HelloFresh: A Review

by Melissa on April 15, 2016

Since returning home from the wedding and honeymoon, my cooking game has gotten a big boost.  I had a coupon for a free box from HelloFresh and decided to cash it in for our first week home.  The time it can take to meal plan, grocery shop, and prep was going to be too much between the many other things we needed to do to get back to reality.

Our meals arrived in a cooler box with cold packs covering the meat and fish.  I’m not sure when it arrived, but it was still very fresh and COLD when we brought it into the house.  We went with the 3 meals per week plan, which allows us to have one night during the work week to cook our own meal, eat out, or just have leftovers. 

So what’s in the box?


In each box, the fresh ingredients are divided into smaller boxes and labeled for the recipe they’re designated for.  Also, each recipe is included with step by step instructions and pictures.  It makes tackling a new recipe much easier when you know what each step should look like. 


Jamie Oliver has partnered with HelloFresh and each week you can choose the recipe he has created specifically for this service.  The common belief is that they want to help busy people make fresh, healthy, delicious food from scratch.  I couldn’t support that more!  Cooking is one way to show love, connect with your food, and really enjoy time with family and friends. 

Our first meal was a Jamie Oliver recipe (above) The Grilled Chicken with Warm Green Bean Salad.  We really enjoyed this and will absolutely make it again.  Hint: there hasn’t been a recipe so far that I wouldn’t put on the table again.  Everything has been so tasty!  I’m even learning new skills and discovering different ways to cook our favorites.

Other recipes we’ve enjoyed:

Fiesty Fiesta Tacos (not as spicy as I imagined with a name like “fiesty”!)


Not pictured: Juicy Lucy Burger.  Hands down my favorite so far.  I have everything ready to make these when we get home on Sunday.  PLEASE do yourself a favor and put these on the table soon! Smile

Crispy Chicken Milanese.  So light and full of flavor!


Jamie’s Sticky Asian Style Salmon.  Honestly, Asian style dishes are not my specialty, and I feel like I knocked this one out of the ball park.  It tasted like a restaurant quality meal!


One drawback for our us?  No leftovers.  Devin and I are big on taking leftovers for lunch the next day and don’t want to purchase our meals out.  So, we do have to plan ahead and get ingredients for salads and sandwiches.  Not a big deal, but we have always relied on our dinners to supply a little extra Winking smile

Our plan right now is use HelloFresh for the weeks we are busy or will be away during the weekends.  This way we’re still cooking at home, having healthy delicious meals.  Plus with the quality of ingredients, it’s still cheaper than eating out.  I’m envisioning we will use HelloFresh twice per month.  I still love to grocery shop when I have time and to make my own recipes.

Interested in trying HelloFresh

Use this coupon code: B5WFYG to receive 3 free meals (aka 50% off your first box).  It’s a wonderful service for busy couples or families.

Have you tried a service like HelloFresh?  What has been your experience?


Transitioning Back to Reality Post Wedding

by Melissa on April 12, 2016

Over 3 weeks ago, I married the love of my life.  When we started planning last February, it was hard to believe the day would ever arrive.  Between picking out a dress, choosing the venue (not hard!), flowers, rings, seating charts, and so much other fun, it could be an overwhelming process at times.  When our weekend was finally here, it really was worth all the effort Devin and I put into it (and our parents!).  I can’t wait to share the story and photos from the day.  We have a few snapshots to tide us over (see below) :)

Jekyll Island Wedding venue:  Crane Cottage @ The Jekyll Island Club

photographer: Concept-A Photography

Jekyll Island Wedding

While I had a lot of advice on prep, planning, and even how to enjoy every moment of our wedding day, I didn’t have the same advice for how to handle the few weeks after all the fun died down.  Luckily, we chose to do our honeymoon directly after the wedding (giving ourselves a buffer day), which extended the celebration and fun. 


But, getting back into reality was no joke.  For a few days, I kept looking at people like “don’t you know the biggest day of my life just happened!?”  After being on an emotional high for almost a month, the other side of that was something to deal with.  Thankfully, my husband is oh so supportive and made our transition back into our new reality smooth and fun!

I also had some forethought and made a few plans to make our adjustment a little easier.  First, I started us with HelloFresh.  I’ll have a full review of the cook your own meal delivery program soon, but all I can say is I’m hooked now!  We had it delivered the day we arrived home from the honeymoon, so I didn’t have to worry about running to the grocery store and planning meals.  Definitely recommend for any new hubby and wife! 

IMG_20160329_173359 If you’re interested in trying HelloFresh, use code B5WFYG for $40 off your first box!

We also had our house keeper come and tidy up our townhome prior to coming home.  Definitely a splurge, but with my personality type, organization and cleanliness decrease my overall stress levels. 

Making the transition from bride and groom to husband and wife has been fun.  It’s now about “us” and “our” life.  Plus, I have a beautiful new last name to throw everyone off when they email me! Ha! 


So, what has the hardest transition been for me so far?  Getting back into my workout routine.  It was such a priority before the wedding, as it probably is for most brides.  Therefore, after the wedding it was nice to not have the pressure to get the workout in.  Also, I had very specific workout goals prior to the wedding.  Now I’m in search of my new goal and motivation.  I’ll keep you posted on what I figure out, but for now I’m just focused on working back into a regular routine and enjoying the workouts.  Whatever interests me that day is what I’m going to do!

Are you recently married?  How did you do with the transition post-wedding?  Any tips you want to share with any future Mr & Mrs?


Whole30 Thoughts

by Melissa on March 10, 2016

It’s just a little over a week until our wedding!  It’s been a crazy busy, but fun few weeks.  We’re getting ready for a beautiful day and a warm tropical honeymoon – yay!

honeymoon luggage tags“honeymoon luggage style”

In the last post, we were in the middle of our first Whole30, and I definitely did not want to leave our Whole30 journey on that type of cliffhanger.

On or around Day 17, the Whole 30 came to a close, specifically for me.  It was week 3, and I found myself creating extremely low carbohydrate meals day after day.  My energy was low, I was having a few issues in other aspects of my health, and I just lethargic.  Let me note, Devin did not have similar symptoms.  When I mentioned to him that I wanted to end my Whole30 journey, he was a little confused because he was feeling really good. 

This was when I did a little digging to see if I was the only one, specifically only female, that had issues with the overall Whole30 experience.  While Google does not translate to solid scientific research, it can at least give you a sense, that in fact, you are not a crazy person.  Surprisingly, there are many articles related to the subject of women, Paleo, and Whole30.

 running“morning runs require some carbs, specifically from the night before”

So, after Day 17, I added in some quinoa and had a bowl of oatmeal.  My conclusion was I had eaten too low carb for my lifestyle.  I was adding more running back into my routine thanks to some warmer temperatures and also getting over being sick, my overall activity levels were picking back up.  This is why I think the lower carb intake the first week or two did not have the same effect on me. 

We learned a lot during the Whole30 journey.  I only ate that one bowl of oatmeal and have maintained a pretty similar eating pattern at breakfast.  I’ve given up on coffee creamer, and I’m now opting for plain almond milk.  Devin and I continue to focus on vegetables and protein first when creating the meal, and we now eat a lot less rice, quinoa, and pasta.  Our sources of carbohydrates tend to come from fruits, vegetables such as sweet potatoes and potatoes, and occasionally quinoa and brown rice. 

breakfast bowl“My typical breakfast now: bananas, berries, nut butter, coconut, and a sprinkle of granola” 

What about sugar cravings?  Our Whole17 did not eliminate my sugar cravings.  However, one piece of chocolate satisfies me.  I don’t feel the need for a huge piece of cake every day.  If you’re thinking of doing a Whole30 to eliminate sugar cravings, this is my piece of advice (coming from a registered dietitian): I’m not convinced that eliminating cravings is accomplished completely through elimination of the food you are craving.  I believe cravings stem many times from emotional and mental sources and even sometimes from how well we’re resting. 

As a nutrition professional, I try many diets so I can experience and understand what many of my clients are experiencing.  I’ve tried vegan, vegetarian, clean eating, juicing, and now Whole30/Paleo.  What I’ve learned through these diets is there typically is at least one part of each that may work for you.  The Whole30 helped me work certain foods out of my diet that were superfluous such as coffee creamer and extra sweets.  Vegan and vegetarian taught me how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables and cook delicious meat free meals.  And juicing taught me that I definitely prefer eating food as opposed to drinking my food :)  

salmon salad“eating out, while maintaining a healthy mindset”

The point of a diet is to find a way of eating that helps you live your healthiest life.  I’m very thankful for the 17 days in the Whole30.  I’ve learned new cooking techniques, recipes, and ways of eating that have made my life even better. 

**All opinions are strictly my own.  If you are interested in making a change to your diet, discuss with your doctor and a nutrition professional.  Feel free to contact me to inquire about one on one nutrition coaching for lifestyle, weight management, and sports performance.


Whole30 Days 8 through 14

by Melissa on February 15, 2016

OMG. The Whole30 timeline is completely on point.  Meaning, days 10 and 11 are the hardest days.  And my wall came on day 12 – by wall I mean complete meltdown.  It was as though a sugar addict possessed my body.  Poor Devin.  At one point during the meltdown, he said “ok, just eat the cookie.” 

I didn’t.  Devin and I had been planning to go out to eat this past weekend for our one year engagement anniversary.  Devin put a lot of effort into planning the date, and I knew we’d be eating a non-Whole30 approved meal.  So….  I held back. 

I think low blood sugar also contributed to the meltdown.  While you can make extraordinary meals on the Whole30, I hadn’t quite figured out an easy to whip up, yummy meal for those evenings when I was just too tired to cook.  Leftovers are great, but we were using them for lunches.  By Thursday night, I didn’t have it in me.  We ate salmon burgers and sliced potatoes …yum…  Then on Friday, I just wanted to collapse.  We used to do pizza night on Fridays – it’s easy, delicious, and just a fun thing to do at the end of the week.   I didn’t want to cook and I didn’t want a Whole30 meal.  You could have given me a personal chef, and I would have declined.  I wanted our pizza night, I wanted a beer, and I wanted a darn Valentine’s cookies.  NOTHING was going to get my mind off of it. 

So, I had a leftover meatball.

Let me step back and say that yes I’m a dietitian.  Yes, I fight food cravings.  I’m learning. 

Devin and I did have a non-Whole30 meal on Saturday evening.  We enjoyed pasta and wine at a spot that’s very near to our hearts in the city.  Per Melissa Hartwig’s comment on going off plan, it has to be a memorable, once in a lifetime moment.  Our first engagement anniversary and the last Valentine’s Day as an engaged couple felt like a perfect reason.  We stayed on plan throughout the day and allowed our dinner to be a treat.  Typically one meal or even one ingredient off the Whole30 is meant for a re-start, but that wasn’t not the point of our Whole30 – to be perfect. 

We wanted to have an idea of how foods affect us and also our cravings.  We came into the Whole30 eating pretty well – leaving our vices like creamer, a piece of chocolate after dinner, and white rice off the menu.  We’ve felt great on the plan so far and even my taste buds have changed.

So, now we’re back!  It feels great to be eating Whole30 again.

Let’s take a recap of last week – keeping in mind my end of week meltdown caused some less than stellar meals.  So, these are probably more like highlights!

Likely, the best meal was our Whole30 chili.  No beans, lots of meat and veg.  Recipe was found in the Whole30 cookbook.


We also had a lot of salads.  I put two chicken breasts in the crockpot on low heat for 8 hours with lemon pepper seasoning, lemon slices, and a little bit of chicken stock.  It shredded perfectly and was ready to be added to meals throughout the week.  We also hardboiled 1 dozen eggs for snacks and salads.


The real reason I’m surviving Whole30?  Nut butter…


Call this an “Ode to Nut Butter”.  As a self-proclaimed peanut butter addict, if it weren’t for almond butter, I’d probably lose it.  Take away chocolate AND nut butter.  NO WAY.

almond butter

While menu planning this week, we’ve decided to be a little less ambitious and throw in a few easy to whip up meals like tuna salad lettuce cups with soup.  Lessons learned.

What is one big nutrition or eating “A-HA” moment you’ve had?  Did you learn the lesson the hard way?


Whole30 Days 1 through 7

February 7, 2016

As a registered dietitian, you’re probably wondering why I’m following the Whole30 eating pattern.  Good question!  Let’s start with a few points first I’ve always been a proponent of the 30 day eating pattern as a way to learn more about the foods you’re eating and how they affect you.  In essence, the Whole30 is […]

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What Can You Learn During Training?

January 28, 2016

Training for any race, whether a 5K or a marathon, leaves a definite mark on a person.  You learn a few things about yourself.  Sometimes you learn that you’re more equipped to hit the snooze button than you originally thought.  Sometimes you learn that you have a little more to give than you ever knew.  […]

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Winter is Here + A Workout

January 26, 2016

Holy cow!  We’ve almost dug ourselves out of the over 2 feet of snow that got dumped on us this past weekend.  I have to admit it was kind of fun being stuck inside and braving the storm with Devin :)  So many firsts for us this year! We tried to shovel often to keep […]

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2015 In Review

December 30, 2015

What a whirlwind year!  It feels like it was just 2014 to me! There is one word that can summarize my entire 2015:   Change. Overwhelming, exciting, joyous change!  As I take these few days to reflect, I can see in the end, God always has the best plans. Devin and started to talk about moving […]

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A Warm Winter Weekend

December 13, 2015

It’s been in the 60s and 70s all weekend and I couldn’t feel more blessed to have the windows open while still enjoying the Christmas lights.  After last year’s artic winter, it’s nice to think this year might be just a bit more mild. (Fingers crossed) Devin and I started our weekend off with a […]

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Run Coaching

October 11, 2015

Last spring I took the RRCA Run Coach certification course.  It was a weekend long intensive.  Between the running fundamentals I learned that weekend and the tools I have from being a registered dietitian and group fitness instructor, I knew that I would love working with individuals towards reaching their running goals. Therefore, I’m excited […]

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