I always love to cook healthy meals and search for new recipe ideas online to vary my dishes. However, many of those recipes do not taste good or they require so many ingredients that my grocery bill gets too expensive. I was interested in trying a meal delivery service to hopefully cut down my cooking time, my grocery cost, and vary my meals. I was especially interested in trying Blue Apron because of its variety of meal choices and customizations like its Weight Watchers selections.
How I Tested
I followed SELF’s meal-buying guide and based my review on the criteria selected by a team of dietitians. I decided to go with the four-day meal plan that serves two people. I chose it because I can get lunch and dinner for four days and vary what days I could eat each meal. I wanted to have a variety of options so I could choose among the chef’s favorites, wellness, and the fast and easy.
My menu: Cheesy Beef Enchiladas with Sweet Peppers & Rice, Tomato-Poached Tilapia with Pearl Couscous, Peppers & Olives, Italian Pork Sausage & Asparagus Pasta with Fried Sage, and Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry.
Once I created my account, it was up to Blue Apron to choose my meals. I wanted to see what they would give me to start before customizing. Beyond that, there weren’t many options to customize. Two of the four meals had the word spicy in them and I do not handle spice well, so I decided to switch it out. I wanted to see how Blue Apron would do with a fish dish so I substituted in the Tomato-Poached Tilapia. Note: You have to go through the process of signing up, adding in your delivery address, and putting in your credit card before you can see any of the recipes available.
Another customization limit is that there is no real way to have the same recipe with a different protein substituted in. On the other hand, Blue Apron does have a cookbook where you can browse by ingredient, cuisine, and seasonal recipes. I think this is a great feature before you decide to sign-up and commit to a meal kit. And for an additional cost, Blue Apron gave me the option to also add a wine pairing which I thought was a nice add-on.
As you go through the process of signing up, the site automates to show you exactly how much you will be spending (depending on if you get a meal that serves two or four). The cost for a two-person service is $10 and a four-person meal is $8. The total cost for the meal kit box that I chose was around $86 per week with delivery. The same delivery for four people would be around $138 per week.
For me, that is comparable to how much I normally spend at Trader Joe’s. I recently went shopping for a week worth of groceries and it cost me $86. However, included breakfast and enough food for seven days (versus the four-day meal kit). It did seem high when I took into consideration that I would still have to cook and prep all of the Blue Apron meals. The box was really just so that I didn’t have to go through the hassle of shopping or finding recipes to cook myself.
Order and Delivery Process
The ordering process for Blue Apron was pretty easy. Once I finished selecting my meals the order was ready to go. After confirmation, you can make changes until the date displayed on your plan settings page. (I had decided I wanted to switch out my fish recipe but the change cut-off date had already passed.)