Feeling a bit overwhelmed with thinking of what to eat for dinner? Tired of the endless hamster wheel of meal planning, prep and execution? I know I was before I signed up to a regular recipe box subscription. They are a great solution for easy family-friendly meals without the hassle. If you are thinking about trying out a recipe box like HelloFresh or Gousto, here is my experience of both, as well as my five tips for getting the most out of them.

Why I Use Recipe Boxes

Back in lockdown it was a very emotional and busy time. I paused my Surrey family photography work to focus on homeschooling and managing family life for my family of four. Food planning and shopping very quickly became overwhelming as I managed three meals a day, every day of the week for the whole family. Recipe boxes meant having one less ‘thinking’ job to do while still providing a tasty and healthy meal that worked for everyone.

I’ve used recipes boxes on and off ever since and I’m now in a place where they work for our family. They are mostly delicious and the kids enjoy eating them, they even cater for special dietary requirements. Even though lockdown is (fingers crossed) behind us, recipe boxes are still a huge help now that I’m back to my true love, family photography in Surrey! So if you are considering making your life easier in the kitchen, here are the five things about recipe boxes that I think you should know.

recipe boxes

1. Always Start Out With A Voucher

Check out their websites or ask around and get your hands on up to 50% off your first week!


2. HelloFresh Vs Gousto - Which One to Choose?

The two big players are HelloFresh and Gousto. We’ve tried both but have a preference for Gousto. We switched from HelloFresh after getting lots of missing ingredients and substitutions, one week we even got a spring onion instead of a leek! Now this may have had something to do with supply issues or logistics but so far we are very happy with Gousto. They email you in advance if there are any ingredient swaps and this helps me fill in the gaps or buy in extras if I need them.

Meal planning

3. Three Is The Magic Number

Most of the companies can provide different numbers of meals per week depending on what you subscribe to. We currently get three meals per week and I find this is the perfect balance for my family. We’ve tried more but I do tend to run out of steam for cooking them more than three times a week.

4. Make The Most Of The App

Based on my experience of missing ingredients with HelloFresh, I found using the app really helpful. If there is a missing, or damaged, ingredient always complain through the app and you’ll receive money off your next order or a full refund.

Recipe Boxes

5. Bulk It Out For The Kids

Both my kids are small picky eaters so getting the quantities right is important. I buy the box for two adults and add to the meals with extra things my kids will eat, for example extra potatoes or a bit of extra protein. This means I’m not wasting food or money.

Overall I would say recipe boxes are definitely worth a go and will ease one element of your mental load. So try one today and free up some extra time for yourself!

My name is Katie Lister and I’m a Surrey family photographer living in Hersham. Get in touch today to book a Surrey lavender field photoshoot in May or June.