Is HelloFresh Healthy

Is HelloFresh Healthy? The Definitive Answer

Yes, HelloFresh is definitely a healthier option than takeaways and ready meals, thanks to fresh home-cooked ingredients. This is backed up by academic research and means that HelloFresh can form part of a healthy balanced diet. However, HelloFresh is quite high in calories and fats, so we recommend taking a few small steps to reduce your intake of these.

That’s the basic answer. However, it’s important to know that it’s much more complex to really define HelloFresh as “healthy”.

This article goes in-depth into all the various factors and considers the total impact of HelloFresh on your health. Only by understanding all these factors can you personally decide whether HelloFresh is healthy for you.

You may also like our investigation on which is the healthiest meal kit in Australia (spoiler: it isn’t HelloFresh!).

What do we mean by the term “Healthy”?

Let’s start at the very top and think about what it means to be “healthy”. The WHO define this as (emphasis mine):

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

This tells us something that most of us would already be aware of. Living a healthy life involves far more than just eating “healthily” but also includes a whole host of social and mental factors as well. For the purpose of this article, I’ll be focussing purely on creating physical well-being.

What does it look like to eat healthily then? Step in the wonderful Australian Dietary Guidelines. Don’t worry, I’ve read the 226 page document so you don’t have to!

A healthy diet follows these 5 guidelines:

  1. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods.
  3. Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol.
  4. Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding.
  5. Food safety.

With respect to HelloFresh, we’re going to look further at the first 3 guidelines as they will be most relevant to Food Box Mate readers. We’ll be able to say that HelloFresh is healthy if it meets/exceeds these guidelines.

I’ll also reference a paper written by Dr Alice Gibson of the University of Sydney throughout this article. The studied every meal kit in Australia to understand how healthy your meal kits are.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Your own weight is impacted by so many different factors including diet, exercise, genetic factors, metabolism and many more. However, it’s fair to say that your food intake is the primary factor that affects your weight.

The simplest way of looking at whether your intake is suitable for a healthy weight is to look at the calories involved. Each person will have different calorific requirements but the average daily recommended consumption for women is 2,000 and for men is 2,500 (NHS). Yours may be much higher or lower.

HelloFresh have an average of 880 calories per portion (UoS). This is 44% of the daily intake for women and 35% for men.

This means that it’s incredibly important to have a balanced overall diet. Having 880 calories as part of your main meal of the day means you need to be controlled with your portions throughout the rest of the day as well.

We share some tips and tricks for making HelloFresh even healthier a little later in this article, which may allow you to spread your calorie intake throughout the day a little better.

If you’re focus in on weight loss, this can make things even more difficult. I highly recommend reading my article on whether HelloFresh is good for weight loss. This will give you some more information and useful tips to help you on your weight loss journey.

HelloFresh recently launched a range of meals under 650 calories per portion. There are at least 7 meals each week that meet these criteria and would definitely help people who are looking to control their calorific intake.

Enjoying Nutritious Foods

The second guideline recommends enjoying a variety of nutritious foods. This includes foods from five different groups: vegetables, fruit, grain, lean meats/legumes and dairy. We can review this data from the UoS article.

Food GroupAverage Per ServeRecommended Serves / Day
Vegetables3.14.0 – 5.0
FruitN/A2.0
Grain1.86.0
Legumes0.11.0 – 2.0
Meat / Alternatives1.33.0
Dairy0.52.0

It’s important to bear in mind that HelloFresh should account for ~35-45% of your daily intake, so it’s reasonable to suggest it should contribute the same amount to your daily serves of recommended foods.

HelloFresh shines here as it provides a healthy amount of vegetables with each meal, serving up over 75% of your recommended daily intake. That’s a really impressive stat and gives credibility to HelloFresh’s claims to be healthy. In contrast, I wouldn’t expect HelloFresh to contribute to your daily fruit intake, although it does offer additional fruit boxes.

You’d traditionally expect to get most of your grain intake with breakfast / lunch, although an average of 1.8 serves does seem a little low compared to recommended guidelines. It’s slightly concerning that there is a very limited amount of legumes (e.g chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans) although these are available with certain HelloFresh recipes. You may like to be careful to select recipes with some legumes in them.

Only 1.3 serves of Meat / Alternatives does surprise me, although I would say there is some crossover in the category with nuts/seeds, eggs and legumes. You’d also expect to get exposure to this category in your lunch also, so I do not believe it to be a major concern. In contrast, I would recommend ensuring you are augmenting your diet with additional dairy to reach the recommended 2x serves a day.

Limiting Fats, Salts and Sugars

The last category we’ll investigate focusses on the ‘unhealthy’ food types that we might find in our meals. There’s been lots of research into fats, salts and sugars and they all agree that these should be consumed in moderation.

HelloFresh Fat Content

Taking recommended values from a study by the cleveland clinic, we can see how HelloFresh performs on Total Fats as well as the sub-category of Saturated Fats that are a primary cause of higher cholesterol.

MacronutrientsDaily Recommended AmountHelloFresh Average / Serve
Total Fat44 – 77 grams53.4
Saturated Fat20 – 25 grams16.7

This table allows us to see that HelloFresh can take you very close to your limits of recommended daily fat intake. That’s why the UoS researchers recommend you trim the fat off any meat and use a lower amount of oil than recommended in HelloFresh recipes.

HelloFresh Salt Content

The UK’s NHS recommends that adults eat no more than 6 grams of salt each day, equating to 2.4g of sodium.

The average HelloFresh meal contains a total of 1.42g of sodium, which is around 60% of your daily intake. So, as long as your careful with your salt intake across other meals then this is a reasonably acceptable value.

It is notable however, that HelloFresh have much higher levels of sodium than any other meal kit service. That may be one bittersweet reason why HelloFresh meals taste the best.

HelloFresh Sugar Content

The World Health Organisation recommend a maximum daily sugar intake of around 50 grams per day (lower is definitely good!). This is an area where you’d expect HelloFresh to perform well as they don’t offer any desserts or sweet treats.

The average HelloFresh meal contains around 17 grams of sugar, equivalent to 34% of your recommended daily intake. This appears to be support HelloFresh’s claims to be healthy, especially as you can customise recipes to limit the ingredients that contain sugars (e.g honey).

Making HelloFresh Healthier

Now we understand the different aspects that contribute to whether HelloFresh is actually “healthy”, we can look at ways we can reduce some of the negative aspects of the HelloFresh meal kits.

  1. Splitting Portions – If you’re living on a calorie controlled diet or have a “calorie goal” then it’s very easy to split portions with HelloFresh meals. This comes down to becoming familiar with how to reheat meals and which ingredients are best left fresh – one of our 7 meal kit hacks. One meal for 2 people can easily cover both dinners and lunch the next day when you control your portion sizes.
  2. Choosing Your Recipes Carefully – We mentioned that HelloFresh has now launched a range of meals under 650 calories, which is incredibly helpful when trying to identify which recipes are healthier than others. By selecting lower calorie meals, it becomes easier to stick to more controlled diet and manage your own weight more effectively.
  3. Reduce Fats – Anyone who is concerned by the amount of fats in their food, should do the following two things when cooking with HelloFresh: Trim the fat of meats and reduce the amount of oil used in each recipe. This will dramatically cut down in the amount of fat in each meal, ensuring you stay under the daily recommended limits.

Have any other hints/tips? Let me know in the comments section at the end of this article!

Alternatives to HelloFresh

HelloFresh isn’t the only meal kit in Australia, nor is it the only service helping you become healthier. Here at Food Box Mate, we’ve reviewed all the best and have 3 recommendations for you to consider:

  • Marley Spoon – We conducted an investigation into the healthiest meal kit in Australia and Marley Spoon won this battle by some margin. This was backed up by the UoS research where Marley Spoon performed exceptionally well across most major health indicators. Their meals, price and experience are exceptionally similar to HelloFresh although I find their recipes are often lacking the ‘wow’ factor you get with HelloFresh. If health is a major concern for you, then I highly recommend trying Marley Spoon.
  • Lite n Easy – In contrast to HelloFresh, Lite n Easy serve pre-prepared meals that just need to be cooked in the microwave for a few minutes. Their weekly plans remove all the hassle from meal prep and meal selection, giving you a very clear path to weight loss. I would recommend Lite n Easy for anyone who doesn’t have a passion for cooking and wants to lose (or keep off) weight.
  • GoodnessMe Box – If your a regular ‘snacker’ like I am, GoodnessMe is absolutely revolutionary. They send a discovery box every week that includes health food products along with information about how to improve your overall health. Each month, they run a different health challenge, encouraging you to pick up healthy habits. Perfect for anyone looking to live a healthier lifestyle.

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