Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thanks to Covid-19, we parents have been in a never-ending battle with breakfast, lunch and dinner at home. Oh, and don’t forget the snacks; I always do 🤦🏽♀️
At the start of the coronavirus quarantine, I let my anxiety loose in the kitchen. If we couldn’t leave the house, we could at least enjoy Pinterest-worthy meals. That lasted all of two weeks.
Now, our typical home-cooked dinner is sautéed veggies paired with some kind of protein. Drizzle a halfway-decent sauce on top, and that’s that. Or, when that’s too difficult to manage? Rappi to the rescue.
But five months later — with no real end to the quarantine in sight — our bland uninspired meals underscored just how monotonous our lives had become 😩
Of course, I’m grateful that we have the ability to put anything on the table. But could we all benefit from more flavorful homemade meals? Yes. Did I have the energy to make it happen? No.
And then I stumbled on one potential solution..
Hola Veggie is a subscription service that aims to make it easier for customers to cook delicious plant-based meals at home.
Customers choose two or three recipes from the week’s menu, and receive a box containing just about everything they need to cook the dishes themselves.
This idea isn’t new — services like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron pioneered the business model nearly a decade ago. But it seems to be a fairly new concept here in Argentina, and, feeling desperate for help in the kitchen, I was eager to try it out.
How It Works
- Step 1: Pick a plan. We’re doing 2 meals a week for 4 people — or 8 meals total — because leftovers.
- Step 2: Select your weekly recipes. There are always six options, and you have until 23:59 on Thursdays to choose for the following week.
- Step 3: Receive and unpack your box. In CABA, boxes arrive Monday evenings. Each recipe comes in its own brown paper bag with the printed directions, and each ingredient comes pre-portioned and labeled.
- Step 4: Cook and enjoy your meals.
Here’s a peek at our first couple of recipes: sweet potato pita pockets — served toddler and grown-up style — and black bean veggie burgers with spinach buns.
We’ve been using Hola Veggie for a few weeks now, and I do think we’ll stick with it for a few months. Here are the highlights from our experience. [Note: These opinions are my own. I have no personal connection to the company, and I am not being compensated for this review.]
What I Like About Hola Veggie
- A for Effort. Right after signing up, I thought to myself, ‘Did I just pay a company so I can still do the cooking?’ Yes, yes I did. But the fact that I don’t have to do the brainstorming, grocery shopping or even measure out the ingredients for two meals every week means I’m saving a whole lot of time, energy and brainpower. And yes, it takes more effort than take-out or heating frozen food, but I’m relishing the excitement of trying and serving new recipes, and less anxious about nutrition. Plus, you can easily cut corners here and there. (Sorry baked potatoes, you’re getting steamed).
- Food Quantity. I assumed that I’d have to add extra protein to every recipe to satisfy healthy appetites. And while I did so the first week out of habit, that really hasn’t been necessary.
- Food Quality. Except for one partially busted sweet potato, the produce we’ve received has been quality.
- The Recipes. The weekly selections are surprisingly diverse. I wasn’t expecting the opportunity to make West African peanut stew, but sure enough! Some weeks I’ve been more enthused by the options than others. But this nudge out of my comfort zone is exactly what I need to keep our diet varied.
- Environmentally Friendly. Hola Veggie proudly advertises that it uses sustainable packaging materials. The box is recyclable — or reusable as your lil’s newest favorite toy? — recipes are printed on recycled paper, ingredients are sealed in compostable bio-plastic bags… As far as I can tell, the company is living up to its promise.
- Toddler Approved. Given that I’m still in control of what goes into each dish, sharing these dishes with our 17-month-old tiny human has been easy. It’s just a matter of choosing recipes I think she’ll enjoy, skipping any suggested salt and plating her meals in a toddler-enticing fashion.
- The Cost. If you’re working with the official exchange rate, it’s less than $4/meal — plus you’re getting a personal meal planner, grocery shopper, courier and sous chef. I’m happy to pass off those responsibilities, even if it’s just for a few meals a week.
Things To Consider
- Plan you start wisely. If you’re interested in giving the Hola Veggie a try, be sure to sign up and select your meals before the Thursday deadline. That way you’ll receive your first box on the following Monday. I made the mistake of subscribing on a Sunday. So I was charged immediately for our first box and then again for our second box on the following Sunday — before we had even received our first box. Not ideal, but we’ve been happy with the experience since.
- Cancel anytime. You can cancel your subscription any time through MercadoPago. Or you can email the company directly to pause deliveries for certain week.
What are your meal-prep secret weapons?
Thanks to Hola Veggie I’m feeling more inspired in the kitchen without investing too much extra time or energy. But it’s just one of the many services I’ve been trying to make quarantine cooking easier. Some days I’m completely embarrassed by how much of my brain is consumed by food and feeding other beings each day. But I know I’m not alone…
So, what tips, tricks or secret weapons help make feeding your family a bit easier? Please do tell! I will try anything [legal] to win this battle 😉