This post contains affiliate links, but it is not sponsored. I received a free box to review.
A while back, I wrote about why I don’t use meal kit services, like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. I keep getting emails from them asking if I want to try them and blog about them, but I’ve always felt they’re a little too expensive to be a good fit for for my blog.
But, I recently got an email from a Dinnerly, company that offers a similar service, EXCEPT it’s half the price!
(Blue Apron and such charge $10 per serving, and Dinnerly charges $5.)
That is definitely way more affordable, so I said yes to them sending me a box to try.
Dinnerly is also different from Blue Apron et al because their meals have only six ingredients and six steps. This cuts down on packaged waste and also on your cooking time.
So! My box arrived:
And I noticed that instead of a hard styrofoam cooler, Dinnerly just uses a recyclable box liner.
To keep things cool, there are two ice packs, which are reusable. Or, you can drain the liquid and recycle the plastic.
Here are all the goodies from my box.
Dinnerly is half the price of other meal kit services, but they still provide high quality ingredients.
For example, the two packages of ground beef are grass fed, and the canned tomatoes are organic. So, they’re not skimping on quality.
Rather, they save money by doing minimal marketing, and creating meals with fewer ingredients.
Another way Dinnerly saves costs is by sending digital recipe cards instead of the printed kind. Here are the three recipes we got.
Each recipe has step-by-step instructions, with six steps or less.
Because the recipes are super simple, they’re very manageable for kids.
Zoe and Sonia worked on the spaghetti and meatballs together, and Sonia did most of the work for the veggie pizzas as well.
“I love Dinnerly, Mom!”, she said.
Dinnerly meals basically provide you with a main dish, and I added things like a green salad or fruit salad. But that feels very easy to me…it’s coming up with a main dish that is a larger headache, and Dinnerly covers that.
Is Dinnerly cost-effective?
Well, that depends.
The portion sizes that Dinnerly sends are definitely bigger than the portion sizes that we tend to eat, which means that the four-person box can feed six of us.
That makes it actually under $5 per serving.
I can feed us with grocery store food for less than that, but I can’t take us out to eat (even fast food) for that price.
So, if you got a Dinnerly box as an alternative to takeout or fast food, I can definitely see it saving you money. And you’d likely be healthier too.
(You can’t buy grass-fed ground beef at a fast-food place!)
What about the trash?
There’s no getting around the fact the meal prep kits do bring more packaging trash with them.
However, not everything in my kit was more packaged than grocery store items.
The tomatoes came in cans, the ground beef came in a package just like my local beef does, the peppers and onion were naked, and the spinach came in a bag like it does at Aldi. Also, the spaghetti was a full pound, in a retail bag.
Also, when you buy naan or tortillas from the store, they come in a plastic bag just like Dinnerly sent.
Again, if you compare this amount of trash to the trash created by takeout, it’s not a significant difference.
Probably the largest trash producer is the ice packs, but they can be reused or freecycled.
And the box and polyethylene bags can all be recycled as well.
So, it’s more trash/recycling than buying groceries at a bulk store, but if you’re comparing it to takeout or to grocery store purchases, it’s not shockingly different.
And, since Dinnerly meals have fewer ingredients than most meal boxes, there’s less packaging overall.
At any rate, if you’re going to get a meal box, Dinnerly is one of the least trash-producing options out there.
Who should not try Dinnerly?
If you’re already an experienced, adventurous cook who has no problem grocery shopping, cooking, and avoiding takeout, then Dinnerly probably just isn’t necessary for you. Keep on rocking as you are!
Who might find Dinnerly useful?
-keep getting takeout despite your best intentions
-aren’t very experienced in the kitchen
-want a simple way to learn to cook
-want a simple way to get your kids to cook
-enjoy meals that are kid-friendly
-need some simple, quick recipes to add to your repertoire
-need a temporary break from your usual kitchen duties
then I think Dinnerly could be a great option for you to try.
Where does Dinnerly deliver?
Dinnerly delivers almost everywhere in the U.S.!
The only places they don’t cover are Montana, the Dakotas, Wyoming, New Mexico and also most of Arizona.
How do you get started?
Sign up here, and choose either the two-person size or the four-person size. Dinnerly can come weekly (3 meals per box), or you can skip deliveries as often as you like. Totally up to you!
If you give Dinnerly a try, I’d love to hear what you think.