Plant-Based Meal Delivery Service Seeks to Help Busy People Eat Better
One of the things I hear most from people when explaining my wellness consulting services is that they feel their busy schedule is a roadblock to eating healthier. While I’m of the opinion that you’re never too busy to eat right and take care of yourself, making major dietary changes in the middle of a crazy schedule can indeed seem daunting.
What to do? A new company, Fresh ‘N Lean, is working to answer that question with their unique plant-based meal delivery service. They offer a full menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner options that can be purchased as weekly packages or “a la carte.” This allows people to enjoy a predetermined menu of plant-based dishes without having to shop or plan, or to create their own menus with just a few simple clicks.
To learn more about how Fresh ‘N Lean came to be, I held an email interview with Laureen A., one of the company’s owners.
Q&A with Laureen A, one of the owners of Fresh ‘N Lean
My dad went to see a doctor a few years ago in February because he was overweight and he was super unhealthy. The doctor told him that if he didn’t change the way he was eating, then he would die, which freaked my dad out. On that very day he decided to become a vegan.
In October of that same year he lost around 75 lbs and was healthier than he ever was according to that same doctor that he saw in February. Based on that experience, he started to prepare meals for his friends and neighbors. The friends and neighbors enjoyed the freshly prepared healthy meals and said if there was a meal service that offered these meals, they would definitely order. The demand grew so much that I decided that I wanted to help provide healthy meals to everyone that I could and start my own business.
Explain a little bit about how the service works.
We provide freshly cooked meals and deliver them to your office or home once a week. We have different meal options to cater to different needs such as a standard meal plan which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 5 or 7 days a week to an A La Carte option where you can pick and choose which dishes you would like to get. Our menu rotates weekly so our customers are always looking forward to what we are cooking next! The reason we do this is to provide the freshest seasonal vegetables for everyone.
How do you hope this service will help people?
At Fresh n’ Lean we are making it as easy as possible to eat healthy. We prepare the meals and ship nationwide so you don’t need to know how to cook, you don’t need to worry about grocery shopping, and you don’t need to figure out what is a healthy choice.
This service helps individuals who want to eat healthy, plant-based diets but don’t have the time to cook meals. All of our meals are prepared fresh with premium organic ingredients and our food is never fried. The dishes are always high in fiber, rich in nutrients, rich in anti-oxidants, gluten-free, GMO-free, low fat, low sodium, and low in sugar.
Our meals are great for people who are looking to shed some weight and who have type 2 diabetes or people who generally want to eat healthier and have more energy.
We focus on the ingredients, we do not believe in counting calories, what’s most important is what a product is made out of. Just because it’s “low calorie” doesn’t mean it’s made out of nutrient-dense, clean ingredients. (QV note: Too true! Just check out the ingredients on some low-fat, low-calorie “diet products” found in stores!)
How does this relate to how Fresh ‘N Lean operates?
We focus heavily on ingredients and do not believe in compromising and cutting corners when it comes to preparing our meals.
What are you goals for Fresh ‘N Lean’s future?
To feed as many people as we can and make them discover the gigantic benefit of health and lifestyle of a plant-based diet. To make it more accessible, convenient, for everyone out there. No more excuses not to eat healthy!
As you can see, though there are other meal planning and food delivery services out there, Fresh ‘N Lean is unique in a few ways: their meals are entirely plant-based, they focus on quality organic ingredients and everything comes conveniently prepared. All you have to do is grab a meal out of the freezer, heat it and enjoy.
Most of the offerings from Fresh ‘N Lean do contain small amounts of oil. For that reason, I was only able to try a few of their breakfast products. Not that this was a problem! Among their breakfast offerings are Hearty Granola, Mixed Berry Chia Pudding, and Cinnamon Date Oatmeal.
The food from Fresh ‘N Lean arrived in an insulated box complete with ice packs to keep the frozen dishes cold. Each was individually packed in a tray with a plastic cover sporting a label listing ingredients and nutrition facts. Everything was well-sealed and stamped with a “best consumed by” date.
I started off with the Hearty Granola. I’m a fan of mixing granola in with vegan yogurt as a post-workout snack after lifting, so that’s what I decided to do. (Fresh ‘N Lean’s suggestion of serving it with almond milk and fruit is a good one, too!)
It certainly smelled hearty when I opened the package, but my taste buds got a huge surprise when I crunched through a spoonful. Despite being combined with unsweetened yogurt, this granola was intensely sweet, almost like a boxed breakfast cereal. Aside from that sweetness and the nutty flavor of the whole almonds that are studded throughout the mix, it didn’t have much flavor of its own. I think it would be better with a bit of cinnamon, or used in baking rather than for eating. I can easily see it as a topping for muffins or mixed into cookies.
I have to say, though, that I’m not the best judge of sweetness. I don’t put sweetener in oatmeal, I cut down the sugar in just about everything I cook or bake and medjool dates can set my teeth on edge if they’re sweet enough. To someone more used to actual sweetened breakfast cereal, this granola would probably be a step or two down and taste much more earthy. I do like the fact that it has whole nuts in it-they give it a nice extra crunch! Also, the second time I ate it, I found that the explosion of sweet toned down a bit.
Next up was the chia pudding. Never having had success with making my own, I was interested to see what it was like. To serve it chilled, I thawed it out the previous day and cooked up some chickpea scramble to enjoy as an accompaniment. I also added a sprinkle of cinnamon, since I like the way that tastes with berries!
Turns out that, while I’m not a fan of the texture of chia pudding, this breakfast dish was pleasant and not too sweet. It had an intense berry flavor that I enjoyed, and there were even bits of berries here and there. This is another thing that would taste good mixed with some vegan yogurt or swirled into oatmeal.
Speaking of, I took the Cinnamon Date Oatmeal with me this weekend when I went to Northampton, MA to wander around Valley Vegfest with other area vegans (and eat vegan soft serve!). That’s another great thing about Fresh ‘N Lean: their meals are easy to take with you if you’re in a hurry or going out of town, giving people an easy way to eat plant-based no matter where they are.
I have to say that the oatmeal didn’t look very appetizing when I took it out of the container. (Fresh ‘N Lean recommends microwaving their hot foods in the tray, but I’m wary of both microwaves and heating anything in plastic.) It came out as one solid mass, which I attempted to heat up with hot water from my hotel room’s coffee pot. That didn’t work very well (silly me for ignoring the instructions!) so I did wind up taking it down to the hotel lobby to microwave it, after which it softened up and became more like the oatmeal I make at home.
The flavor was very good! Just sweet enough with big crunchy pieces of walnuts and a creamy texture from the included almond milk. In some ways, it reminded me of the oatmeal I had at Vegetarian Summerfest last year. This was definitely my favorite of the bunch. I enjoyed it with an apple and some tea, and it’s something I would eat again if I needed a quick breakfast when I was out of town.
I did have a couple of difficulties with the granola and pudding. The first was that the chia pudding was mislabeled with incorrect nutrition facts; the label seemed to have gotten mixed up with one of the dinner entrees. Second, both the granola and the pudding contained different amounts of food than what was listed on the label and the website. The pudding had a bit more while the granola had significantly less. Given that I weigh just about everything I eat to make sure I get enough calories, this didn’t matter much in the long run. However, for those who are trying to watch their caloric intake in either direction, accurate labels are very helpful. I’m sure the service will get this ironed out as they become more established.
All in all, I think it’s awesome that plant-based eaters and anyone who needs a convenient way to eat healthy can now have a resource where they can get tasty, nutritious food delivered right to their doors. I can see Fresh ‘N Lean being a big help for busy people making the switch to a plant-based diet as well as a helpful place to turn when life gets so crazy you have no idea how you’re going to plan a week of meals, let alone cook them. It’s also something that could benefit those with limited mobility who need healthy meals but can’t always get out to shop or have trouble cooking for themselves.
As Fresh ‘N Lean grows, I’d love to see some more oil-free options on their menu. They’ve already made an amazing start by offering completely organic foods, using gluten-free ingredients to accommodate those with sensitivities and providing a diverse menu of plant-based meals. To see a full list of what Fresh ‘N Lean has available, check out their website!
If you want to get a taste of the selection for yourself, Fresh ‘N Lean is offering one lucky QV reader their choice of 5 entrees plus a package of granola! Entrees are chosen by Fresh ‘N Lean according to their current menu.
There are five ways to enter this giveaway:
- Leave a comment on this post saying how Fresh ‘N Lean’s service would make plant-based eating easier for you or someone you know
- Like Fresh ‘N Lean on Facebook and leave a comment here saying you did
- Follow @freshnlean on Twitter and comment to let me know you did
- Like Quantum Vegan on Facebook (with a comment as above)
- Follow @quantumvegan on Twitter (with a comment as above)
Entries will be collected until Monday, April 6th, Friday, April 10th (because I completely forgot that the 4th & 5th was a holiday weekend!) after which one winner will be chosen using RANDOM.org. (US entries only, please!) So chime in with your comments, and good luck!
Giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered!