These are the 7 meal kit hacks that will revolutionise your meal kit experience. There’s no doubt that getting a regular delivery of fresh ingredients and new recipes to try is incredibly convenient. However, there are some pitfalls to avoid, as well as opportunities that can make sure you’re making the most of your deliveries.
I’ve been receiving meal kits for years, trying loads of different services. I love them for the simplicity and excitement they bring to my meal times, especially when I’m following the 7 hacks in this article. These allow me to make sure I’m getting the best value and freshest meals every week, with the minimum of effort.
- 1 – Buy a larger meal kit pack and reheat!
- 2 – Personalise recipes to match your own tastes.
- 3 – Get inspired by the recipes.
- 4 – Save money by being a meal kit switcher.
- 5 – Make your ingredients last longer.
- 6 – Never get caught out by an unwanted box.
- 7 – Plan ahead to beat the ‘staple ingredient’ trap.
– Buy a larger meal kit pack and reheat!
Most meal kits can be bought in boxes for either 2 or 4 people, with the larger boxes often offering a cheaper cost per serving. If you’re cooking for 1,2 or 3 people this gives you a huge opportunity to buy larger boxes to save you money.
I cook meal kits for just myself, so I’ve become accustomed to making 2 servings at the same time. I then reserve half the cooked meal for the next evening which means I only need to cook every other night! Perfect for saving both time and money. If you’re a couple this also works by ordering a 4-person box and cooking it all up at the same time.
Want some tips & tricks for reheating meal kit dinners? I have a guide on my page where I recommend best meal kit for singles. These are the general types of meals that are perfect for reheating:
- Great for Reheating – Stews, Soups, Curries, Beef, Pork, Lamb
- Can be Reheated (flavour/texture impacted) – Chicken, Fish, Potato, Pasta, Veggies
- Not to be Reheated – Salad, Herbs, Bread
– Personalise recipes to match your own tastes.
Just because meal kits come with detailed recipes, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t customise the flavours to suit your tastes!
Having a good stock of your favourite dried herbs/spices can take a good meal and make it perfect. I’m an absolute sucker for any meal that has smoked paprika in it, so I’ll always try and sneak some in when I can.
It’s worth thinking about meals and how you can customise them to suit your tastes. This could include:
- Adding extra veggies.
- Marinading the meat.
- Cooking ingredients slightly shorter/longer.
One of my favourite tricks is to roast the vegetables for a few minutes longer than the recipe says. This makes sure they’re nice and crispy with a slightly charred flavour. Yum! So, think about your tastes (and your families’ tastes) and customise your meals to make them perfect.
– Get inspired by the recipes.
It’s incredibly convenient to receive a single box with all the ingredients you need for an entire week, however this convenience comes at a price and meal kits are often more expensive that supermarket shopping. Our recent study showed HelloFresh to be 30% more expensive than buying all the individual ingredients yourself.
However, it’s possible to get access to all their fantastic recipes without actually having an active subscription. Simply register an account (or log in to your existing account) and head to the ‘cookbook’ for all the ingredients/cooking instructions you need.
This is perfect for mid-week meal inspiration and you’ll never get stuck with the same boring meals again.
– Save money by being a meal kit switcher.
You can get great discounts when you sign up as a new customer to meal kit services, but then you’ll find yourself paying full price week in / week out. Sticking with one service forever is missing out on possible value!
If you’ve received a delivery from a service, it’s worth pausing/cancelling your subscription and waiting for them to send you an incentive to start again. While you’re waiting for that incentive, you can still get meal kits from a different service.
If you rotate between all the meal kit services, you’ll find yourself getting a discount on most of your deliveries.
Of course, this isn’t much use if you really prefer one of the services. It’s not worth saving a bit of money to use services that aren’t right for you!
– Make your ingredients last longer.
Sometimes you’ll want to cook a meal 4, 5 or even 6 days after your box has arrived. At this point, some of your ‘fresh’ ingredients can be looking a bit worse for wear.
There are a couple of tricks you can master to make sure your ingredients are completely fresh when you need them:
- Eat your meals in the right order – start with salads, chicken and seafood dishes before moving on to others.
- Keep your veggies in the right place – root vegetables in the cupboard, everything else in the fridge.
- Protect your herbs – taking tender herbs out of the plastic packaging and wrapping them in a wet kitchen towel will keep them fresh for much longer.
For more details on how to look after your meal kit ingredients, I have a full guide on the best way of keeping ingredients fresh.
– Never get caught out by an unwanted box.
It’s the nightmare scenario when it comes to meal kits – you’re going away for a week and the day before you leave, a full box of ingredients turns up outside your door! The only thing you can do is give away the box to a friend or neighbour.
Alternatively, you might be making the most of hack #5 and forget to cancel your subscription. Two boxes land at your door on the same day. Disaster!
When you subscribe to a meal kit, the best thing you can do is set a weekly reminder on your calendar on the last you can edit your order. This day is slightly different for each service and delivery area, so it’s definitely worth checking your subscription to make sure you get the right day.
A general rule of thumb is to check your order 8 days before it’s due to arrive.
HelloFresh, Marley Spoon and Dinnerly all have mobile apps that mean you can check your orders ‘on the go’ – no excuse for missing another cut-off date.
– Plan ahead to beat the ‘staple ingredient’ trap.
All meal kit services recommend certain ‘staple ingredients’ within recipes that you’ll need to provide yourself. Generally, this includes items like herbs, spices and sauces where most people are likely to have these stocked in their kitchen.
However, it’s still very easy to be caught out by this and find yourself missing an ingredient when you’re mid-way through cooking. I’ve managed this a few times and ended up getting creative with substitutes. Sadly, the dish never quite tastes like it should.
That means it’s always worth double checking the recipes that are arriving to make sure you have all the ingredients you need. The best time to do this is after following hack #6, allowing you to pick up any staple ingredients next time you’re near a supermarket.
If you’re looking to start trying meal kits or you just want to try a different service, the best place to start is with our detailed reviews of the top meal kit providers in Australia. Simply click one of the buttons below: