Eating healthy foods on a consistent basis is something that millions of Americans struggle with daily. A poor diet can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stoke. According to the CDC obesity affects certain ethnic groups more than others. African-Americans have the highest rate of obesity at 47.8% and many experts attribute that high percentage to a poor diet and a lack of adequate exercise.
In 2015 – the American College of Sports Medicine ranked Louisville, KY the 46th healthiest city out of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. According to Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear the Commonwealth of Kentucky ranks 42nd in obesity and 46th in physical inactivity amongst the 50 states. A shocking 31.3% of adults in Kentucky are obese.
Recognizing the alarming rate of obesity in Louisville, 29 year-old Marcus Childs created a meal prep company called Healthy Eating which prepares prepackaged healthy meals and delivers them to businesses and residents. The meals are prepared with fresh lean meats, friuts & vegetables and can be heated in a microwave if desired.
“BASICALLY WE DO LEAN MEATS, FRESH FRUITS, HEALTHY GRAINS, AND HEALTHY STARCHES IN INDIVIDUALLY SEALED AIR TIGHT CONTAINERS. WE HAVE DIFFERENT PACKAGES – THEY CAN RANGE FROM 5 MEALS TO 28 MEALS PER WEEK. WE GUARANTEE A SEVEN DAY SHELF LIFE AND THE MEALS COME PREPARED AND PRECOOKED. RIGHT NOW WE HAVE LUNCH AND DINNER BUT WE WILL DOING BREAKFAST IN A COUPLE OF MONTHS.” – MARCUS CHILDS
Customers can custom order their meals via À la carte by choosing from the menu items listed on the Healthy Eating website. There are a wide variety of items to choose from and the main dishes range from shrimp scampi and seared salmon to a sirloin burger and jerk chicken. Nutritional facts and the calorie content of each menu item are listed on the website to assist customers with incorporating these meals into any diet programs/plans they may be participating in.
Childs created Healthy Eating in 2013, beginning with only a few clients – averaging 50 meals per week. He now averages 150 meals per day and is often frequented by local police officers, fire fighters and the athletic departments from local colleges and universities. Healthy Eating has become the preferred choice for local professionals who desire healthy meals but lack the time required for preparation.
“OUR SMALLEST PACKAGE IS 5 MEALS WHICH IS $39.99. ALL THE MEALS COME AT ONE TIME SO OUR CLIENT’S MEALS ARE BASICALLY PLANNED OUT FOR THE WEEK. MANY PEOPLE ORDER A 5 MEAL PACKAGE FOR THEIR WEEKLY LUNCH AT WORK. CLIENTS CAN ORDER A 10 MEAL PACKAGE OR A 14 MEAL PACKAGE WHICH IS TWO MEALS PER DAY – EACH WEEK. OUR 21 MEAL PACKAGE IS 3 MEALS PER DAY – 7 DAYS A WEEK. OUR 28 MEAL PACKAGE IS 4 MEALS PER DAY – 7 DAYS A WEEK.” – MARCUS CHILDS
How the service works is that customers log onto the website – custom design their meals – and place an order for the week. There is a five meal minimum required for purchase. The average price is about $5.99 per meal.
All meals are then cooked with fresh meats, fruits and vegetables and placed in air tight containers. The meals can be refrigerated at home or work and reheated as needed. Customers have an option for delivery or pickup. Healthy Eating delivers throughout the entire metro-Louisville area including Southern Indiana. All delivery orders are subject to a $15 delivery fee.
Healthy Eating also serves made-to-order meals at its restaurant – located at 332 W. Broadway Street – inside the Heyburn Building. The restaurant’s menu items are slightly different from the online meal-prep menu and meals average about $7 each. Customers can order a single meal or multiple meals (ready to eat) from the restaurant location. The company prides itself on only using fresh food items so it receives fresh produce from local vendors daily.
Marcus Childs is a native of the Cleveland Ohio area who was recruited by Sullivan University in Louisville after excelling in his high school’s culinary arts program. He received an associate degree in Hotel Restaurant Management/Culinary from Sullivan and started a catering company called Cater4You in 2011. A random request from one of his catering clients is what provided the spark to create Healthy Eating.
“WHEN I STARTED CATER4YOU- I HAD A CLIENT WHO WAS A BACHELOR WHO OWNED HIS OWN BUSINESS. HE AND HIS DAUGHTER LIVED IN A MINI MANSION. THE ONLY PROBLEM HE HAD WAS THAT HE DIDN’T COOK – SO HE CONTACTED ME AND ASKED HOW MUCH I WOULD CHARGE TO PREPARE HIS MEALS FOR HIM 7 DAYS A WEEK AND JUST DELIVER THEM TO HIS HOUSE.
HE WAS A VERY SIMPLE GUY. ALL HE WANTED WAS SALMON, SIRLOIN STEAK AND VEGETABLES. I TOLD MY TRAINER AT THE GYM ABOUT THE HEALTHY MEALS I WAS PREPARING FOR THIS CLIENT AND HE STARTED ORDERING MEALS AS WELL. AFTER THAT – THE OWNER SIGNED UP – A COUPLE OF OTHER TRAINERS SIGNED UP – SOME CLIENTS SIGNED UP – SO WITHIN MONTHS IT STARTED TAKING OFF.” – MARCUS CHILDS
Healthy Meals insists on preparing its food to ensure that customers are receiving the highest nutritional value from each item. One of the ways of providing that services is by “blanching” their vegetables.
“THE WAY WE DO THINGS HERE IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT – FOR EXAMPLE – WE BLANCH OUR VEGETABLES. IT’S BASICALLY A QUICK COOKING METHOD THAT WE DO. WE COOK OUR VEGETABLES FOR ABOUT 15-20 SECONDS IN A POT OF BOILING WATER – TAKE THEM OUT AND SEASON THEM – THEN SERVE THEM. THE LESS YOU COOK VEGETABLES – THE MORE NUTRIENTS AND VITAMINS REMAIN. A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE USED TO COOKING VEGETABLES UNTIL THEY ARE SOGGY AND FALLING APART. WHEN YOU DO THAT THERE REALLY ISN’T MUCH NUTRITIONAL VALUE LEFT IN THE VEGETABLE AT ALL.” – MARCUS CHILDS