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Get Ready For This Back To School Season With HelloFresh

I was done with planning. In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, I bought new backpacks and water bottles, uploaded the school calendar, and labeled everything under the sun. I set up sitters for meet-the-teacher night and arranged carpool for karate. I strategically ordered cleats and mouth guards to arrive in time for first practices, and let's not forget, I rented a viola.

Just when I was ready to declare "we're ready," I realized I still needed to figure out the biggest part of back-to-school planning: healthy dinners for my family. Yikes. Nights are crazy during the school year, but after a summer of French fries, I wanted to get back into cooking and sitting down as a family. With no mental energy left at the end of the day, I wished there was a way I could give myself a break without getting take-out or picking up prepared meals.

Among my stack of fall catalogs, I received a flyer for HelloFresh, a meal kit delivery service that sends you pre-portioned ingredients and easy to follow recipe cards. They seemed to offer the best of both worlds; a way for me to cook family meals without the prep work or planning. After a lovely time scrolling through menus on their site (who doesn't like reading menus?) I decided to give HelloFresh a try.

The clincher was when I read that all meals are dietician-approved and ready in roughly thirty minutes or less. Thirty minutes. I could cook a real dinner. Possibly even with vegetables. This fall, we would be better than frozen chicken nuggets.

It almost felt like I was on vacation, reading a restaurant menu until I remembered, these were recipes I would still have to prepare. Wouldn't buying my own food just be easier? Then I remembered the grocery store lines, especially right after work. And that feeling of cruising the aisles trying to think about the week's meals. The site showed me their "family-friendly" meals, noting dinners like Gouda Pork Burgers or Grilled Cheese and Veggie Jumble and I saw "more adult" meals that I would love like the Chickpea-powered Mediterranean Couscous for when the kids were away.

When my HelloFresh box arrived, I couldn't believe how simply and consciously everything was packed. Inside one neat box, my three meals were wrapped individually in labeled brown paper bags. Of course, we were running out the door, so I shoved the bags into the fridge and didn't give them a thought until. . . dinnertime. Oh boy.

When we got home that night, the kids were hungry and I was exhausted. It would have been a perfect night for pizza, but I reached in and pulled out Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Creamy Lemon Tomato Spaghetti. I snipped open the bag and eyed an organized paradise. All of the ingredients were grouped and labeled with minimal, recyclable packaging, way less than I would've used to buy the same items at the store. I took out the recipe card and went to work, following the guide step by step. I was so happy to be mindlessly following directions, zesting a lemon.

Thirty-five minutes later my meal was ready, exactly as they had planned. The kids cleaned their plates, and my husband and I poured ourselves a nice glass of red to go with it. Best part: there was hardly any clean-up! I simply tossed or recycled the packaging along the way.

My family couldn't believe that I had made it! My next night went just as accordingly, so I went ahead and selected my meals for my upcoming back-to-school week.

Now, I simply do light shopping or place online orders for grocery staples and snacks, and do my weekly dinner-planning this way. HelloFresh took the thinking out of cooking. For busy moms everywhere, that is a tasty treat.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special offer to our readers! Follow this link to get $80 off + free shipping!