By Wini Moranville
What luck to finally discover Fresh Fit Meals just as many of us are resolving to eat more healthfully in the new year. And even better luck to find that—from what I’ve tasted so far—the food is seriously good.
It helps that a seasoned chef is cooking up the recipes. Jason Kapella, whom locals might recall from his stints at Louie’s Wine Dive and RoCA, is the executive/corporate chef and in charge of the menu design. The company began in Texas and has been in Iowa for just over a year.
While you can make an appointment with an in-store nutrition coach to come up with a personal eating plan, you can also simply pop in and grab a few packaged-up ready-to-reheat meals from the extensive selection in the refrigerator cases. When I stopped in, choices numbered over two dozen, and included baked coconut shrimp, salmon stir-fry, Mediterranean bison burger, chicken Parmesan, turkey chili and much more. Each dish is fresh—never frozen—and clearly marked with nutrition analyses.
“We make food that comes in a little rectangular plastic box, but doesn’t taste like it comes in a little rectangular plastic box,” Kapella told me, adding that smart ingredients, including citrus juices and zest, vinegars and a judicious use of spices, help set the flavor bar high.
Kapella explained that to keep the fresh tastes intact, all of the food comes into his kitchen fresh and minimally processed. The staff makes everything from scratch, including sauces, sausages and baked goods. He also says that the food is additive- and preservative-free, and only lean meats and “healthy fats” (mainly, Omega-3s) are used. In addition, he says that many dishes are suitable for diabetics.
What matters above all, of course, is the taste. I’m happy to report that both dishes I tried—the shrimp and sausage jambalaya and the Charlie’s chicken enchiladas—were highly satisfying, rife with bold flavors and an unmistakably fresh appeal.
I’ll be back in the hope of starting the new year on a healthful and tasty note.
Fresh Fit Meals has locations in Urbandale, Ankeny and West Des Moines. Find them at freshfitmeals.com
Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.