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One of the best parts of the HelloFresh recipes I’ve tried in the past is that although they’re not explicitly designed to be healthy meals, they pretty much all work out as balanced options. They contain a couple of portions of veg and they don’t knock your daily calorie count completely out of whack.
So when HelloFresh announced that it had created some low-calorie recipes, each weighing in under 550 calories, I wondered if they’d look all that different to a normal HelloFresh recipe. And they don’t – which is great news, because I’m a big fan of normal HelloFresh recipes.
I tried three from the low-calorie selection (which is vast by the way; you’re not restricted to three or four options a week), and I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid if they turned up in a normal HelloFresh delivery.
The recipes were all satisfying despite the low calorie count and all three actually came in well under 550 calories. The pick of the trio – jerk cauliflower nuggets with bean stew – was only 363 calories but was a filling and delicious dinner that contained a massive five and a half portions of veg per serving.
Along with the cauliflower nuggets I had grilled turkey steak with chilli beans, and herby Italian chicken with roasted sweet potato and tomato salad. While the cauliflower recipe was very easy to follow and complete in the time suggested (35 minutes), the meat recipes took a little longer than the time on the recipe card, just to ensure nothing was pink inside.
There was a more noticeable difference between the low-calorie and normal servings in the meat dishes. If you’re used to chowing down on a couple of large chicken breasts with your dinner, the smaller portion might feel a little inadequate.
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I’m an old hand with HelloFresh recipes, especially as we use the HelloFresh recipe book regularly, and there are few familiar things you start to notice about the recipes after a while. Fresh herbs are almost always used, which is usually a bonus, but with coriander on heavy rotation you’ll need to pick your recipes carefully if you’re not keen on it.
The instructions are always clear on the recipe cards, giving rough cooking times for each step along with signs to help you decide if something is cooked, like meat no longer being pink or onions turning soft. HelloFresh’s recipe writers are big fans of getting everything prepped in the first step, which does make for a less stressful cooking experience afterwards, but unless you have a massive chopping board or are happy using bowls to put all the chopped ingredients in, it’s worth reading the full recipe to see what actually needs chopping when. You’ll save a bit of time this way, too.
Along with instructions, the recipe card provides the nutritional profile of the meal (although this strangely lacks the amount of fibre, which we’d like to see added) along with details on any allergens.
HelloFresh’s low-calorie recipes are available for selection once you have picked the recipe box you want, based on the amount of people you’re ordering for and the number of meals you want each week. Recipes start from £3.44 per serving (four people, four meals) and cost £5 per serving if you get three meals for two people a week.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.