A Dietitian’s Review of Green Chef

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This is the second installment of my home-delivered meal kit review series (click here to read my first review of Hello Fresh). I’ve got to tell you – this is pretty fun! I love the convenience of having someone else do the meal planning, then the ingredients and instructions magically appear at my doorstep. This time I tried Green Chef, a service that boasts all organic ingredients.

How Does It Work?

Green Chef has more meal plan options than some of the other companies. You can choose from paleo, vegan, gluten-free, omnivore, carnivore, and vegetarian. Within those plans, you can choose a two-person plan that delivers three meals, or a family-of-four plan that delivers two meals. Once you provide your credit card number, you are automatically enrolled in the reoccurring weekly program. You can opt to skip a week, downgrade to a less frequent plan, or cancel all together.

Meals are delivered on weekdays; which days depends on the region in which you live. Meals are not delivered on weekends. Meals are delivered by 8:00 pm, and can be left on your doorstep as the food is packaged with ice and insulation to maintain a safe temperature. The ingredients needed for the meal come accompanied by a step-by-step recipe with pictures and nutrition information.

How Much Does It Cost?

The price per serving for each meal plan are as follows: $10.49 for vegetarian, $11.99 for omnivore, $11.99 for vegan, $13.49 for carnivore, $13.49 for gluten-free, and $14.99 for paleo. Keep in mind that there is a two-person plan with three meals, and a four-person plan with two meals, so the total cost will vary accordingly. There’s also an additional $9.00 shipping and handling fee.

A friend gave me a coupon that allowed my first order to be totally free (I just paid shipping and handling). This was a great deal, so if you’re thinking of giving it a try, be sure to put it out to your social network that you’re looking for one of these valuable coupons.

How Did It Go?

Green Chef is not my first meal kit rodeo (well, I’ve tried one other service so far). Compared to the other company, the packaging for Green Chef seemed much more compact and streamlined. Much of the packaging is recyclable, but some requires an effort that is not practical for most people (for example, the jute insulation requires a trip to a “municipal composting facility”).

Everything was packaged very neatly and the food was fresh. The ingredients for each recipe are color-coded with sticker labels that match the recipe card. I stored all ingredients in the bottom drawer of my fridge, so when it came time to cook, my four-year-old had a ball pulling out all the items that matched the color of the recipe card. I loved this, as the more he is involved in the making of the meal, the better he eats it.

I ordered the omnivore plan for two people, which was plenty of food for our young son to have some too. We got deliveries for three weeks, so we experienced nine meals (due to the cancellation policy, one more than planned – more on that later). The Omnivore plan was just how I like to eat: one seafood, one meat, and one vegetarian meal. It was a great variety. Some stand outs for me were the tuna poke bowl and the sage chicken and risotto. My husband especially liked the pasta and meatballs and the currie veggie flatbread.

When it came time to cook, I found it to be very handy to have all the ingredients in one place. The instructions were very easy to follow, but some of the recipes had many things going on at once. This of course is necessary to create some of these more elaborate recipes, and my difficulty with multitasking is probably exacerbated by managing a baby and a preschooler while cooking. There was minimal washing and chopping of vegetables involved. Compared to the other service, it seemed that more of the ingredients came fully prepped in just-right proportions.

All of the meals were quite delicious. Green Chef provides the sauces ready-made, and I found some recipes to include so many flavors that it got a bit muddled along the way. This can be controlled, however, having a lighter hand with some of the pre-made sauces.

Interestingly, early on the recipe cards did not include portions of ingredients, but that changed! I appreciated the addition of ingredient measurements, as it adds value to the customer.

Is it Healthy?

Short answer: yes. The meals that I chose did a good job following the Healthy Plate model. I appreciated that all the recipes, whether meat based or not, included a wide variety of vegetables and whole grains.

One things to be conscious of, however, is the portion size of the meals. For example, the entire serving of the tuna poke bowl contains 810 calories. You will want to be mindful while eating and use your hunger and fullness cues to determine how much you eat. Extras make a delicious lunch for the next day.

And of course, one of Green Chef’s major selling points is that it is organic. Should you choose organic? Read Part 1 and Part 2 of my series answering that question to find out.

What I Liked

  • It was so convenient to open one box and have all needed ingredients for a meal at my fingertips.
  • I loved that there was not a lot of measuring involved because most ingredients were pre-portioned.
  • Having a recipe to follow and stickered ingredients got my son interested in cooking with me.
  • I loved that it inspired me to try new techniques (eg. I learned how to make risotto!).
  • The meals were well balanced and generous in the veggie department.
  • The meals were delicious!

What I Didn’t Like

  • Some of the recipes involved a lot of moving parts happening at the same time.
  • Not all of the packaging is easily recyclable.
  • Like other services, it’s not cheap. For $11.99 you could certainly eat out (but likely not get a meal of this quality).
  • The cancellation process was not a simple click or two. In order to cancel, you must do so seven days prior to the delivery date, and after much searching on the website, I was emailed a link to do so.

Have you tried Green Chef? What did you think?

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