I can’t tell you how many nights our HelloFresh meal kits have saved our lives… and probably our marriage lol. That daunting question “what’s for dinner?” can cause serious stress at the end of an already-long day. And even as a health coach, it can be unrealistic to be prepared 100% of the time.
Caveat… if you don’t already know, you still have to cook with HelloFresh haha. So yes, it takes some time to prepare, but honestly even if you don’t love cooking, I will say the directions are super clear and you have all the ingredients and portions of everything you need.
You might be thinking “So, Tessie, if you loooovvve it that much, why change it?”
Welp, also as a health coach, I have a few “upgrades” that will help you make your HelloFresh meals more nutrient-dense, macronutrient-balanced, and even tastier.
If you ever want to try HelloFresh, grab $150 OFF here as a gift from me!
Ok, let’s get to the tips!
Here are the 5 ways I upgrade HelloFresh meals:
1. Add More Veggies
Sometimes the vegetables that come with HelloFresh tend to be a little bit on the starchy side, such as potato wedges. And sometimes they can get a little redundant… carrots, broccoli, green beans, etc.
One thing we’ve done to add a little more variety and get more vegetables is simply add in a veggie that cooks similarly to a one already in the recipe.
For example, if there are roasted carrots or green beans, we have added broccoli, cauliflower, squash or beets. You can add the additional vegetable to the baking sheet and follow the instructions and it will cook right alongside the already included vegetable.
Best tip for getting your oven-roasted veggies crispy and golden brown? be sure to spread them out in one even layer and try not to have them touch. Also, if you have the patience, flip them all over or toss halfway through cooking.
If the meal is a bowl, like a taco bowl or Asian inspired bowl, you can try roughly chopping some kale or spinach, sauté it in olive oil for three minutes and then just throw it in the bowl with everything else. It won’t taste any different, and you’ll be adding in a cup of leafy greens!
2. Add More Protein
Depending on the meal, sometimes we have a little bit left over, and sometimes we are left a tiny bit still hungry. This happens more often to Bruce.
Protein is a component of our meals that can help us feel satiated. If you’re an active person, you want to be sure you’re getting enough protein. If you have questions on this, or want to know how much protein would support your personal daily lifestyle, book a complimentary call with me here.
For some of our meals, I will divide up the portions where I have a little less protein and it’s still enough for me. If we have additional chicken breast in the freezer, for instance, and the meal is with chicken, there is usually enough seasoning to add in one more chicken cutlet or breast.
Another way to add a little bit of protein is to have some cooked chickpeas or lentils on hand. You can add half a cup to your meal and it will definitely boost the protein value! Edamame or black beans work well too.
If you are really looking to increase protein, with any meal that comes with rice, switch that rice out for quinoa. Now, this will be an extra expense and I’m not saying to just throw the rice out.
Maybe you can use the rice for something else. By replacing the rice with quinoa you’ll definitely increase the protein of any meal. Quinoa is an ancient grain, cooks similarly to rice, and has almost all 13 essential amino acids that our body needs to get from food.
3. Add Fresh Fish or Seafood to a Vegetarian Meal
I will say, we’ve ordered meals that come with fish one or two times from HelloFresh. They were OK, but when it comes to seafood, fresh is always better.
One thing we’ve tried recently is simply ordering a vegetarian meal from HelloFresh and then swinging by our local store to pick up some salmon or tilapia.
We’ve also selected a meal with chicken, but we save the chicken for something else, and actually seasoned tilapia with the seasoning that came with the HelloFresh chicken meal. It was delicious!
If you are vegan or vegetarian, I would invite you to boost the protein with one of the options in step 2 for as many meals as you can.
4. Enhance the Seasoning
If I’m being completely honest, the sauces and seasonings are a huge part of the reason that we even order HelloFresh. I love that everything comes portioned out with the exact amount of seasoning you’re supposed to use is right there on the directions.
Everything turns out tasting really good. Left to my own devices of creating sauces and seasoning, I don’t always get it right lol. Good sauce or seasoning can be the difference between a bland healthy meal and a tasty healthy meal!
Interestingly, sometimes the vegetable seasoning with HelloFresh is really just salt and pepper. Which surprisingly still taste really good.
However, if I want to add a little extra spice or flavor to something (for instance maybe roasted carrots or potato wedges) I will add a little lawry‘s seasoning salt, paprika, chili powder and a dash of red pepper flakes.
Another way I’ve edited seasoning is with the fire cracker meatball meal. I actually add about 2 teaspoons of soy sauce to the meat mixture when making the meatballs and a teaspoon to the sauce that the meatballs get covered with after they are cooked. I use tamari which is a gluten-free soy sauce substitute. You can also try coconut aminos.
One way I will make seasoning healthier is replace sugar with monk fruit sweetener. Certain sauces call for sugar to thicken the sauce. I will actually use monk fruit which is a natural sweetener and 1:1 sugar replacement.
I get the brand Lakanto. It’s a 0 cal natural sugar replacement, and to me has no aftertaste like Stevia or Splenda can have.
5. Substitute with More Nutrient-Dense Ingredients
This ties into the tips above, but I wanted to give a few other examples of ingredients to consider substituting. The purpose of subbing in a different ingredient is simply to up the nutritional value of your meal overall.
We don’t do this with every meal, but it’s there as an option if you want to try it! Here are the top ingredients to use alternatives for:
- Sugar – substitute with monk fruit sweetener
- White Rice – substitute with quinoa, brown or wild rice
- Beef and Pork – sometimes you’ll have the option when selecting meals to choose a different protein. You could opt to choose chicken or ground turkey when available, in order to stick to leaner protein options. Sometimes we’ll keep the meat as is, in order to keep variety and not have all chicken meals, which gets boring.
- Potatoes – substitute with sweet potatoes, rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. White potatoes are not evil, and definitely still have great fiber and nutrients. Save them for breakfast, as our body will use that energy throughout the day.
- Cooking Oil – typically when the recipe card calls for cooking oil, it wants you to use a high heat oil. Olive oil is healthy, but has a smoke point of around 350 degrees. When searing meats we’ll usually go above that.
- When oil goes way past it’s smoke point, it can lose its flavor profile, and even release free radicals, which we don’t want in our bodies.
- The healthiest high heat oils to use are: avocado oil, safflower oil, and sesame oil (which will have a slight nutty flavor). Avoid canola and palm oil if possible. Again, I know this might not be 100% of the time. I still have canola oil on hand, and you can try an organic version of it.
All in all, HelloFresh works for our lifestyle right now. We do the minimum delivery which is 3 meals a week for 2 people.
It comes out to about $11 a meal for each of us. On nights we aren’t prepared to cook, and without HelloFresh, we know we’d be spending at least $15 a person on dinner, minimum. So it’s worth it from that regard. If you order more meals per week, the price per meal goes down, too!
If we’re out of town or just want to take a break, we can edit delivery frequency to every 2 or 4 weeks, or just skip a week.
And if you want to give this meal kit delivery thing a try, grab $150 OFF as my gift to you. Cancel anytime!
Comment below with any questions or thoughts you have!