Healthy meal delivery options sprouting in New Orleans
It wasn’t too long ago that the healthiest options New Orleanians had for food delivery was to order pineapple on their pizzas or to request "no MSG."
But recently, local outfits like The Fit Gourmet of New Orleans (www.fitgourmetofneworleans.com) and Your Nutrition Delivered (www.yournutritiondelievered.com) have made delivery compatible with healthy living and losing weight.
“The way that we’re doing our food, and the whole school of nutrition that I’m certified through and that I came through, is based on blood sugar stabilization,” said Erik Frank, lead nutrition coach for Your Nutrition Delivered. “It’s all designed so that your body doesn’t store any of your excess calories … you eat enough food so that you’re going to burn all those calories off before your next meal, and then you eat the same small-sized meal.”
Scientifically, Frank said that translates into dishes that are 40 percent protein, 30 percent fat and 30 percent carbohydrates in sub-400 calorie servings. Gastronomically, that means meals like basil chicken parmesan with grilled vegetables or red pepper whitefish with asparagus and bowtie pasta, among other options in their evolving menu.
The selections are prepared by Executive Chef Jason Ameen, a veteran of several of New Orleans’ best restaurants, including Muriel’s and Palace Café.
The principles of blood sugar stabilization are important for diabetics and pre-diabetics, but also for business people, said Frank.
“Our food gives you energy,” he said, as opposed to the typical business lunch. “You eat an appetizer, you eat a salad, you eat a big entrée, you drink four glasses of sweet tea, and the effect is a lot of energy for about an hour and a half, and then at 2 or 3 you crash because your blood sugar levels have spiked and now they’ve fallen, and so you start craving sugar and craving caffeine.
“Our food gives you stable energy that lasts about two and a half, three hours, and then you eat again and you never have that big insulin spike in your blood.”
Your Nutrition Delivered grew out of Frank’s corporate wellness company, in which he’d put together wellness programs for different companies around town looking to get their employees healthier and therefore saving on insurance premiums.
Part of those programs often included having clients keep a food diary. “Through that, I started to realize how difficult it was for people to lose weight when they’re eating out so much and eating so much restaurant food,” Frank said.
So he and Ameen started working with a small group of clients for whom Frank would design the meals and Ameen would cook. “A bunch of people lost a lot of weight, so more and more people started wanting us to do food for them.”
It soon became clear a more commercial-sized kitchen would be needed than the one in Ameen’s home, which led to a unique partnership with the Boys Town campus in the French Quarter. The facility used to house about 70 at-risk and homeless boys and boys from broken homes. However, the proximity to the French Quarter was leading many of them into trouble, so they were moved to one of the other Boys Town homes in the area.
“Instead of charging us rent, we donate a portion of each meal that we sell to help Boys Town,” Frank said. “So we’re a profit and a nonprofit teaming up together.”
While the company’s target market currently consists of business professionals and busy families, Frank said they are looking to get into food for people who have had gastric bypass surgeries. “After you have a gastric bypass, the food you eat is very, very restricted. Your stomach is only the size of an egg, so the food that you eat has to be liquefied, but you still have to have the right amount of fats, proteins and carbs. Nobody does food for those people right now, so we’d like to be able to team up with a bariatric surgeon to come up with food specialized for people after they have surgery and be able to ship all over the country.
We’ll need a bigger location,” Frank added, “but that’s where we’d like to go with it.”
Writer and filmmaker Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans people, places and events for NolaVie.
Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.