A few month’s ago, I heard about a new vendor at one of the Winter Farmer’s Markets. The vendor was “selling baskets of prepared ingredients for a recipe, at $25 a basket.” Hmm…The inner chef in me thought, well isn’t this an odd concept, I don’t really get it.
Fast forward a couple of months. Healthy Habits Kitchen reaches out to me to see if I would be interested in coming in to learn more about the business. My quick answer – Absolutely! I was definitely curious about the concept.
Over the next couple of days I thought a lot about why some one would be interested in purchasing your ingredients already prepped. I came up with more answers than I expected to…
- You are busy and don’t have as much time to spend on shopping, preparing and cooking meals, but still want to cook for your family
- You want some one to make your weekly menu a little more creative
- You don’t really know how to cook, but still want people to THINK you know how to cook!
After considering all of these ideas, I decided to go into Healthy Habits with a completely different mindset, one of a person who does NOT spend half their life in the kitchen.
When I met the owner, Sue, she greeted me with open arms and was ready to answer anything and everything I had questions about. The other thing she did was remind me that one of the main goals of Healthy Habits was to provide nutritional, healthy meals to families on the go. Now it all started to click for me.
Sue has nutritionists on staff who evaluate each and every meal during the recipe creation portion of the process. They breakdown the recipe and work with Sue to alter the ingredients to make sure it is as well-balanced as possible. This means that every dinner you receive has the full nutritional content right on the container! No guessing at how many calories or how much fat you are eating. This instantly added a new consumer to my mental checklist of people who would benefit from this concept…Weight Watchers followers, healthy eaters, anyone calorie counting or trying to live healthier.
You have to admire Sue. Coming from a corporate background, she found herself in search of a new path in life after being a casualty to the economic downturn at its beginning in 2008. After working with a career coach, Sue knew she wanted to start her own business, and Healthy Habits Kitchen was born. In order to make sure she would be successful, Sue conducted many interviews with the owners of franchises such as Dream Dinners and others. What I found the most interesting was that the year Healthy Habits opened, 3 dinner-assembly franchises closed! This was a great opportunity for Sue, as she was able to interview each of the evaporating businesses and learn from the hardships they encountered.
Location, location, location. Sue is not blind to the fact that her business will do better with a certain upper socio-economic class. She knows that ordering dinner in this form, at this price point, is not for everyone. So she did something very smart, and opened in Wellesley, MA where there are more than enough residences, and it doesn’t seem that too many people are feeling the recession. However, learning from her competitors mistakes, she also knew she had to find an affordable home for her kitchen. She found the perfect spot in an office park right of Washington. The only fall back is that it can be a little hard to spot. But never fear, they give fabulous directions!
There are 2 things that happen if you are coming to Healthy Habits Kitchen. 1) You are simply picking up the meal(s) you ordered or 2) You are arriving to enjoy a fun party! Parties can be anything from a fundraiser to a girls’ night out. Healthy Habits has a lounge-type room, wine glasses, and will even provide snacks for the get-together. After some gabbing and relaxing, party attendees hit the kitchen to assemble their own dinner kit. You get a night out AND you go home with a future dinner! Healthy Kitchen even throws their own parties with themes. You may come and learn from a nutritionist, or about wine parings, or even about prenatal eating habits! Healthy Habits is constantly coming up with new events to keep you coming back.
But what about the food? You can view the menu (and even order) online. The menu changes monthly, and each menu item gets a 2 month run…so don’t get too attached to one entrée. You can pick-up (or have delivered) your meals either fresh or frozen. Don’t let frozen scare you, Sue does extensive testing on the freeze/defrost process and the effects it has on each recipe before it makes the menu! Small meals feed 2-3 people and cost $16.99 – $21. Large meals feed 4-6 people and range $24.99 – $30. It averages out to about $5 per serving…and if you think about the time expense of shopping and prepping ingredients, that ain’t half bad!
Sue was nice enough to offer me a meal to take home to get the full “Healthy Habits Kitchen Experience.” I chose the Fruited Curry Chicken in frozen form, since I had a busy week and didn’t know when I would get to cooking it.
It has now been 2 weeks since my visit with Sue, and I finally have a meal time when my Health Habits Kitchen meal would be a perfect fit! I decided to follow the instructions EXACTLY as printed, as if I don’t know about cooking…except for the dried fruit. I HAD to cut it into bite sized pieces, I couldn’t help myself. The instructions were good. My meal came out very nicely, and I thought “if I couldn’t cook, this would be a great way to fake it!”
The flavors of the meal were subtle, which I thought was good for a universal meal. Being an over-seasoner myself, this would allow me to add more curry or salt if I was so compelled (I wasn’t). I divided my meal into 3 servings in order to see if the prescribed nutritional information serving size would be a realistic meal. It was actually the perfect size. It filled me to contentness, not overstuffed-ness.
My final recommendation – I would absolutely recommend Healthy Habits Kitchen to my non-cooking friends, or even order some meals for a friend who is expecting, ill, or just plain stressed. I may even suggest checking out their menu monthly for inspiration for my own cooking menu!
Healthy Habits Kitchen is located at 36 Washington Street, Suite 2, Wellesley, MA. 02481. 781-235-6325. www.healthyhabitskitchen.com