If you ask us, eating healthy on a regular basis is one of those things that is just way more difficult than it should be. Grocery shopping, meal prep, cooking, clean-up ... Who has time to do that everyday? Certainly not us. But it’s 2021 and we’re ready to find a better way of doing things. With the smart home space exploding over the past few years, we had heard of a number of products aiming to help people enjoy healthier meals at home in a fraction of the time, so we decided to give a few of them a spin.
One of our editors tested out two popular smart ovens - Suvie and Tovala - to see which one really got her hot under the collar (in a good way). Here’s what she found:
Both Suvie and Tovala offer chef-created meal plans that are delivered to your door.
Both have a scan-to-cook feature with their meal plans - just scan a barcode that comes with the meal and it will be cooked at the proper time and temperature automatically.
Both offer a 100-day trial.
Both are WiFi connected and have an app from which you can control the oven.
Both can cook up to 4 meal portions at once.
Suvie has “cool-to-cook” technology that keeps food refrigerated until it’s ready to start cooking.
Suvie has multiple independent cooking zones so that all elements of your meal are cooked individually so that they’re ready at the same time; Tovala has a single chamber.
Tovala offers scan-to-cook technology with many popular grocery items in addition to their own meal plan.
Suvie offers 15 cooking methods; Tovala offers 5.
Suvie has more recipes and options for cooking your own meals.
Suvie offers Rapid Cook meals, which can be cooked directly from frozen in as little as 25 minutes.
From the start, I was really impressed with Suvie’s customer service - I had a question about their 100-day trial and heard back almost immediately from their team. When ordering meals on their website, I had the option to filter by cuisine, protein, and even allergen. As someone with a peanut allergy, it was really helpful to use this filter and know that none of the recipes that were showing up had peanuts. I ordered the Sausage Cheddar Egg Bites, Miso Ginger Shrimp Grain Bowl, and BBQ Chicken Breast so that I could have a full day of meals using the Suvie. The night before our testing day, I put the egg bites in the Suvie and set them to be ready at 7:30am.
Walking into the kitchen in the morning to find a warm breakfast waiting for me was a really nice way to start the day. The egg bites were fluffy, cheesy, and surprisingly filling. Later in the day, after a few hours of Zoom calls and running some errands, I was ready for lunch. The shrimp bowl I ordered is one of Suvie’s Rapid Cook meals, meaning that I could throw it in the oven and it would go from frozen to fully cooked in 20 minutes. The shrimp were coated in a delicious ginger miso sauce and served over a bed of quinoa, edamame, shredded carrots and red bell peppers. It tasted great and left me feeling full, but not heavy. That day I didn’t experience my usual 4:00 pm crash where I am suddenly ravenous and will eat anything I can get my hands on..
Then came the final (and most challenging) test - dinner for me and my picky family. About 30 minutes before we sat down to eat, I put the BBQ chicken and potatoes au gratin in the Suvie, scanned the meal card, and it got to work. When the timer went off, all I had to do was throw some crispy shallots on top and we were set. The chicken was super tender and the BBQ saucy had just the right amount of tang, while the potatoes melted in my mouth. It even got rave reviews from my pickest child - “Pretty good. I’d eat it again.” Trust me, that’s a victory.
And then it came time to test out the Tovala. I ordered the Apple, Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Oatmeal, Bánh-Mì-Inspired Pork Meatballs, and the Chicken Parmesan. The morning of the test, I put the oatmeal in the oven and scanned the meal card. Fifteen minutes later, it was ready to go and I sprinkled the dried cherries & sliced almonds on top. The texture and taste were good and it was a nice recipe for a chilly morning. I did find myself wishing it had been ready and waiting for me when I woke up though.
For lunch I tried the Bánh-Mì-Inspired Pork Meatballs, which consisted of 4 meatballs, arugula salad, pickled carrots, panko, and cilantro lime dressing. The meatballs took less than 20 minutes to cook, and they were tasty, but the arugula was a bit wilted, so I looked sort of sad on the plate.
When it came time for dinner, I expected the Chicken Parmesan to be a crowd pleaser. The chicken, marinara sauce and Italian cheese blend were baked together, while the green beans were roasted in a separate tray. They were cut into smaller pieces and sort of reminded me of the green beans that come in a can, which I didn’t love. After roasting them, I drizzled them with the “Italian salsa verde” that came with the meal and served dinner. The chicken was nicely done and the meal was fine. No complaints, but no rave reviews.
Note: Since the point of testing out these smart ovens was to see if they would help me cook healthier meals on a regular basis, I didn’t try out the scan-to-cook feature using common grocery brands because, well, many of them didn’t look very healthy. (However, if your focus is on convenience, I see how this feature could really come in handy.)
Both Suvie and Tovala offer really convenient ways to cook healthy meals at home. Their meal plans take away the hassle of grocery shopping and prepping, and allow you to choose from a wide variety of easy-to-make meals. However, I found that I really liked the ability to schedule my meals in advance with Suvie and my family and I liked their recipes better. And from a purely aesthetic perspective, I prefer the design of the Suvie and the fact that it takes up less counter space. We’ll be sticking with Suvie and are looking forward to our next meal delivery.
Special Offer With Our Readers: Get Suvie for as low as $33 a month when you purchase today.