Today I have the pleasure of reviewing Freshly, a chef-prepared gourmet meal service that is delivered right to your door. Many of you know how exhausting and time-consuming being a medical student is. 99% of the time, it feels like you barely have any time to eat, sleep, or breathe. I was pretty good about grocery shopping and cooking for myself all throughout my first year of medical school, but now that second year is upon me, I’ve definitely been slacking. Second year is a lot more intense (currently learning Cardio-Renal-Pulm, woof!) and with the (dare I say it?) Boards looming around the corner, everything has been kicked into a much higher gear this year. That being said, I was so happy when Freshly approached me and offered to let me try out 4 of their pre-prepared meals. Below is my review of each one of them:
Braised Rosemary Pork: 8/10
From Freshly: “Rich and hearty but delectably healthy, our chefs bring you a French-inspired dish of tender braised pork, served over a bed of roasted carrots and potatoes. The dish is topped in a savory wine and herb sauce. It comes with a side of kale sautéed with smoky bacon, tomatoes and carrots.”
This dish was really good. It didn’t taste like a microwaved meal, but instead like a fresh home-cooked one. The pork was tender, not dry, and the kale, carrots, and potatoes all tasted fresh, not soggy at all. The portion size was just right for me, but my boyfriend would probably still be hungry after eating it. I took a couple points off because the meal wasn’t exactly healthy, containing 7 g of saturated fat and 880 mg of sodium.
From Freshly: “We fold gluten-free penne pasta into a creamy blend of fresh ricotta cheese, savory Italian sausage, sautéed zucchini, grape tomatoes, spinach and herbs, then top it with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. We bake the dish al forno (translation: baked in the oven!) and place it inside of our standard tray, ready to heat and eat. Mangia!”
OMG. Amazing. This dish tasted like something you would order at an authentic Italian restaurant. I prefer my pasta to be al dente, and the pasta in this dish was just a little bit soft, but it could be because I microwaved it for too long. The portion size on this one was perfect and I was so satisfied after eating it. Again, I wouldn’t consider this a healthy option because of the extremely high saturated fat (10 g) and sodium (890 mg) content.
Caribbean Chicken: 3/10
From Freshly: “We are bringing the flavors of the Caribbean from our kitchen to your table. Our chefs toss chicken breast in aromatic spices and roast it to a juicy perfection. It is topped with a sweet pineapple and papaya chutney with fresh cilantro, and paired with a side of creamy coconut rice, garnished with roasted cashews.”
This was my least favorite meal of the 4 I picked. The coconut rice with roasted cashews wasn’t really my thing. I personally don’t like coconut flavored foods if they are meant to be salty. Coconut desserts on the other hand I absolutely love. The chicken was tender and had a great texture, but the pineapple papaya chutney didn’t wow me. I didn’t really care for this meal, and think Freshly offers way better options. The nutrition for this meal was a bit better than the previous two, but still not great with 7 g of saturated fat and 370 mg of sodium.
Chicken & Rice Pilaf: 5/10
From Freshly: “Hearty and deliciously nutritious, we dress our juicy grilled chicken breast in savory herb gravy. It is served over a three-grain rice pilaf and accompanied with a side of crisp green beans and matchstick carrots, which are lightly seasoned in a garlicky oil.”
This meal was pretty good. Again, the chicken was tender and well-cooked, but the gravy on it was too salty for my liking. The vegetables in this one were a bit soggy and the rice pilaf was salty yet at the same time very bland. This meal tasted more like a microwave-dinner than the others. The saturated fat content (3 g) was much better, but the sodium was still high (790 mg).
Overall, the Freshly meals were a bit of hit or miss. I loved the Braised Rosemary Pork and Baked Penne, but didn’t care for the Caribbean Chicken or Chicken & Rice Pilaf. I loved that the meals were delivered right to my front door step and were never frozen. Freshly is a great option for people like me who are extremely busy and have little time to grocery shop or cook. However, due to the high saturated fat and sodium contents of many of the meals, I don’t think they’re ideal for everyday consumption. Freshly claims that their meals are “healthy,” but I don’t exactly agree with that. With regards to my personal dietary needs, I could see myself using Freshly a couple times during exam weeks or periods when I know I’ll have absolutely zero time to shop and cook for myself. Coming home to a pre-made meal that I can pop in the microwave and eat in less than 5 minutes is such a convenient and stress-free ordeal, and I can definitely appreciate that.
Freshly has generously given me a promo code to share with anyone who is interested in trying out their meal service. You can use the promo code med639 to get $20 off when you purchase the 6-meal plan.