Plated: The Fresh Mama Review

You guys know that meal planning and cooking healthy meals are a huge priority for my family. Personally, I just love sitting down on a Sunday morning and planning out my meals for the week - I actually see it as a challenge to be overcome, a puzzle if you will, that needs to be put together (I'm weird that way, lol!).  Looking at our weekly commitments, my husband's work schedule, the kid's activities, social commitments and bringing it all together to put a healthy meal on the table each night! Yup, I get excited about it!

Over the past few months, I've been hearing about meal delivery services - at first I dismissed it, thinking "I would never use that, what's the point? I already know how to cook for my family." However, then, I started to look at it a different way - why not give myself a break on one level and perhaps this would be a great way to send a healthy meal to a friend in need, when they are too far away to bring something myself.  So, after thinking about it - I signed up when a deal for Plated came up in my Facebook feed. Keep reading for MY take on the whole thing

Q: Ok, so first things first - How much does it cost? 
A: Since I used the Facebook promotion, the first box cost $24 which included 3 meals, 2 servings each. For future boxes you can choose a price point per meal and you can choose to skip future deliveries or cancel completely. I chose to skip and not have another delivery for a month.  

Arrives in a box with a cooler bag

Q: What do I get?
A: Your cooler arrives with everything you need to create your meals (except salt, pepper, and olive oil) - at least that was my experience. You can choose your meals according to taste and allergy preferences - I requested all gluten-free, so they removed a pasta dish originally in my basket and replaced it with a gluten-free option. All ingredients are pre-measured, the proteins are frozen, liquids come in a recyclable bottle, etc. You also receive recipe cards with step-by-step instructions on creating each meal. Its a good idea to read through beforehand, especially for cook times.

Prepped and portioned with recipes

The Meals

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos with Lime Crema
*I added the shrimp*

Meal #1:

I made this meal on Sunday night -I was not sure what to expect. Roasted anything usually equals tasty awesomeness, but I just wasn't sure how cauliflower and chickpeas would work with tacos. The shrimp was a last minute addition - somehow I didn't think the tacos would fly solo with my crew, plus it really stretched the recipe (remember it was intended as 2 servings). It was a really good thing I added the shrimp because the kids pretty much skipped the rest - Colin (7) ate about half the taco with everything it it. Evan picked out the shrimp right away.

Ok, so flavor-wise these were awesome - Spiced cauliflower and chickpeas, avocado, quick-pickled onions (my favorite part), red cabbage, jalapenos and the lime crema! It was very easy to make and came together in about half an hour. However, generally speaking, I'm not sure how family-friendly this would be. I have one kid that loves onions and jalapenos and another that won't go near spicy foods. Plus, for us, the shrimp was a huge part of what we liked about the meal, so I'm not sure the vegetarian option would have worked for us.

Sunchoke and Kale Hash with Quinoa and Currants

Meal #2: 

I have to say when I saw the menu, I was most apprehensive about this one. My hub is not a fan of quinoa and although my boys love kale in many recipes, this one seemed a bit heavy on the greens. Personally I was excited to try the sunchokes (AKA Jerusalem artichokes). As much as I cook, these have never made it into my kitchen! The sunchoke is a root vegetable and I thought it tasted like a potato and water chestnut had a baby - interesting and I will definitely try them again.

The verdict: I would not have enjoyed this dish so much, if it wasn't for the lemon-dijon vinaigrette. Always a sucker for a good dressing, this really made the dish for me and I cleaned my plate. The rest of the crew??? Wellll, let's just say, no one is begging for me to make this again. I added roasted chicken on the side, because it was heavy on the carbs and my boys like their protein! Also, this one took almost an hour start to finish, so not really weeknight friendly for a busy family.

Sicilian Cod with Roasted Potatoes

Meal #3:

This was dinner on Tuesday night - and definitely the closest to how my family usually eats. The cod was delicious, despite being frozen - it had great flavor and was clearly frozen and handled correctly prior to ending up at my door. The "Sicilian" aspect - sundried tomatoes, capers, kalamata olives, garlic, and fresh basil gave it great flavor, albeit a wee-bit salty. The roasted potatoes were awesome and are actually a staple in our house. Mixed with fresh parsley and garlic, they were amazing! Also, the portion sizes were very generous, so in using my 21 Day Fix portions, this could easily feed 3 adults or 2 adults/2 kids. My kids were not so interested in the cod (which they normally like), but they did eat all their potatoes. 

Final thoughts

Overall, I'm glad I tried this service - would I send it to a friend who had a baby, or illness? Probably not. The recipes are just a bit too complicated and fussy for someone who just needs a quick meal. Although, the ingredients were amazing - hello fresh herbs + sustainably sourced proteins and local produce - you know I'm on board with that! As someone that has taught people how to cook, I do think you need a basic comfort level in the kitchen to successfully create these meals. If you don't know how to slice an onion properly or how to know when fish is cooked properly, it can definitely affect the outcome. In the end, I just don't see this as a service that would make my life any easier on a regular basis to justify the cost.  

On the other hand, I can see this as really fun date night to make the recipe together and I am also considering ordering prior to travel. The lack of leftover ingredients is very nice - nothing left to toss or leave to rot in the fridge! So this service definitely has some up sides.

I didn't mention it in the beginning, as I wanted my review to focus on the food - I know these things happen, but I had some major logistical issues with my order and the customer service definitely needs some work. My order was originally scheduled for the 13th, it never arrived - the shipment tracking provided zero input, then on the 16th the shipping company informed me my order would be disposed of because it had been damaged. I informed Plated and they responded by saying they would have someone contact me regarding updating my account and making sure my next shipment was corrected. This never happened. They charged me for both the original order AND the following order (which contained the recipes reviewed above). They did correct it immediately when I called and apologized that no one had contacted me regarding the errors. Its disappointing that I had to do all the legwork, but at the end of the day, they did fix it.

I will say, this experience made me appreciate my love of meal planning and cooking - I'm not so sure I need these in my life on a regular basis, but I do see certain times that it will definitely be appreciated! Plus, I love trying new foods and this makes it easy! Have you tried a fresh delivery service? I would love to hear about your experience!

On other news - I am now filling spots for my April 6th 21 Day Fix Fitness and Nutrition Group - I have room for 5 more mamas - busy moms, looking for a plan and place to start for adding fitness and nutrition into their busy schedules. The average weight loss in my 3 week groups is 4-12 pounds depending on an individual's goals and I have many clients continuing with the program to go on and lose some BIG numbers! For more info simply fill out this easy online form - I look forward to learning more about YOU!

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1 comment:

  1. I have always been curious about this service... I loved reading this. Thanks for the honest review!


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