By Kelly Oden
Eating healthy in the hustle and bustle of today’s overly busy lifestyle can be a difficult path to navigate. Spending an entire Sunday prepping food for the upcoming week is just not feasible or desirable for many people. Plus, the chaos of the global coronavirus pandemic has left many grocery shelves empty or lacking many essentials. Enter local meal prep companies—locally made meals using fresh, whole-food ingredients. All the customer has to do is heat and eat. Two local companies are leading the charge in offering fully prepared, healthy meals to the Pensacola community. Primal Nosh and Healthy Coast Meals offer grab and go options as well as meal subscription plans.
Dianne Hatke became interested in health and fitness in graduate school. Her curiosity led her on a lifelong adventure with health and nutrition. After she finished graduate school, Hatke used her meal prepping skills to start a small business while looking for work in her chosen field of psychology. She began small, making meals for the clients at the gym her husband’s gym. She started a sign up sheet and delivered meals weekly to members. Originally working in her own kitchen, Hatke eventually shared a space with Pensacola Cooks and now operates her own kitchen and retail space on Barrancas Avenue.
Hatke’s head chef Chase Gilroy and his team receive and prep food on Thursdays, Keto meals are prepared on Friday and Primal and Classic Clean meals are cooked on Saturdays. Deliveries are made on Sundays and grab-and-go specials are prepared on Mondays.
Primal Nosh’s services can mitigate the expense as well as the time and effort involved in healthy cooking while supporting local businesses and farmers.
“A lot of what we make requires ingredients with fewer additives and preservatives,” Hatke said. “There are a lot of ingredients that can become expensive for the home cook. We use all fresh ingredients. We purchase organic when we can. We order our meat from the Butcher Shoppe, so it is all hormone and antibiotic free, high quality meat. We get our seafood from Maria’s and we get our produce from Florabama Farms. Most of Florabama’s produce comes from regional farms and many of them do use organic practices although they are not certified organic.”
Primal Nosh offers grab and go meals as well as a variety of meal plans and dietary themes, including keto, primal, classic clean and vegan. Meals are available with a plan or a la cart. Meals last an average of five to seven days after delivery in the refrigerator and up to four weeks in the freezer. Meals average between $10 and $12 depending on type and size. All meals come with full nutritional information and heating instructions.
Meal examples include Primal Slap Yo Mama Chicken, Primal Korean Beef Bowl, Keto Asian Slaw and Chicken Thighs, Keto Zoodle Alfredo, Classic Clean Sweet and Spicy beef and more.
Visit Primal Nosh at 3810 Barrancas Avenue, order online at primalnosh.com or call 850-361-1215 for more information.
Growing up in New Orleans, Ashley Cole always had a penchant for healthy eating. But it wasn’t until she was in college and diagnosed with Crohn’s disease that she began to fully understand the power of a healthy lifestyle. She quickly learned that her diet was key to controlling the symptoms of her disease. At the same time, Cole did some testing for food intolerances and learned that she was also gluten intolerant. Cole changed her entire way of eating by cooking all of her meals from scratch using whole foods and eliminating processed options. The change worked–she began to feel much better and got back to her fitness regimen, eventually entering fitness competitions.
She became an expert meal prepper and enjoyed coming up with tasty variations on her recipes. Friends began asking her to meal prep for them as well. In 2016, she moved to Fort Walton with her husband, Ross, and began planning a new business. Thus, Healthy Coast meals was born. Initially, the couple rented a small commercial kitchen space from an existing restaurant. The business took off and the couple realized that they needed more space. They rented a larger kitchen space and ramped up production. While they originally sold via Facebook, they later added a webpage for online ordering and due to customer demand, they added a small grab and go kiosk at their facility.
Now Healthy Coast Meals offers grab and go Meals at ## locations–Fort Walton, Crestview and a storefront in the Southtowne apartment complex in Downtown Pensacola. They are also in the process of opening a fourth location in Destin. They also offer meal subscription plans with pickup and delivery options.
Rather than offering diet plan specific meals, the company really focuses on whole food–fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meat and whole grains. “Everything we do starts from a raw, whole ingredient. We don’t use anything pre-made or processed,” said Cole. “Our chicken is raw chicken breast that we order and it is cooked fresh on our grills and in our ovens. We are big on whole, fresh foods. We’ve seen other meal prep companies that use precooked ingredients that they just weigh out and put in a container. We think that if you are interested in eating healthy like this, you want to know what you are eating, so all of our ingredients are listed and we cook everything from scratch. We also don’t use anything containing gluten in our kitchen. All of our meals are made with gluten free ingredients. We are not a certified gluten-free kitchen, but we are very careful about it. We do our homework and take every precaution.”
Customers have the option to customize meals to make them low carb or to add more protein. Healthy Coast will also be offering vegetarian options beginning in April.
Meal examples include the Buffalo Chicken Meal, the Burrito Bowl, the Baked Salmon Meal and the Steak Meal.
Visit Healthy Coast Meals in the Southowne Apartments at 100 South Jefferson St, Suite J, order online at healthycoastmeals.com or call 850-496-0135 for more information.
As of our print date of April 1, both Primal Nosh and Healthy Coast Meals remained open continued to offer premade meals.