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Why FreshDirect is a Parent's Best Friend

Why FreshDirect is a Parent's Best Friend

FreshDirect made this mom's life a lot easier. Here's how it can help yours too.

If the current pandemic hasn’t inspired you to try ordering your groceries online, perhaps you need an informational nudge to find out why it’s so great. As a parent of two young children (with a third on the way), I’ve been ordering the bulk load of my family’s groceries online for the past 5 years. I’ve tried a handful of services, but the one that’s worked best for my family is FreshDirect. So you can imagine the slight panic I experienced when suddenly EVERYONE was ordering from the online grocer. Thankfully, it’s not nearly as challenging to reserve a delivery time slot as it once was, and I secured a standing weekly slot about two months ago. So I’m (finally!) willing to share the tricks of the trade with my fellow parents. Here’s what I love about FreshDirect and why I think it’ll save you and your family a ton of time and stress this summer.

Healthy Food Options for Hungry Kids

My children have come to shriek with delight when they see the FreshDirect bags waiting for us on our front stoop. Unpacking the groceries and putting everything away is sometimes a family activity and gives us a chance to chat about what we’re planning to eat for the week. My girls are also much more likely to eat foods that they see come out of the bag, help us identify, and then put away in their proper spots. Whether it’s fruit and veggie pouches for the littlest ones, rainbow baby carrots, a bag of chilled clementines, giant artichokes with stems perfect for holding upright, or a heavy bag of quinoa, my kids are fascinated by whatever arrives each week. There are tons of precut veggies and vegetable snack packs to choose from if you’re just not in the mood for chopping. And we’ve even tried some Little Dish and FoodieKid meals and meal starters for fun.

Prepared Foods for Ultimate Convenience 

In a hurry? Yeah, us too. Even though there’s nowhere to go, mealtimes seem to creep up on us and suddenly we’re all starving and in need of a meal ASAP. I always add a few 4-minute meals like chicken parmesan and turkey meatloaf, a la carte dishes like fried chicken and baked macaroni and cheese, or meal kits (our favorite is the Beef and Veggies with Black Bean Sauce Stir-Fry) to our weekly order for those days when the time just disappears and dinner plans are out the window. If I know I have an extra busy week ahead of me and will be short on time, I can feed my family easily by tossing a quiche, frozen mini bagels or waffles, some FreshDirect brand frozen pizzas (all thin crust, all delicious), a rotisserie chicken, pre-made pesto and bolognese sauces with a few boxes of pasta and frozen veggies, a bag of apples, a box of lettuces, salmon burgers, and a loaf of frozen sourdough in my cart for some ready-made options.

RELATED: Food Delivery Services in the New York Area

New Tastes and Flavor Profiles

When I’m looking to shake up my own food selections, I can always count on FreshDirect to introduce me to a new dish. I’ve come to love the green vegetable couscous salad and the kale, farro, and roasted artichoke salad. My almost 5-year-old and almost 2-year-old have also come to appreciate greens in a way I would have never expected. We’ll gather around the FD mezze grain bowl and add a bunch of extra lettuces for a big, family-size salad at least one lunchtime a week. And for some reason I’m always willing to try things that I wouldn’t normally have the guts to put in my cart at a traditional grocery store, like fresh mango, rainbow Swiss chard, wild mushrooms, big pork chops, pitaya-dragon fruit smoothie packs, and seaweed snacks, to name just a few.

They have it all...Seriously!

Probably the biggest selling point for FreshDirect for me has been the convenience of finding everything I need at one e-store. I can find pretty much all the standard brands of dairy, condiments, cookies, and crackers that I grew up with, plus Annie’s and Earth’s Best stuff for babies and tots, and plant-based milks, chia pudding, kombucha, cold brew, and more for me. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to come across treats like ready-to-bake sticky buns, chocolate rugelach, Chloe’s frozen pops, and cakes and cupcakes for special occasions (including Baked By Melissa minis!) when I just can’t find the time to make it to the local bakery. I can also stock up on pantry and household goods like hand sanitizer, shampoo, infant formula, wine and beer (unlike some other grocery delivery services), paper towels and toilet paper, cleaning supplies, pet products, and even fresh flowers. What’s more, the shopping experience is incredibly easy when compared to pushing a cart full of kids and groceries through aisle after aisle. In a few clicks I can find just what I need or simply narrow down my search to organic, local, vegan and vegetarian, or gluten-free options, shop for what’s currently on sale, top-rated, or new.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of FreshDirect

  • I start each shopping “trip” by hitting the reorder button so I can see what my most commonly bought items are and what I purchased in past orders. This helps me remember to grab all the things my family eats each and every week. And it’s one less thing to store in my brain.
  • Pay attention to the ratings. All fresh foods are rated on a scale of 1-5 stars. This takes some of the guesswork out of buying produce and other seasonal goods. That said, sometimes an item arrives and it’s much smaller or larger than I anticipated!
  • If you live in a high-demand area, FD is now also offering a new contactless order pickup service at specific locations you can drive to, including the Bronx and Bridgehampton. Free of delivery charge!
  • It’s easy to shop local via FD. The service works with growers, producers, and makers in the northeast. When I can’t make it to our local farmers’ market, I can feel good about shopping local online and supporting small businesses. I’ve yet to try the CSA boxes from Hepworth Farms and Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, but it’s only a matter of time before I add one to my order.
  • It’s been heartwarming to see FreshDirect partner with organizations like NY Common Pantry, and they make it easy for shoppers to donate a meal or a week’s worth of produce to neighbors in need.
  • While restaurants are open for alfresco dining in parts of New York, it's unclear when they will be back to full capacity. Until then, FreshDirect is working with Restaurant Associates on a new prepared-meal initiative called “RA Kitchen.” So instead of ordering our one-a-week takeout, my family is going to be trying the Chicken Cacciatore this weekend!

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Whitney C. Harris

Author: Whitney C. Harris is a freelance writer and NYMetroParents' Manhattan and Westchester calendar editor. She lives in Sleepy Hollow, NY, with her husband, a toddler, and a dog. See More

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