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“There’s an image that this group didn’t know which end of a pan to pick up. That’s not true. They shop a lot, they cook as much as their parents did and they entertain with food. They’re the foodies.”
— Jon Miller, professor, University of Michigan
How to Lose Weight but Eat Well
It wasn’t too long ago that anyone trying to lose weight had limited choices. They could read labels on packages and count calories themselves, or join a program that provided portion-controlled frozen meals for a set price.
Luckily for consumers, new alternatives have emerged, and they are much tastier and accessible than before. Some are coming straight out of supermarkets, where in-store dietitians conduct classes and even create a weekly package of three meals and two snacks using products pulled directly from store shelves.
Such is the case at Hy-Vee, the West Des Moines, Iowa-based chain that employs nearly 200 dietitians. Kristen Decker, the nutritionist for a Hy-Vee unit in Davenport, Iowa, recently related how the meals have become the centerpiece of the Fast! Fit! Food! program.
“The meals are the one thing that’s really taken off as the program has continued,” she said. “There’s really a need for this service.”
The menus are written out and evaluated for nutrition and calorie count before the dietitians circle the store, placing selected products into tote bags that are then put aside for customer pick-up.
“We count the calories, so they don’t even need to think about calorie intake,” said Decker.
Elsewhere, entrepreneurs are at work. Lucinda Duncalfe founded Real Food Works last May, and plans to deliver healthful meals to subscribers in Philadelphia, and soon, New York.
“It’s super-delicious food, it’s genuinely healthy, and it’s as convenient as it can get because it’s delivered to your door,” she said.
Duncalfe, who has a background in internet start-ups, saw the potential of the home delivery model after realizing there were no really solid, reliable food choices for active businesspeople.
“I thought, where is great food made?”
Duncalfe found her answer in restaurants. Real Food Works contracts with local chefs based on their menu and profile, and then works with them to build various dishes that are analyzed for nutritional content. The arrangement is ideal for the restaurants since all production is done on days when the kitchen is typically closed, such as Monday.
Real Food Works’ intended customers are people who want to eat healthy, but need a more convenient and reliable way to do it, or who are interested in transformation.
“It’s not that people were going to cook that night and decided to get Real Food instead, it’s that they’re too busy and they were going to stop and pick up Chinese,” said Duncalfe.