Parents of George Washington University (GWU) students were worried. Their kids were often dining on fast food, because they had little time to cook and no access to a kitchen. That’s when Shana Greenbaum saw an opening. The young fitness expert began her food delivery business, Healthy Fresh Meals, with those college students in mind. Three years later, the demand for Healthy Fresh Meals has increased dramatically, and her prepared meals are an option on GWU Campus dining card.
Formerly a competitive ice skater, Greenbaum knew nourishing food was critical to well-being and performance, but she also knew many people have no idea how to prepare such meals themselves. At first, her friends and family were the ones promoting her nutritious ready-to-eat dinners. “Then it took off,” explains Greenbaum. “Everyone loved it. We grew very fast, and in months, I had hundreds of meal orders. Even players and their families from DC United and the Ravens wanted regular deliveries,” says Greenbaum.
Healthy Fresh Meals is not a food-preparation delivery service like Blue Apron. The meals are delivered to your door ready to heat in the microwave. Each contains a well-portioned protein, complex carbohydrate and vegetables. The dishes aren’t exotic, but they are modern. Her recipes include chicken kabobs, bison lasagna, Swedish meatballs, blackened salmon and turkey burgers. I ate a few when I had the flu, and they made my life so much better. “We use all clean ingredients, such as oatmeal flower rather than breadcrumbs, and agave rather than processed sugars,” notes Greenbaum.
The meal options at Healthy Fresh Meals change weekly, and you can select from the “clean menu” with meals containing 500 calories or less; low carb or dishes high in protein; or custom meals designed around the recipient’s needs. “For example, in our fajitas, we use fewer oils, fresh vegetables and brown rice. It’s basic food that tastes really good. We make it easy to control the portions, and we cater to people who have dietary restrictions such as gluten or dairy free.”
I first met Greenbaum at the Metro Cooking Show in 2017. She was one of the featured vendors in the “Made in DC” section. Surrounded by an array of thoroughly delicious tasting opportunities, I had a few bites of Greenbaum’s turkey chili and was hooked. Other local food producers, such as Nutrition Synergies by Nadine and Capital City Mambo Sauce, offered samples of their signature products. Nadine sold her scrumptious sweet and savory mini-pies, while the Maryland-based maker of Washington DC’s official “wing sauce,” encouraged visitors to taste their Mambo sauce in hot, medium and mild.
Another standout was Sasya, a company selling Indian dips, sauces and snacks. Founder Krishna Matturi missed the taste of his homeland so much that he started making Sasya Products in DC’s Union Kitchen. Union Kitchen is an “accelerator,” or food laboratory, designed to support budding entrepreneurs in the cooking business. Sasya makes gluten-free vegan chips and dips with distinctive Indian flavors like Mango Lentil and Peanut Coconut. You can purchase Sasya products at Whole Foods.
Also prepared at Union Kitchen, Capital Candy Jar was founded by Dave Burton, a DC resident who makes his acclaimed confections in small batches. These irresistible candies and chocolates are sold in local hotel gift shops and boutiques, and you can order them online. Burton will customize creations for special events like weddings and parties. Find Capital Candy Jar sweets at LoKL Gourmet in McLean, Vienna, and the Local Market in Falls Church.
Another Made In DC vendor that impressed was Stephanie Williams. The home cook always made her “scratch meals” using natural ingredients. She experimented with recipes until she created Oh-Mazing Granola and Snacks, and her products are nut and wheat free. As a granola connoisseur, I can attest to Williams’ outstanding Oatmeal Raison version sold at Whole Foods.
Right in Tysons Corner Center, next to the Apple Store, check out Jinsei Juices & Tonics. The cold pressed organic juices are extremely popular with athletes, but regular folks will love them too. Jinsei offers a detox program as well as a collection of juices known to increase hydration and boost immunity. “Cold pressed” means the juices are extracted from fruits and vegetables using pressure which retains their nutrient value for up to seven days. Jinsei Tonics contain detoxifying ingredients like kale, ginger and carrot and other superfoods. I tried them all at the show, and each tasted distinctively flavorful.
Also at the Cooking Show are local celebrity chefs like Jose Andres and Vikram Sunderam. Both James Beard Award winners demonstrated cooking techniques you can try at home. Enjoy watching them while you sample Virginia wines and beers from the Shenandoah Valley.
We all understand the benefits of buying produce and meats locally, but this goes beyond grocery stores and farmers markets. You can support small businesses in our community by buying products made locally. These producers are meeting the needs of a wide range of people, like seniors and busy families. “Today, many adult children order Healthy Fresh Meals for their elderly parents. People with cancer and other medical issues are finding these meals an easier way to eat nutritiously without having to shop,” says Greenbaum.
Next time you’re shopping, look for products made closer to home. To sample from dozens of local vendors, breweries, vineyards and restaurants, check out the Metro Cooking Show scheduled for December 1-2, 2018 at the Washington Convention Center.
Healthy Fresh Meals
Capital City Mambo Sauce
Capital Candy Jar
Jinsei Juices & Tonics
Closed July 2, 2018
MetroCooking DC 2018
December 1-2, 2018
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mount Vernon Place
NW Washington, DC 20001