Fresh and Easy is a service by Home Chef so if you are familiar with Home Chef, you can expect the same type of quality ingredients and meals as Home Chef. The difference between the two is that Home Chef plans offer 30-to-60-minute meal kits that require prep time and cooking. Fresh and Easy is made up of easy to prep meals that come mostly ready to eat. This article will focus on the Fresh and Easy review while a Home Chef review is coming soon.
Fresh and Easy offers several different meal types. These are mostly based on how you can cook the meal, not necessarily based on the ingredients or macros in the meal.
The 5 meal types offers by Fresh and Easy are:
- Fast & Fresh – stick these in a microwave or over and you will be eating in minutes
- Oven-ready – these require a little bit of prep to put everything together and then throw in the over, oven-safe tray included
- 15-Minute Kits – closest to Home Chef as you can get, some prep required but it won’t take long
- Salads – toss and enjoy
- Extras – include things such as extra protein, bread, and desserts
First thing I noticed is that with these options, you get a lot more variety in the types of meals provided. Where other ready to eat meal services cater all of their menu to be microwave friendly, with Fresh and Easy, I could very my meal boxes a little more.
For days where I just need a quick lunch to take to work, I can go with the Fast and Fresh meals. For days where I want to stay in a cook something but not spend too much time on prep, I can go with the 15-Minute Kits or the Oven-ready meals. I actually even ended up making a 15-minute kit during one of my work from home days for lunch. It was quick enough to prep and cook everything and it tasted super fresh.
One key feature I found with Fresh and Easy is the ability to swap proteins and customize your meals. Most meals outside of Fresh & Easy offer some sort of customizability. This is a feature you don’t often see on ready to eat meal sites because everything comes already prepared. If you want a little extra, you can also double up on your protein!
While the menu does change weekly, I found that there is usually around 15-25 different menu options available. Keep in mind that when you sign up for Fresh and Easy, you will also get access to Home Chef which expands your choices a lot but those meals to require a little bit more prep.
As far as menu options available, I will highlight a couple of my favorite meals that I tried while preparing this Fresh and Easy review.
First is the Pork Bulgogi Bowl. This one was from the Fast & Fresh category, meaning I could just microwave it or throw it in the oven and be ready to eat.
Second is the Gold BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos with Ranch Slaw. This one came with the 15 minute meal kit but I think I was able to whip this meal up in about 10 minutes. I really like this meal because it fit with the macros I was going for. It was high in protein, low in calories and while it did have carbs due to the tortillas, it wasn’t too much.
Third and my favorite was the Tomate Parmesan Turkey Meatloaf with Goat Cheese Zucchini. This came from the Oven-ready meal type and took about 30 minutes to heat up in the oven. Like all oven-ready meals, the oven-safe pan was included in the box. I really liked this because it fit my macro goals perfectly. This meal was low in calories, high in protein, and low in carbs.
Fresh and Easy does not really cater to any types of special diets like Keto, Paleo, or Vegetarian. However, there were some meals I saw that could qualify. The downside is they are not easy to find. If you are looking for a ready to eat meal service that does allow you to stick to your diet, I recommend either Factor or Trifecta.
Additionally, Fresh and Easy does offer a couple ways to reduce your calories or carbs per meal. On the menu, keep an eye out for the Heart or Bread icons. The Heart icon means that this meal is classified as a Calorie-Conscious meal meaning it has less than 625 calories per serving. Meanwhile, the Bread icon means the meal is classified as a Carb-Conscious meal meaning it has less than 35 grams of carbs per serving.
Both of these options allow you to quickly filter meals if you are trying to reduce your carb or calorie intake. I found this really helpful as I was focused on getting some carb-friendly meals.
From week to week, there is also usually about 2-3 vegetarian options available. While this may seems limited, keep in mind that you can also swap your protein for an Impossible Burger. However, this swap does come at an extra cost.
Macros and Ingredients
Since Fresh and Easy is part of Home Chef, with these meals you will get the same high quality, fresh ingredients that come with Home Chef meal kits. From what I read on their site, all of their ingredients are aimed to be high quality and sourced responsibly. In addition, if you want to eat organic chicken or meat, that is also available as a swap, although at an extra cost.
The nutritional information available on Fresh and Easy is quite limited. I was a little disappointed by this because I like to know exactly what I am getting. That being said, they do offer you a quick look at the macros associated with each meal.
While it is nice that you can quickly find the macros on any recipe, this does not show the same level of detail as I am used to. You won’t get to see how much fiber, sugar, cholesterol is in each meal nor the breakdown of saturated or trans fat. If you are someone who isn’t as concerned with this, it may not be a huge deal for you.
There’s nothing like the feeling when you get your meal delivery box waiting for you at your doorstep. I get excited every time.
Don’t be surprised when your Fresh and Easy box arrives with Home Chef branding, as I mentioned before they are one and the same.
When you open the box up you can expect to find the typical things that are included in meal prep/ready to eat meal delivery boxes: recyclable oven-ready pans, ingredients sealed in plastic bags or containers, recipe cards, and ice packs along with an insulated liner.
If you order just Fresh & Easy meals, they will usually come in containers that are ready to heat.
If you order from one of the other menu categories, the ingredients will usually come individually wrapped. Home Chef is an expert at packaging to preserve freshness. Meat and poultry is vacuum sealed and vegetables and herbs come in small boxes to minimize bruising or other damage that might occur during shipping.
The one draw back here is all the plastic in each box. As with every meal delivery service, there comes a lot of waste. I give props to services like Factor and Freshly that try to minimize the waste. However those services benefit from the ready to eat aspect of their business because they don’t need to individually wrap each ingredient in plastic. Fresh and Easy however does need to do that and therefore creates a lot of waste. I am going to keep an eye out for how this changes in the future when I do an updated Fresh and Easy review.
Meal Prep – It’s Fresh…and Easy
The meal prep aspect of Fresh and Easy can be summarized in three main categories: Fast & Fresh and Oven-Ready and 15-Minute Kit.
Fast & Fresh are preassembled so all you have to do is pop them in microwave or oven and you will be ready to eat. I found that the meal heat up time usually takes 3-5 minutes in the microwave and 20-30 minutes in the oven.
Oven-ready is similar to Fast & Fresh but these meals do require that you put all of the ingredients together. This makes it still feel like you are cooking but without the mess that goes along with it. Also, if you are novice cook like me, it’s almost impossible to get these wrong. For Oven-Ready dishes you will have to assemble all the ingredients (following directions on the recipe card) and then stick them in the oven. The prep here usually take about 5-10 minutes and the cooking time is usually 20-35 minutes in the oven.
15-Minute Kits is where it usually get a little tougher. However, I will say that most of these meals are categorized as “Easy” on Home Chef’s Cooking Difficulty scale. For these meals, it might require that you cook something up in the pan or provide your own olive oil. All of these details will be available to you before you order so there are no surprises. Like the name suggests meal prep for these usually takes about 15 minutes and cooking time is anywhere from 15-35 minutes depending on the recipe and cooking method.
Shipping and Delivery
If you are located in the continental US, chances are Fresh and Easy will ship to you. Before signing up, Fresh and Easy will prompt you to input your zip code to validate that they actually ship to your location.
One thing I liked about Fresh and Easy is that it lets you pick your delivery date, making it flexible to fit within your schedule. Usually, you can choose any day of the week to get your delivery but that might depend on location as well.
However, Fresh and Easy doesn’t offer weekend delivery. If this is a must for you, I recommend you check out Freshly which offers delivery 7 days a week.
The shipping fee varies based on location and size of the box you are receiving. Fresh and Easy does state that shipping can be anywhere from $6.99 to $13.99 per box. From all the services I have tried, $9.99 seems to be the average rate so Fresh and Easy fits right around there.
Fresh and Easy offers several different sizes of plans to choose from. One drawback is that there is no single person plans. I am not sure why they have a beef with single people but I won’t get into that in this Fresh and Easy review (teasing of course).
When choosing a plan you will be prompted to select how many people you are cooking for, either 2, 4 or 6 people. And How many recipes you want to receive per week, anywhere from 2-5.
While writing the Fresh and Easy review, I found the smallest plan you can choose is cooking for 2 people with 2 recipes per week. This plan comes out $39.96 for the box with $13.99 for shipping. The largest plan you can choose is cooking for 6 people with 6 recipes per week. This plan comes out to a whopping $359.64 with $9.99 shipping.
With Fresh and Easy, there is no discount for ordering more. For any plan you choose, you are paying around $9.99 per serving plus shipping. This price does change if you customize your meals and swap proteins or add extras.
Fresh and Easy Customer Service
Since Fresh and Easy is owned by Home Chef, you will receive the same quality support as Home Chef.
Fresh and Lean offers support through email and phone. The phone customer support is offered Monday through Friday 9am-6pm CT and Saturday 10am-2pm CT.
I didn’t try the email support as part of this Fresh and Easy review . However, when I called Fresh and Easy, somebody answered the phone quickly (there wasn’t any hold) and were able to help me with the questions that I had.
Apart from contacting someone, Fresh and Easy offers a few self-service options as well. You can easily skip a week or even send your box to a different place for a week if you are traveling but still want to receive your meals.
One thing that is a little confusing is that Home Chef and Fresh and Easy share the same FAQ page. Most of the questions are answered there but I was a little confused by whether the answer applies to both services or just Home Chef.
And The Verdict – Fresh and Easy is a go!
Fresh and Easy is a unique service in that it tiptoes the line between traditional meal delivery services that require prep and ready-to-eat meal delivery services that send you everything packaged up and ready to heat and eat.
I really liked the idea of being able to order a couple meals that I can just stick in the microwave at work and eat there while also ordering a couple meals that I can quickly (and easily) prep at home.
At $9.99 per meal, Fresh and Easy is about as average as it gets. It’s not so expensive that it will hurt your budget every week and not so cheap that it makes you question the quality of ingredients inside.
Personally, I am looking forward to ordering again when I do my 2023 Fresh and Easy review.
Overall, if you want some delicious, no- to low-prep meals, then you can’t go wrong with Fresh and Easy. And if you ever get bored or are feeling more adventurous, you can always upgrade your plan to include the full variety of Home Chef. These will include the 30- and 60-minute meals as well.