Freshly Review - My Experience Using Freshly

(Money Under 30 Rating)

Ranking

9/10

Staying healthy can be challenging, especially if you’re crunched for time. With Freshly, you can choose from a wide selection of meals. You can also opt for FreshlyFit meals that keep carbs low without sacrificing nutrients. Each meal arrives ready to pop in the microwave for a quick, delicious dinner.

Try Freshly - Get $60 off your first 4 boxes!

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Freshness

8/10

Taste

9/10

Food options

10/10

Ease of use

10/10

Cost

10/10

Portion size

7/10



Best for:

 

  • Time-challenged households
  • Small families who want to eat healthy
  • Single people who don't want leftovers
  • Nutrition-conscious consumers

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Meal subscription boxes have become increasingly popular in recent years, providing a refreshing alternative to takeout.

The idea of most of these services is that you receive, on your doorstep, all the ingredients necessary to make a gourmet meal.

Try Freshly - Get $60 off your first 4 boxes!

Freshly makes it even easier than that. Freshly provides nutritious meals already prepared for you, all you need to do is pop them in the microwave. Plus, FreshlyFit – Freshly’s carb-conscious offering provides ready-made meals with paleo and keto-inspired ingredients.

What is Freshly?

With Freshly, you receive everything you need to make a delicious meal, with all items prepared by a chef. This means that instead of having to spend an hour at the stove after work, you can simply remove a Freshly meal from the refrigerator, slide it into your microwave, and have dinner on the table in a matter of minutes.

Freshly even offers a new product, the FreshlyFit meal plan. With this, you get meals that have been designed by nutritionists but are also carb-conscious.

As with other meal subscription services, your meals arrive on a specific day of the week, packed in ice. That means that even if you’re at work, your meals will stay properly chilled on your doorstep until you get home.

Once you do, you can unbox your meals and pop them straight into the refrigerator, which will keep your meals fresh for a few days. If you want to keep them longer, feel free to pop them straight in the freezer.  

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind (UPDATE) - Freshly box

With most meal kits, you can only make dinner for two or more people, which is a problem if you live alone or simply don’t share your partner’s taste in food – which I know is more than often the case for me.

Freshly is unique in that it gives you a one-serving option and is an excellent choice for those who want delicious meals without having to spend hours in the kitchen every week. 

Try Freshly - Get $60 off your first 4 boxes!

Freshly vs. FreshlyFit – what’s the difference?

With Freshly, you now choose from one of two plans: Freshly or FreshlyFit

Freshly provides the basic meals that Freshly has become known for, and FreshlyFit offers meals designed by nutritionists for those looking to stay healthy.

When you visit Freshly’s website, the information you see is specific to just Freshly. This was the original Freshly meal plan and it has a variety of meals. Some are low-calorie and packed with vegetables, and some aren’t.

Recently, Freshly unveiled FreshlyFit, a line of meals developed with the help of nutritionists. Each meal is designed “with energy and performance in mind,” with carb-conscious ingredients and plenty of protein. FreshlyFit uses popular plans like keto and paleo to craft options that can work with various diets. For example, this keto inspired chicken bowl:

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind (UPDATE) - Keto chicken bowl

But that doesn’t mean Freshly on its own doesn’t also have healthy options. Each meal is geared toward providing a balanced nutritional profile. The goal is to take popular meals and make them healthier. There are even some options that offer a healthy take on popular takeout dishes. 

When you sign up for a plan, you’ll need to choose one of the two options. You can preview each plan’s menu for the current week before you pick to see exactly the type of meals you’re getting.

Whether you choose Freshly or FreshlyFit, you get the benefits of single-serving meals. Instead of eating the same meal as the other members of your household, you can choose the one that fits your preference. Even in the FreshlyFit program, there are meals that can appeal to all palates.

Try FreshlyFIT - Save $40 off your first order!

How does Freshly work?

Each Freshly meal is a single-serving, and this fact alone puts Freshly above other meal subscription services.

You can choose from 4, 6, 9, or 12 meals per week. If you ever need to skip a week, you can easily do so in the app.

As is the case with most meal subscription services, you choose from a weekly meal plan option. With Freshly, each week, your meals will arrive on the same day, as decided by your zip code, and you’ll be billed for that week’s meal.

To get started with Freshly, you’ll simply head over to their website. You can preview their plans and menu before you join by clicking on that area of the navigation bar. You can also toggle over to FreshlyFit if you want to see information specific to that program. Once you’re ready to sign up, click the button in the top-right corner. 

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - Sign-up

Next, you’ll be asked to input your email address and zip code to see the options available to you.

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - E-mail and zip code

Your first step when you decide to give Freshly a try is to pick out your meals. Again, you can choose from 4, 6, 10, or 12 meals per week. If you ever need to skip a week, you can easily do so in the app.

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - Meal plans

Once you’ve chosen a plan and input your email address, you’ll need to choose a delivery date. You’ll notice Freshly only allows a certain number of slots each day.

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - Delivery day

Now it’s time to pick out your meals. As you add items, you’ll see them over in the right in your cart. You can add and remove items as you look through the options.

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - Meal options

One of the best things about Freshly is that you can also add FreshlyFit items to your cart. Just scroll down until you get to the FreshlyFit options. This is perfect if you live in a household where one person wants the regular plan while the other prefers FreshlyFit. But you can also use it to combine both options.

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - Combining Freshly and FreshlyFit

From the options available, I chose the following, based on the tastes of my husband and myself.

  • Steak peppercorn with sautéed carrots and French green beans.
  • Homestyle chicken with butternut mac and cheese.
  • Sausage baked penne with sautéed zucchini and spinach.
  • Chicken teriyaki with brown rice and veggies.
  • Chicken and rice pilaf.
  • Chicken tikka masala with vegetable biryani.

When my box arrived on the designated day, I opened it to find it had been well packed in ice, as well as padded with cushioning to prevent damage in transit.

This is fairly common with meal subscription boxes. Boxes are packed to survive two days, which is the length of time it should take to get from the warehouse to your fridge. My meals arrived on Wednesday and were stamped with an expiration date of the following Tuesday, which was a day longer than the three to five days mentioned on their website.

The best thing about these meals is that you aren’t stuck eating the same thing as other people in your house. My husband loves Indian food, so it was perfect that he could enjoy chicken tikka masala.

At the same time, I dined on one of my favorites, chicken teriyaki.

How does FreshlyFit work?

But what if you want to stick with the FreshlyFit plan for all your meals?

Easy. Just go to the main Freshly page and click on that tab, then “Sign Up”. You can also go straight to the FreshlyFit site. As with the regular plan, here you’ll just enter your email address and ZIP code.

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - E-mail and zip code

You’ll be directed to a page where you can choose your meal options. Remember, each meal is designed to feed one person. So if there are two of you in your household, four meals per week will be two dinners, assuming you eat together.

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - Meal plans available

You’ll need to choose a delivery date for your first group of meals. FreshlyFit lets you choose a day of the week for your delivery. Most meal kit services give you a set day of the week that you can’t change. 

Next, it’s time to choose your meals. As you choose items, they’ll appear on the right to allow you to review your choices as you go. I chose the following meals for my household, based on my own tastes, as well as my husband’s:

  • Sesame-Ginger Bliss Bowl with Noodle-Cut Hearts of Palm.
  • Crave-No-More Shepherd’s Pie with Ground Beef & Cauli-Butternut Mash.
  • Keto-Friendly Chicken Bowl with Super Greens Pesto & Cauli Rice.
  • Paleo Pork Chop with Rainbow Roasted Veggies & Mushroom Sauce.
  • Southwest Power Bowl with Grilled Chicken & Roasted Cauli.
  • Sicilian Style Chicken Parm with Broccoli.

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - FreshlyFit meals

Pricing for Freshly

Most meal subscription services have you choose from a weekly meal plan option. With Freshly, each week, your meals will arrive on the same day, as decided by your zip code, and you’ll be billed for that week’s meal. We chose the option to have six meals delivered per week.

Costs for each plan are listed on Freshly’s website, but keep in mind a small shipping charge will be added to the total at checkout. Both Freshly and FreshlyFit will cost the same. 

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - FreshlyFit pricing

Freshly features

There are plenty of benefits you’ll get as a Freshly member, including:

Speedy, easy preparation

It doesn’t get much easier than a premade, microwavable dinner. Even waiting in line at the drive-thru takes more time and energy than making one of these meals.

When you arrive home after a long day of work, you’ll love that dinner is already made. You won’t have to worry about following recipes or pulling seasonings out of the cabinet. Just microwave and enjoy.

Nutrition-conscious options

With meals that are planned by nutritionists, you’ll be able to easily stick to your nutrition goals. You won’t have to measure ingredients or count carbs. Simply choose the meals that fit your daily health plan and slip one in the microwave when you’re ready to eat. Even the regular Freshly plan has health-conscious meals.

Easy meal planning

If you’re like me, half the battle is figuring out what to make for dinner seven nights a week. Freshly has far more options than some other meal delivery services, which means you’ll always have something new to try.

Instead of wandering the grocery store aisles, looking for inspiration, you’ll just pick your meals and go.

Individual meals

For me, the biggest selling point of Freshly is that you don’t have to eat the same dinner as everyone else in your household. My husband would be happy with pasta every night, while tacos or chicken and rice top my list.

I just pick out my three meals, then hand my phone over to my husband to let him choose the three he wants. The only challenge is making sure someone else in your house doesn’t eat your meal before you can.

Easy meal selection

Freshly makes it easy to pick out your meals once you’ve signed up for a plan. As you add meals, you’ll see them appear over to the right so that you can keep an eye on your shopping cart while you go.

Once you’ve chosen your meals, all you have to do is finish checking out and wait for your meals to arrive on your doorstep.

Packed to protect

Freshly packed its meals better than any other meal delivery service I’ve tried. There was plenty of ice inside, as well as cushioning to keep the meals from being crushed. Other meal delivery services just have items in flimsy bags, so Freshly’s trays would likely hold up better even without all that packaging, but I appreciated the extra touch.

FreshlyFit

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - FreshlyFit

The thing I like best about Freshly is the FreshlyFit option. You can either choose FreshlyFit meals from your regular plan or choose to only get FreshlyFit meals. Either way, you have the option to get nutritionist-designed meals delivered to your front porch every week. 

Here are some of the benefits of FreshlyFit.

Portion size

Each meal is packed with plenty of food to serve one person. You’ll typically get meat and some vegetables, but there are also bowls that mix everything together. The food is enough to cover most of a dinner plate.

Powerful macros

When designing meals for FreshlyFit, the nutritionists optimize portions for the most popular diets. This means keeping carbs at a minimum but also making sure you’re getting the nutrients and protein you need. If you’re counting macros, these meals are ideal because they’re built to help you meet your daily goals.

Keto- and paleo-inspired meals

Both keto and paleo diets have become popular over the years as a way to optimize the body’s performance. If you’re following one of those two plans, you’ll be able to find meals that will keep you on track. But even if you’re not, you’ll get the benefits of these diets without having to put them together yourself.

Carb-conscious options

If you’re just watching your carbs, FreshlyFit has you covered there, as well. These meals are delicious without packing starches into the mix. Cauliflower and butternut squash is used in place of rice and potatoes, with each dish seasoned so well, you won’t even notice the difference.

Mixing it up

One of the best things about FreshlyFit, though, is that you can mix it in with the regular Freshly plan. That means if you have household members who aren’t following the same diet you are, you can find something to keep everyone happy.

My experience using Freshly

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind (UPDATE) - Chicken Parmesan

I can’t say enough about how easy Freshly is. We used another meal subscription box for more than a year, and I grew accustomed to starting meal prep as much as an hour before dinnertime. At best, with the “express” versions of those other kits, you have 15 minutes of prep and cook time.

With Freshly, you don’t even have to pull a pan out. Just unbox your meal, pull the plastic back to vent, and cook for about three minutes. You’ll then let it rest for a couple of minutes before eating.

If you’re expecting what you get after 15-60 minutes over a hot stove, you’ll be disappointed. However, the food was surprisingly tasty. Each meal was packed full of flavor. The meat in each dish was surprisingly juicy and flavorful, and the roasted vegetables were also packed with moisture.

If you’re assuming these will taste like the frozen microwavable meals you get at the grocery store, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the quality and texture of these meals.

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind (UPDATE) - Southwest Power Bowl

But what really impressed me was the taste of these healthy meals. I’m far from a healthy eater, but I would easily have assumed these were high-calorie, high-carb meals. My husband may not have liked the cauliflower substitution, but I found that the way it’s incorporated into these meals, you don’t even notice it’s cauliflower.

The only complaint I had was that the vegetables weren’t quite as crisp as I would have expected. Having tried quite a few of Freshly’s meals now, I’m pretty sure that’s necessary to retain the moisture.

The microwave can dry out food, as you probably know if you’ve ever tried to microwave restaurant leftovers. The extra moisture ensures it holds up during shipping. But that extra moisture is also what makes the meat and vegetables taste so good.

Who is Freshly best for?

Cooking for one

With most meal kits, you can only make dinner for two or more people, depending on the plan you choose. Freshly is unique in that it gives you that one-serving option.

Whether you live alone or simply want to eat what you want, Freshly gives you the option without requiring you to worry about what others in your household like. 

Busy families

Setting time aside to cook even your quickest recipe can be tough, especially in the middle of a workweek. Freshly combines the convenience of frozen dinners with the same delicious taste you’d get if you cooked it yourself.

If you’re challenged in the kitchen like I am, it probably will be better than you could do yourself. Best of all, it comes in at a lower price than most restaurant delivery or takeout.

Those with food sensitivities

If you have someone with food sensitivities in your household, you already know what a challenge it can be to come up with a wide variety of tasty meals to fit. Gluten-free consumers will especially love the fact that the company is certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group.

The facility used to make Freshly’s meals is also equipped to handle six of the eight major food allergens: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, and soybeans.

Who shouldn’t use Freshly?

Aspiring chefs

ther meal delivery services win consumers over by promoting that anyone can learn to be a chef. If you want to hone your cooking skills, Freshly won’t be the service for you. There are no step-by-step instructions and carefully-measured ingredient portions, as you’ll get with other services.

Hearty eaters

Large portions seem to be standard fare these days. If you find that you tend to pile up your plate, only to go back for seconds, you may be disappointed by the amount of food you get in these dinners.

As a meat and potatoes guy, my husband wasn’t a fan of cauliflower as a substitute for starches, but he did like the chicken parmesan meal. The paleo pork chop meal was so delicious, it’s hard to believe it’s part of the FreshlyFit plan.  

Large families

As useful as meal delivery services are, they start to lose their value when you’re cooking for a house full of kids. Freshly covers an underserved area of the market: households dealing with the challenge of making dinner for just one or two people. If you’re cooking for four or more, you’ll likely find ordering separate meals for everyone gets pricey.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Fast prep and cleanup — On Freshly nights, you can keep the pans and cutting board in the cabinet and have dinner ready in minutes.
  • Meals for one — Dine alone or simply let each member of the household choose a meal.
  • Healthy options — Whether you’re counting carbs or just trying to eat a little healthier, FreshlyFit has plenty of meal options to help.
  • Great packaging — Freshly's meals are perfectly packaged and always got to me intact.

Cons

  • Small portions — For some, the portions will seem too small.
  • Recurring billing — Once you’ve joined Freshly, you’ll need to remember to skip meals unless you want items to ship every week.
  • Built for small households — Freshly and FreshlyFit are both great if you’re feeding one or two people, but it can get pricey for large families.

Freshly vs. their competitors 

 FreshlyHome ChefHelloFreshBlue Apron
Cost per serving$7.99-$11.50$7.49-$9.94$7.49-$10.99$8.99-$9.99
Time to table5-10 minutes15-60 minutes20-40 minutes20-45 minutes
Special dietary optionsGluten-free, peanut-free, low calorie, low carb, veganOptions available, but facilities not certified allergen-freeDieticians screen meals and label meals that contain allergensProducts packaged in facility that processes milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy

Home Chef

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - Home ChefHome Chef is in a different category than Freshly, solely because its meals require preparation and cooking. However, in recent years the company has gradually begun adding convenience options to its services, starting with Home Chef Express, which refers to meals that can be made in only 15 minutes.

But closest to Freshly is its Oven-Ready Meals, which you simply unbox, slide into a preheated oven, and let bake for half an hour or so. If you have the time to wait for your food to bake before dinnertime, this could be a viable alternative, as you’ll get results you won’t ever attain with a microwaved meal.

Try Home Chef - Get $90 off your first 3 orders!

HelloFresh

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - HelloFreshHelloFresh promises to offer the most recipe variety, with 18 different meal choices each week.

Options include pasta and rice dishes, as well as flatbreads, steaks, and burgers. Like Home Chef, these are meals you make on the stove, rather than microwave, but some items are labeled “quick” or “easy” to help you easily identify hassle-free items. HelloFresh provides chef-prepared recipes using high-quality, farm-fresh ingredients to ensure delicious results.

Try HelloFresh - Get $96 off in total over your first 4 deliveries including free shipping on the first box!

Blue Apron

Freshly And FreshlyFit: A Meal Delivery Service With Your Health And Busy Schedule In Mind - Blue ApronBlue Apron offers a selection of meals for health- and weight-conscious consumers. Through a partnership with WW, you’ll find at least one meal each week created to help you stay on track with the plan.

You can filter food menus by the signature line or vegetarian meals, making it one of the best meal delivery services options for those with followings meat-free diets. You’ll find pasta and rice dishes, flatbreads, tacos, and burgers along with classic meat-and-veggie meals. 

Blue Apron new customers: save $80 over your first 4 boxes.

Summary

Whether you live alone or simply want to eat what you want, without worrying about what others in your household like, Freshly gives you that choice.

It would be tough to ever find fault with a flavorful, delicious meal that takes only a few minutes to make. The new FreshlyFit adds nutritionist-crafted meals to the list, making it an all-around great meal delivery service.

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About the author

Total Articles: 51
Stephanie Faris has written about finance for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2013. She spent nearly a year as a writer for a credit card processing service and has written about finance for numerous marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Her work has appeared on Retirable, The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, Ecommerce Insiders, GoBankingRates, and ThriveBy30. Learn more about Stephanie on her website or find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.