Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fitlife Foods opens in South Tampa

Just in time for the summer swimsuit season, Fitlife Foods opens in South Tampa.
It's a new, healthy, calories-already-counted-for-you, prepared meals to go place!


No more excuses that you don't have time to count calories or eat healthy foods...
Fitlife Foods offers dozens of grab-and-go goodies including breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner.
Prices range anywhere from $2.25 to $11.25.
Fitlife Foods has 7, 14, and 21 day meal plans designed to help you lose weight, stay in shape and gain energy.
I tasted some of their top sellers. The miso salmon with red quinoa was my favorite (I would pay an extra charge for wild salmon).

Get a fresh perspective on health: Check out Heather's Natural Health

I talked to David, owner of Fitlife Foods, to see how he came up with the concept:

-Why did you decide to create Fitlife Foods?

Fitlfe Foods was born from a love of delicous food and a love of competitive running-from 5Ks to the Boston Marathon. With a 10+ year background in the restaurant industry, I finally decided to mash both my love of delicious food and requirements for lots of energy together and help other people at the same time.

The Fitlife Foods’ mission is to help people save time, manage their weight or achieve their performance goals while finding more energy. I’ve always enjoyed reading about food in magazines and, as a consumer, believed there was a need for someone else doing “all the work” for you. That’s just what Fitflife Foods is about.

Our commitment at Fitlife Foods has always been that food has to be delicious first, then we need to make sure it is healthy. That is where the creativity comes into play. It's easy for chefs to use butter and salt to make something taste good. It's far more challenging to meet the delicious criteria using spices and marinades to make it healthy.

-What is your food philosophy?

Fitlife Food is about “balance.” Fitlife Foods is not a “diet” company. We don’t do tofu and sprouts. The Fitlife Foods philosophy is simple: Eat delicious food. Eat healthy food. Not one or the other.

We focus on balance so energy stays up throughout the day. Our meals are about 35 - 40% low glycemic, high fiber carbs, 30 - 35% lean protein and 25 - 30% healthy fat. Customers come in and say they don't eat carbs or fat. We change that philosophy and put fewer restrictions on their diet by saying, “Stay balanced. Stay fit. Be happy. We’ll do the work for you.”

-How is your ready made food business different than the others?

At Fitlife Foods, there are three things that we do differently than other companies.

First, we are flexible. Customers can come in and pick up one meal or several meals for the next day or several days, or they can get on a 21-Day Challenge or start a “Member Meal Account.” It's their call.

Secondly, Fitlife Foods is hands-down the best tasting! Great chefs make good food. Great ingredients make amazing food. Having a Culinary Director (Davis Jaeger) who understand how to make the best tasting food using the healthiest ingredients has been paramount to our success. Our extensive menu of 41 items ranges from BBQ Beef and Mac ‘n Cheese (yes it’s healthy!) to Miso Salmon, Oatmeal Brulee and Feta Stuffed Chicken. Our home-made energy bars fly off the shelf!”

Among the benefits I’ve had of being in the restaurant business for so long, is that I have established strong relationships with a number of chefs at the top spas and resorts throughout the country. It's been a fun and challenging collaboration to bring these extraordinary techniques for making delicious and healthy meals to the Tampa Bay area people in their everyday lives. Fitlife Foods also uses well-known ingredients that consumers may purchase at Publix’s Greenwise or Whole Foods Stores - brands like Maranatha Almond Butter, Fage Greek Yogurt, Eden's Organic Black, Garbanzo & Kidney Beans, etc.

Finally, we are local. We care about the people in our community and are passionate about helping them save time and eat well. We invite our customers to come into our kitchen. We’ll even give them a behind-the-scenes tour so they can make the choice for themselves.

-How does it work? Do you pick up several days worth of meals? Do you deliver?

Customers can come into Fitlife Foods and pick up a fresh, never frozen meal, from one of the coolers for one meal or several. All of the Fitlife Foods meals has a "best by" date of 3 - 5 days from when it is made, along with the nutritional content. Prices range from $1.95 for snacks to $11.75 for our Large Ab tight tenderloin. Our extensive menu is offered in small-, medium- or large-size proportions...we recognize that we’re all different. We pride ourselves in offering flexible options of meal sizes. For example, an Offensive Lineman and a 70-year old grandmother should not have to eat the same portion and in turn pay the same for that.

At the end of April, Fitlife Foods will begin on-line ordering and delivery. Companies can set-up delivery days and we will also start drop-off locations at several local fitness centers to make our meals are as convenient as possible for our customers. Larger orders of $100+ will also be able to schedule a delivery with 24 hours notice for a small fee.

-Tell me how the 7-14 day challenge works

Fitness and nutrition experts say it takes 21 days to form a habit. We offer 7-, 14- and 21-day challenges to try Fitlife Foods out and experience a change in energy levels and feeling better. Since opening February 28th, we have had the most interest in these weekly challenges from our customers.

As we said before, a customer can come in for one meal and be on their way. But, the ideal way that Fitlife Foods can benefit a person is that a customer comes in and meets with one of our Wellness Coaches for a full “wellness assessment.” The coach will talk to the customer about their goals and performs baseline measurements.

In addition to traditional methods, were also equipped with a bio-electrical impedance analysis machine to determine body composition or the number of calories you burn at rest. Then we suggest the size and portions of meals that are the right size for the individual: small, medium or large - depending on their goals for performance achievement, weight loss or just simply, daily nutrition.

With the “Wellness Assessment”, Fitlife Foods provides customers with a water bottle as well as an insulated cooler bag. Then they come in twice a week and pick up their meals (or of course, after delivery service is available in late April, have them delivered). After 21 days we invite them back to have a follow-up wellness session to see the results. Prices start at $24.25 for the two sessions, the water bottle, cooler bag and breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks a day.
Check out some of the samples meals below:

Power Morning Tortilla
Calories: 260
Fat: 9g
Carb: 25g
Protein: 18g
Fiber: 3g

Feta Stuffed Chicken
Calories: 326
Fat: 15g
Carb: 22g
Protein: 29g
Fiber: 8g

Miso Salmon:

Fat: 15g
Carb: 18g
Fiber: 2g

Morning Muesli:
Calories: 230
Fat: 7g
Carb: 36g
Protein: 9g
Fiber: 6g