There are lots of cookbooks for easy recipes. The fewer ingredients and steps while retaining the flavor, the better! But what if the ingredients in the recipe were already fully prepped so that you could skip the washing, chopping, and trimming and get right to the fun part: cooking! That concept is exactly what Healthy Habits Kitchen in Wellesley offers. Sue Schochet, a former executive in corporate America, started this unique "meal assembly" business in 2007. She had always enjoyed healthful cooking, but like most working folks, didn't have time to cook every day. Which meant a lot of fast food or takeout prepared foods from the supermarket. She found that even healthful-looking takeout meals weren't always what they appeared. She left the corporate world with a mission to help busy people improve their diets and get more hands-on with their food.
Healthy Habits Kitchen gives you a jump-start by providing:
- A meal "kit" based on a healthful recipe, tested and tweaked by Sue
- The freshest meats, vegetables, grains and sauces—all preportioned and packaged
- Nutritional breakdown per serving for calories, fat, protein and sodium
- An analysis for overall nutritional balance by a registered dietitian
The packaged meals come refrigerated or frozen with cooking instructions. Most kits are ready in less than 20 minutes using the stovetop or oven (no microwaving allowed here!). They list accurate nutrition information and the average cost per serving ranges from $7.50 to $10.00. I base this on the "hearty portion" size (e.g., a small kit would contain two "hearty portions" as opposed to a "healthy portion," which would provide three servings per kit). I doubt the "healthy portion" would satisfy most appetites.
There are many things I applaud about this business. The prepped but raw food can help people who are intimidated by recipes but who desire to cook. The high quality ingredients and unfussy instructions can help build confidence in novices so that they might eventually crack open a cookbook. The ingredients lists are short and recognizable (no fillers and artificial stuff). Sue also keeps Healthy Habits Kitchen very community focused such as frequenting farmers markets to take advantage of locally grown produce; partnering with local charities like the Ellie Fund, which provides free meals and support services to women undergoing breast cancer treatment; and hosting periodic workshops by reputable speakers that empower people to live healthy lifestyles.
Of course, the most important factor of a food business is taste. I sampled two entrees: Fruited Curry Chicken, and the vegetarian Orzo with Garbanzo Beans, Lemon, Feta and Dill. After cooking, both emitted wonderful aromas but admittedly tasted slightly lacking; maybe it was the salt I longed for (and I rarely even cook with salt let alone add salt at the table) or a slight richness. I liked how the orzo dish was light but very nourishing and I felt quite full after eating it. It had a nice zing with the feta and lemon. I sneaked the salt shaker with the curry chicken but otherwise the flavors were comforting with big chunks of Bell & Evans chicken and the unexpected but perfect addition of apricots and prunes. My husband, who usually scowls at takeout labeled "healthy" even though he eats a good diet, described it as the type of food he'd cook for himself but not restaurant quality (keeping in mind that "restaurant quality" flavor is often enhanced with butter, cream, and lots of salt!). Overall this is a reasonably priced service for busy people who need that extra inspiration to eat and cook healthfully every day.
*Get $5.00 off a first purchase by using the promo code NUTRITION at check out!