Lighter, a vegan startup, creates ‘Pandora’ of food
A few days ago, my husband sent me a link to a Forbes article about a vegan meal planning startup a couple of days ago. At first, I didn’t think much of it, but I read the article today and was impressed with what I found and thought I’d share it with you!
Lighter is a vegan startup that is trying to go beyond meal planning and create a service that’s a lot more like a “Pandora for food.” Basically, after filling out some profile information, you pick a chef/athlete/health guru/personality whose food you like, and then select some of your favourite meals from the options. The idea is that the software will learn your preferences and suggest new things you’re likely to enjoy.
If you know me, you’ll know that while I love good food, cooking is definitely is not a priority in my life. I can think of pretty much anything on earth I’d rather be doing than standing over a stove (thankfully my husband seems to be more interested in the kitchen than I am, but I still usually need to do some sort of cooking once a day).
So, Tuesday afternoon, in an effort to spice up my cooking routine, I decided to sign up for Lighter.
Filling out your profile
When you first sign up, they ask you a lot of questions, like what your appetite is like (mine is medium-large), along with the portion sizes for the rest of your family (my kids have small-invisible appetites, and my husband’s is like mine).
They also ask about food sensitivities and allergies (one of my kids has a food allergy, and I really appreciate when people think about this) and any other restrictions, such as gluten sensitivity.
Also important, they ask how much time you are willing to devote to cooking. I am seriously lazy, so I was a little nervous I wouldn’t be able to find any recipes. I don’t want to spend more than 10 minutes on breakfast and lunch and 30 minutes on dinner. Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to be a problem and they found me plenty of options.
Lighter also asks about your kitchen equipment, which is clever, because if you don’t have a blender you’ll likely get annoyed by piles or recipes for creamed soups and smoothies.
The extra benefits
Lighter doesn’t just help you to create grocery lists and meal plans. It connects you to your favourite plant-based and vegan gurus, which is pretty cool. You can choose between a variety of athletes, physicians, nutritionists, chefs and other popular vegan foodies. I’m mostly following chefs for now.
My friends and I are constantly discussing how much we’d love to have an option like Blue Apron (but vegetarian or vegan) in Calgary. I love the idea of having all my ingredients pre-prepared, but I think I’m going to try to follow Lighter’s meal plans for a few days and see how it goes. At the very least, my family will get to try some great new recipes!
Unfortunately, Lighter is free for now, but you’ll have to buy a membership if you want to keep using it after June 1st. For now I think it’s worth giving it a spin!