Blue Apron's Wellness 360 Program
Blue Apron has new wellness offerings—here’s how they taste
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To all those who put “healthy eating” or “more at-home meals” on your 2022 new year’s resolution list: How’s that going? If your response is an unenthusiastic “eh,” you might want to look into a meal kit plan to help you achieve your goals with less effort (and time commitments).
Enter: Blue Apron’s new Wellness 360 program. Led by the company’s in-house registered dietician and culinary director, the program offers curated meal kit recipes, pre-prepped meals, and add-ons that put wellness at the top of the priority list. The company has even partnered with WW (formerly Weight Watchers) to make adding PersonalPoints that much easier for those who are on a WW plan.
Since we’ve had mixed feelings about Blue Apron’s traditional recipes in the past (some flavors were off, and the menu wasn’t super diverse), we were eager to turn a new chapter and see how these new Wellness offerings compared to the rest of the meal kit company’s lineup.
What is Blue Apron’s Wellness 360 program?
Launched in early 2022, this new program works similarly to Blue Apron’s Vegetarian subscription: It’s a way to personalize your deliveries when you activate your Blue Apron membership. Each week, there are four two-serving recipes to choose from (the max number of meal kits you’ll receive in a given week is three), as well as a pre-made Heat & Eat option. You can also add on other offerings—like wine pairings—for an additional cost.
Each meal that’s part of the program is described as “nutritionally dense,” with an emphasis on ingredients like fresh produce, whole grains, and lean proteins. Some also have additional labels, like “Carb-Conscious,” “Vegetarian,” or “WW Recommended,” to curate your search even further.
The program is meant to reflect what Blue Apron describes as the five pillars of wellness: physical health (eating well), relationship health (cooking and eating with loved ones), financial health (budgeting with weekly serving plans), mental health (being present while cooking), and emotional health (skipping the stress of meal prepping).
What we tried
Tilapia & Orange-Jalapeño Salsa
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This dish had a lot going on: savory crispiness from the tilapia, mild heat from an orange-jalapeno salsa, sweet-and-sour caramelized carrots, crunchy crushed peanuts, and a bright creaminess from Greek yogurt. But it wasn’t overwhelming; I found all of these contrasting flavors to actually work really well together.
My only complaint lies with the salsa: While I liked the idea of adding some bright acidity from a fresh orange to jalapenos and scallions, it felt odd to have giant chunks of orange in every other bite of the meal—plus the fact that there was no liquid element to the salsa (like lime juice) made it feel like it was lacking something. Also—and maybe I’m just slow in the kitchen—but although this recipe was meant to take between 30 to 40 minutes, it took me almost 50.
One-Pan Chickpea & Curry Shakshuka
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This recipe was easy, satisfying, and super tasty. It came together in one pan in a little over 30 minutes, and had no shortage of flavor (thanks to the fresh ginger, shallots, and yellow curry paste, which added a fair amount of heat as well). It was a great vegetarian option for the week, with 25 grams of protein per serving and a good source of fiber- and nutrient-dense veggies.
Dijon-Roasted Trout & Potatoes
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This meal was exciting for me to put together, having never cooked with trout or romanesco cauliflower before. I appreciated that, in addition to the photos included in the paper step-by-step recipe guide, there were also additional helpful videos on the website’s recipe page, like “how to hold a chef’s knife,” “how to prep cauliflower florets,” and “how to dice a potato,” which would be a great resource for beginners in the kitchen.
I did find the vinaigrette to be a little heavy on red wine vinegar, and as a result I couldn’t taste much of the mustard that the dish was named after. But still, it was a hearty recipe with plenty of protein (46 grams!) and enough veggies for lunch the next day.
Heat & Eat Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This chicken stir fry was a tasty and easy meal option for when you’re too lazy to bring out the pots and pans. It featured white meat chicken, brown rice, and veggies (red peppers, green beans, and edamame) coated in a sweet-and-spicy sambal oelek soy glaze. It took only 3 minutes in the microwave—perfect for a weekday lunch—and came out tasting tender and delicious, with a good balance of protein, veggies, and whole grains to satiate me through the afternoon.
What we like about Blue Apron’s wellness program
The recipes are tasty—and full of fresh produce
Each meal I tried from the wellness program was tasty, filling, and full of fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients that made me walk away from the table feeling satisfied. I like that each week has a diverse range of options with globally inspired flavors—from Shawarma Chicken Thigh & Farro Bowl to Veracruz-Style Shrimp & Vegetables. I also appreciated how much produce was snuck into every meal, like the addition of fresh oranges in the tilapia dish and the unorthodox chickpeas in the shakshuka.
The directions are accessible and easy to follow
Even for beginners, the recipes that are part of the Wellness program are a cinch to put together. If you happen to face a task that you haven’t conquered before—like prepping fresh ginger, for example—Blue Apron provides easy-to-follow tutorials on their website that guide you through those steps easily. Plus, the addition of photos on the recipe sheet help keep you on the right track as the recipe progresses. For a Wellness program that boasts physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, it’s important that these are accessible and easy for a wide audience—including cooking novices.
The dietician-focused recipes and collaboration with WW makes it easy to attain goals
The peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that each meal has been handcrafted with an expert’s knowledge of nutrition really takes the weight off of healthy meal prepping, which is certainly an attractive feature of this program. And for anyone who’s currently on the WW program, adding these meals to your weekly rotation is a thoughtless way to keep track of PersonalPoints without going through the stress of organizing and measuring meals every time you want to eat—a definite plus.
What we didn’t like
There are no plant-based options
For a meal plan that claims to prioritize wellness and provide “the perfect balance of offerings,” I was disappointed that the program doesn’t offer any fully plant-based or vegan options. Each week has one vegetarian option (never more), and while some can probably be made vegan by omitting dairy ingredients (like in these Sweet Chili Roasted Vegetables) others can’t (like in the Shakshuka and Potato Hash & Eggs). There are also currently no meat-free Heat & Eat options, as they all feature chicken.
Ingredients are disorganized
Something we flagged in our original Blue Apron review was its tendency for disorganized ingredients, and that’s something that stood out to me with this experience, too. There were separate (appropriately labeled) “Knickknack” bags for each recipe, which included things like spices and little sauce packets, but there were also stray ingredients not included in these bags—a head of garlic here, a box of tomatoes there—that made gathering ingredients a little tricky. I would’ve appreciated it if every “knickknack” was included in the appropriate bag, and that everything that was too big to fit (like a bag of fresh spinach or a can of chickpeas) was separately labeled for its respective recipe. Because, let’s face it, my fridge is enough of a trainwreck on its own.
There is a lack of nitty-gritty instructions for beginners
I did mention that Blue Apron goes above and beyond with additional tutorial videos for meal prepping—which was great!—but they missed the mark when it came to other beginners’ assistance. For example, before I received my box, I received an email reminding me of my upcoming order, which included a list of kitchen tools to have on hand (something I thought was helpful for folks who are just starting out). But the list didn’t include a can opener—and with cans of chickpeas and tomato sauce used in this recipe, I can’t imagine how someone without the tool would’ve been able to easily put this together. (I also used a salad spinner to wash the fresh spinach, although that definitely wasn’t as crucial a tool.)
Another instance of this was in the Shakshuka recipe, where there wasn’t a lot of direction when it came to adjusting the heat of the pan (after setting it to medium-high at the beginning). For folks who are just starting out, or aren’t as intuitive in the kitchen, they might have ended up splattering themselves with hot oil (guilty) or burning their food without proper instructions.
Is Blue Apron’s Wellness Program worth it?
Yes, if you’re on a goal-based diet plan
The dietician-approved recipes, convenient affiliation with WW, and clear labeling of things like low-calorie and carb-conscious options make this new program ideal for anyone who’s watching what they eat—and wants a break from constant meal planning. And starting at $8.99 per meal, Blue Apron offers one of the cheapest prices out of all the meal kits we’ve covered.
If, however, you’re not fussy about calories and just looking for meals with plenty of veggies—or just looking for a more diverse lineup of dishes—you might want to look elsewhere. Sunbasket, for example, offers several plant-based (and meat-centric) meal options every week, all of which are certified organic and stacked high with nutrient-dense ingredients. Of course, these aren’t necessarily curated by dieticians—and they’re pricier, up to $11.99 per serving—so it all comes down to where your priorities lie.
Bottom line: If you don’t have dietary restrictions like veganism and are looking for dietician-approved meals to help you achieve healthy eating goals, Blue Apron can provide some tasty eats to help get you there.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.