I've been suffering from after school snack burnout for some time now. Goldfish crackers, raisins, cheese. Enjoy Life bars are great but at this rate I'm going to need to buy stock in the company to support our habit. We need some variety.
During a typical school week, the KC kids run directly from school to gymnastics, piano lessons, and taekwondo, depending on the day. That's not taking into account play dates, library runs, spelling bees, concerts, soccer season, or the days I drag them with me to the grocery store. I am constantly on the lookout for snacks that are allergy-safe for Roo (nut-free, egg-free), substantial enough to tide over little gymnasts and yellow belts until dinnertime, not totally devoid of nutrition, and that won't make a sticky goo slick all over the back seat of my car or a freshly laundered taekwondo uniform for that matter.
So, a few weeks ago, when the kind souls from Hilary's Eat Well offered us the opportunity to sample a few of their products for free, I was excited. Go ahead, show us what you've got!
Perhaps you haven't heard of Hilary's Eat Well? Well, neither had I until a few weeks ago, and that, my friends, is a shame. Hilary's Eat Well promises eating well, made easy. And guess, what? They deliver. The company makes a variety of frozen common allergen-free veggie burgers (The "World's Best" Veggie Burger, Root Veggie Burger, Hemp & Greens Burger, Adzuki Bean Burger) as well as their uniquely kid-friendly Original Veggie Bites. They're incredibly easy to prepare and can be heated in the oven, in a pan, on the grill, and with the exception of the Veggie Bites (due to their size), the toaster!
Awesomely, Hilary's products are all gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, yeast-free, egg-free, and with the exception of coconut oil, also completely nut-free! Can you see me doing my happy dance? Roo's pretty psyched about the whole thing too.
Now I like a good veggie burger as much as the next well-intentioned omnivore, but it's those Original Veggie Bites that really piqued my interest. Think 2-bite mini veggie burgers without the bun. You know what I'm thinking, right? After school snack perfection.
Assuming of course, the KC kids will eat them. You never can tell with them. So here goes. Pop a few Veggie Bites in the oven, bake until crisp, pop in a side of egg-free Ranch dressing and...
We have a winner, folks! Bean loved The Original Veggie Bites. Truth be told, so did I, and arm wrestled her for the last one. The big surprise, however, was Roo, who overcome with some rarely seen fascination with Ranch dressing, put away three little patties. That's a full blown meal for all 32 pounds of him. And Looly, who can read ingredient lists and relies somewhat heavily on the rapidly changing food preferences of a few key second grade classmates, claimed repeatedly that she just wasn't sure about them. I'm fairly certain she doesn't know where millet ranks on the second grade gross out spectrum. Still, she ate two between the grumblings.
Hilary's Eat Well Original Veggie Bites have carved out a place in our regular snack rotation. Heat a few, toss them in a snack bag, and off we go. Though I'm holding off on the Ranch dip while we're in the car. Just saying.
I've been chowing down on both the Root Veggie and Hemp and Greens burgers for lunch lately and have to say, I'm growing rather attached. The burgers are remarkably crispy on the exterior, warmIy seasoned on the inside with a texture much like falafel. I actually caught myself craving a Hemp and Greens burger during a workout this weekend. And yes, I eat meat.
With ingredient lists that are reasonable in length, transparent, and largely organic, ingredients that are sourced responsibly, and a commitment to allergy-safe eating, Hilary's Eat Well is one of those rare prepackaged food companies you can feel good about. How good, you may ask?! So good that on my last trip to Whole Foods, I not only bought a few more packages of burgers and bites, but I made sure to prop up the remaining cute little packages so they were more visible next to the boxes of Boca burgers. Our Whole Foods had them a little buried in the freezer section. I wasn't digging it. People need to try these.
So, obviously, I picked up my veggie bite and burger stash at our local Whole Foods, but you can also order Hilary's Eat Well products online here if you can't find them at your grocery store. However you go about it, just go get some. And that Root Veggie burger? Try it with a scoop of coleslaw on top and a little spread of grainy mustard...I am not kidding. Do it. Now.