so easy!) and can see some pretty attractive fresh veg looking back at me. The joy of HelloFresh is that literally everything except salt, pepper and cooking oil is taken care of, right down to the portion size. That teaspoon of flour the recipe mentions? Yep, it’s perfectly measured out. The tablespoon of turmeric? No spoon required. It’s a dream come true for anyone trying to ease into their new year’s healthy eating with as little distraction as possible.

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Netflix and cook? Perfect sized portions make these recipes so easy

Recipe One: Indian-Style Chickpea & Pistachio Burger with Turmeric Wedges and Rocket

Since it’s Sunday, I've slept through breakfast time and haven’t left the house so I’m cooking up one of the recipes for lunch for myself and my boyfriend. First on the menu, the veggie burger. I pretty much always buy veggie burgers pre-made because making my own always seemed like a lot of faff, but I’m surprised at how simple this is. The most laborious bit is grating a carrot and de-shelling some nuts - hardly a chore. The recipe card - complete with pictures - couldn’t be easier and the suggestion to put turmeric and nigella seeds on the potato wedges is genius. As it said it would, it’s taken me 40 minutes but I’ve been watching Netflix so it flies by. The portions are decent which keeps the boyfriend happy, and I’m pleased - though I did end up fishing around for a little more spice. 

Spot the difference! The recipe card made it easy to nail a picture-perfect meal.

Recipe Two: Pan-Fried Monkfish Medallions with Roasted Fennel, Samphire and a Lemon Butter Sauce

Dinner time, and the boyfriend is taking a stab at it. He usually gets quite flustered with recipes and uses every pot and pan in the cupboard but he’s taking this in his stride. We tend to stick to salmon, haddock or basa if we cook due to price, so monkfish is a real treat! When I’m called to eat it, the plate looks seriously appetising though he’s a bit peeved that the high volume of samphire means it’s not as pretty as the picture. I’d rather have the samphire, and polish off the lot - so quickly, I forget to take a picture. Oops! But trust me, I’ll be making this one again. But for now, I just do the washing up!

So fancy! I promise my version looked just as good.

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Recipe Three: Roasted Butternut Squash Curry with Green Beans and Fluffy Rice

It’s the end of the first Monday back at work following the break and I’ve just nailed a Class Pass boxing session, so I’m exhausted and it’s getting late. Luckily, I don’t have to think or buy anything as everything for my final dinner is waiting in the fridge. Whichever recipe I follow for a curry, I always find I have to freestyle on the spice levels so I was shocked when this one needed no adjustments. I was worried I’d be hungry as I usually add a bit of naan bread, but sour cream instead of yoghurt made this curry rich and satisfying. 40 minutes and 600 calories later, I’m a happy bunny. 

It was amazing to try some super interesting veggie options like this

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Final Thoughts

It’s no secret that Christmas has the best food - and lots of it - so I was nervous that I’d find it a nightmare to keep my January healthy eating on track. But how wrong was I? With HelloFresh holding my hand and providing recipes to get excited about, staying on the straight and narrow was unbelievably easy. It fit in perfectly with the time I had, including a particularly busy and tiring evening, and gave me at least 2 of my 5 a day in every meal. It’s also made me think harder about my portion sizes and how much I usually waste - something I really want to improve for 2020. But most of all, it was FUN. Trying new recipes in a controlled way and playing with quality, fresh ingredients is enough to make you feel like you’re on Master Chef. I’m definitely going to subscribe on busy weeks to ease the load, and it’s good to know you can pause your subscription at any time. Sign. Me. Up. 


Image by: HelloFresh

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*Carried out on behalf of HelloFresh