The Burned-Out Cook

An Honest Review of Freshly’s Meal Delivery Service

published May 15, 2020
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Credit: Freshly

When I had my first baby, about four years ago, I was boggled by how much my brain went out the window. Every scrap of mental energy went to this tiny person. Forget cooking, forget food. This went on much longer than the first month or two. In fact, that first year of her life, I cooked less than I ever had, and instead relied on a new-to-me innovation: meal delivery. I used a local service that brought meals to my house once a week and we heated them up each night, intensely grateful for a little more time to spend with our daughter, not cooking. It was surprisingly economical, too: more expensive than cooking of course, but far less per meal than takeout or delivery.

When I had my second daughter, that local service was no longer in business and I looked for alternatives. Enter: Freshly, a national service that does for meal delivery what meal kits did (ship directly to your house). Except, instead of a meal kit with elaborate instructions and cooking, these meals were ready to eat. Just heat and serve.

I’ve used Freshly quite a bit now and I have also frequently given Freshly meals as gifts to people in the middle of a transition or a move. Here’s what I think of it, after more than a year of occasional use.

How Freshly Works

Freshly sells individual-serving-sized meals (kind of like a frozen TV dinner, but freshly made). These meals are available in bundles; you can choose a plan that includes four, six, nine, or 12 meals.

Freshly ships to the entire continental United States, for a small shipping fee. When you choose your meals, you also choose a delivery date (usually at least five days out). When they arrive, you put them in the fridge immediately. To eat, you just warm them in the microwave for about three minutes.

How Much Does Freshly Cost?

Depending on the quantity of meals you buy, each individual meal is anywhere from about $8 to $11.50 apiece. Shipping for me has been about $12 total. So, for a week of six dinners for two adults, you would pay about $108.

Credit: Freshly

What Kind of Meals Does Freshly Offer?

On any given day, there are about 30 meals to choose from. One of the really appealing things about Freshly is that the meals are very transparent in their nutritional info. I have found that the meals tend to lean towards low-carb-friendly options and almost always involve meat. I haven’t seen many meals that are truly vegetarian.

Are the Meals Delicious?

Why yes! They have also improved over time. The very first time I ordered Freshly I liked the flavors but felt they could be a little bit more vibrant. The last time I ordered, though (about two weeks ago), I ordered the Livorno Chicken (a Tuscan-esque chicken breast with white beans, smoky kale, and turkey bacon) and Chicken Laredo (a Southwest-inspired chicken with black beans and grits). Both were delicious — satisfying, punchy, and very smartly put together. They reheated beautifully and tasted zesty, with tender meat and a ton of flavor.

Is Freshly Worth the Money?

If you are looking to skip cooking for a week, yes, absolutely. If you’re watching portion sizes or want an easy button for following a dietary preference, yes, it makes it so easy and no-brainer. Also, Freshly is an amazing gift for a friend or family with a new baby, new house, new job, or any other stress. To gift Freshly you just buy a gift card through their site and it mails it instantly.

While I cook so much now, there have been times when the tradeoff of cooking vs. spending time with my family was different. And even now there are times when a few nights off cooking is a huge help in staying refreshed and on top of life. Freshly is my back-pocket solution for those times, and I’m grateful for it.

Have you tried Freshly or another meal delivery service? Would love to hear all about it!