As individuals in the medical field, we’ve all had busy weeks – whether its full of back to back 12-hour shifts, exam week, or even just a typical week when everything seems to go wrong. And we all know what it’s like to have absolutely no desire to cook because of how busy we are. Honestly, this happens to me a lot! Whenever I get stressed, I get so obsessive over how I spend my time during the day, and often times, I end up getting junk food instead of eating something healthy – simply because it’s fast and convenient. That’s why I was so excited to partner this week with Freshly – a company that sends healthy, pre-cooked alternatives straight to your door! It takes away the stress of having to cook, but keeps the healthiness of no artificial preservatives or ingredients! Freshly sent me four meals in exchange that I share my honest experience with you guys. And let me tell you, this week with my Inpatient EOR coming up, it was a welcomed opportunity!
So I ended up choosing Slow Cooked Beef Chili, Grilled Herb Chicken, Steak Peppercorn, and Braised Rosemary Pork as my four entrees. When I was choosing my meals, I was amazed at the variety of options Freshly offered. This week, they have 25 entree options, with 5 breakfast options. I will say that most of their options include meat, which is a little disappointing if you’re a vegetarian – but they’re consistently adding new options to their menu, and you can contact them if you have any dietary considerations according to their website.
My box was waiting for me when I got home from work at about 6pm. The first thing I noticed when I opened up my package is that everything in the box is either recycled itself (like the denim insulation) or can be recycled. That was a huge plus for me. Once I opened it up further, I was thrilled to feel how cold everything still was. There were multiple, large cool packs to keep my meals chilled and fresh while waiting for me to get home. Each meal comes in a cardboard slip that has the nutritional facts, ingredients (all of which I could actually pronounce), and cooking instructions. Every meal has 2 different sets of cooking instructions – microwaved on a plate and microwaved in the tray. I really appreciated this because I ate most of my meals at home over the weekend but the one meal I did bring to work, I didn’t have to worry about transporting a plate as well.
Now for the meals themselves. Overall, I was extremely pleased with how good these were! With every meal I had to genuinely think about a negative thing to tell you guys about – because with every review I do I want to be as honest and up front as possible.
Slow Cooked Beef Chili
This was probably the meal I was most worried about enjoying, because I am not a spicy-food kind of girl. I like my chili mild and hearty, and this pretty much fit the bill. I never felt like my mouth was on fire, and when I added cheese it was the perfect amount of kick. They swapped out the beans for sweet potatoes, and I was non-the-wiser for it until I read the ingredients after dinner. The only thing I didn’t love was the bell peppers. The slices were a little large for my liking, but in all honesty, I don’t really like bell peppers to begin with.
I would definitely order this meal again – especially now that its turning to fall and getting chilly out. That kind of weather always makes me want to curl up and enjoy some comfort food.
Grilled Herb Chicken
I knew from the get-go I would like this meal, as chicken is my go-to source of protein and I eat it most days out of the week. My only concern was that re-heating it in the microwave was going to make the chicken dry and the kale soggy (something that happens a lot with most pre-cooked meals), but I didn’t have to worry about a thing. The chicken breast was tender and juicy, and seasoned to perfection. Every mouthful was flavorful without being overwhelming. The butternut squash cakes were a little odd at first (my mind kept thinking of crab cakes with the way they’re shaped), but really good. I definitely could have eaten more than just two of them, and I can see why they’re a favorite! The kale was great – I loved the addition of the bacon to the sauté because it added some flavor. Growing up, this was always how my dad cooked all green vegetables, so it was reminiscent of my childhood.
I would order this chicken again, because it was very healthy and filling. I feel like it would be a great pre-test meal to give my brain the extra boost it needed to do well.
This was the only meal that I was disappointed in when I opened it up. I don’t like my food to touch, so it bothered me a little that the mashed potatoes where in the same part of the compartment as the steak. But, I reminded myself that it’s all going to the same place and I shouldn’t be so neurotic, and sat down to eat with an open mind. And let me tell you, IT WAS AMAZING. I have had steak at nice restaurants that has not tasted as good as this one did. The steak was very tender and juicy, and the sauce was to die for. After two bites, I was actually thrilled that the mashed potatoes had been in the same compartment as the steak because that meant the sauce was on them too, and they were delicious. I felt like they were the perfect consistency – creamy but still some little bumps from the skins. The green beans and carrots were cooked just right, and the hint of garlic was a great addition to them. I added some butter to the green beans, but I easily could have not and they still would have been good.
I would 100% order this steak again – I’m actually drooling as I think about it.
Braised Rosemary Pork
This was the meal that I brought to work and heated up using the tray method. I was glad to not really notice a huge difference in the heating methods and how they left the food tasting, because a huge appeal of this company is the “on-the-go” aspect. I will say that I felt like the film over the tray was a little hard to cut and rip off, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I used a knife and was able to accomplish it just fine. So typically, my preceptor and I eat lunch together, and talk about some different things we have seen that day. But I ended up pretty much sitting in silence while I inhaled every morsel of this meal, it was that good. The pork, potatoes, and carrots were cooked to perfection and I really enjoyed wine sauce on top. It almost felt like a crock-pot meal to me with how everything was very moist. But perhaps the thing I enjoyed most about this meal was the feeling it left me with. I was able to finish the rest of my shift feeling renewed and focused, and left without feeling starved by the time I got home.
I genuinely enjoyed every aspect of this process – from receiving the meals, to eating them, to the way my body felt afterwards. For anyone who is busy in life, or just doesn’t enjoy cooking food, or who wants to try something new, I definitely recommend checking Freshly out! You can follow them on Instagram @GetFreshly and as a new customer, use the code MED639 to get $20 off the 6 meal plan. I know that I’ll definitely be ordering some more meals, especially as finals week and OSCEs roll around. Make sure to share your meals with #GetFreshly and #MyFreshly, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the meals as you check them out!
And as always, feel free to follow along on social media as I try to survive life with a stethoscope and some sparkle!