We've been sheltering in a place for three months now, and it's been quite a rollercoaster. For those of us who got to work from home, it seemed like there was a collective ambivalence: While we feared a global virus and plummeting economy, there was also a sense of excitement for the chance to break from our busy lives and experience some relaxation in our own homes. A welcome return to domestic craftsmanship has since given way to fatigue from taking care of ourselves, our homes, and our jobs all at once—day in and day out.
Reality has set in: Oh, so this is our new normal? We all started to think. Soon whipping up a bowl of carbonara during lunchtime on a Wednesday got replaced with eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast and lunch (and dinner, if things got really hectic). When meetings and deadlines take over a day, the last thing I can think about is going to the grocery store or throwing together a meal. Recently, during such a week, a supply of Freshly meals saved my sanity. (If you want to order some for yourself and breathe a little easier, I have a promo code for $30 off two weeks of meals: THETHIRTY30.)
Full disclosure: I'm an ex-food writer. At the beginning of quarantine, I quickly embraced my newfound time and flexibility to revive my sourdough starter from the back of my fridge and cook long- and slow-simmered stews and sauces. But when I don't have the time to prepare food for myself, it's still really important to me to eat well.
Freshly has all the perks of ready-made food à la restaurant delivery without any of the drawbacks: You can order from a full menu, have delicious and fresh meals sent to you to be warmed up at your own convenience—when you're hungry. I personally haven't been ordering takeout while sheltering in place, because I hate waiting an hour for my food, and I especially hate paying a bunch of service fees that don't benefit the restaurant I'm ordering from.
There's something so approachable about the dishes Freshly chefs create. Its menu is wide-ranging enough that you can satisfy all your cravings, from Indian takeout to nonna's red-sauce classics. And even though these dishes are much tastier than what you can whip up in a comparable time (no offense), you don't feel like you're eating restaurant takeout, which invariably is lacking on the health front. Freshly's meals are made by chefs with input from nutritionists, so they're full of nutrients and free of unnecessary sugars and fats. Where they can, they replace grain-based starches with vegetable alternatives and avoid gluten altogether. This truly makes them perfect for a WFH lunch because they satiated me in a way that left me feeling energized, not sluggish. And beyond that, they're actual freshly made meals, so there are no preservatives.
So here are my two cents: Whether you're ordering Freshly for lunch or dinner (because they definitely work for both), plate them up after following the heating instructions! It transforms an already tasty dining experience into a really homey one. You can order Freshly meals in weekly deliveries of four (priced at $11.50 a meal), six (at $8.99/meal), nine (also at $8.99/meal), or 12 (at 7.99/meal), so below I've created two sample weeks of Freshly meals I'd create for myself based on my favorite dishes. And why wouldn't you listen to me? I am a retired food writer after all, and I have that code for $30 off two weeks of any meal plan (THETHIRTY30).
WEEK 1: 4 MEALS
I'll be honest: I ordered this herbed chicken breast with kale and beans because I wanted a really healthy lunch option for those days when I'm just not feeling great. I don't understand how the Freshly chefs kept this chicken breast so moist and flavorful, but I don't care—I just want it in my weekly rotation.
WEEK 2: 6 MEALS
Zucchini is another pasta-sub that hits the spot and keeps you going all day long. Freshly also thought to maximize the nutritious element of this dish by packing the meatballs full of mushrooms and pesto with extra veggies, upping the flavor and fiber content altogether.
Another nutritious iteration of hearty comfort food that doesn't skimp on flavor. The mash is extra flavorful and light because it's made with cauliflower, potatoes, chives, and Greek yogurt, and the chicken is super lean from oven baking instead of deep-frying.