Eating well no longer means having to spend hours in the grocery store and then the kitchen preparing a meal. Many of us don’t have the time or inclination to plan balanced, locally sourced, pesticide-free meals. So, instead of dining at a restaurant eating food from who knows where for almost a day’s wage, or ordering in Chinese yet again, why not have a delicious, locally-sourced and locally-cooked meal for less cost.
Winter is perhaps the hardest time to eat well. During the other three seasons farmers markets are open, fresh fruit and vegetables are plentiful, and we are more inclined to eat fresh and local. If you like to cook, don’t like to shop and prefer eating what is sourced seasonally and locally and fresh, joining a CSA is the way to go. If time is important and you wind up doing take out or eating out several times a week, then one of the food preparation services may be more suited to your needs. Here are several that use local food sources whenever possible.
Vegetable and Butcher
I love their slogan: “Live Better. For Longer. While making a difference.” V+B founders Turner and Ariane are business partners. Theirs is a love story as well. As romantic partners Turner found they were spending all day Sundays preparing their meals for the week instead of having a life. “We started V+B because we were tired of mediocre food that was marginally healthy, tired of yo-yoing between diets that were difficult to sustain, and we were tired of the single-use plastic packaging that is destroying our planet. Ariane is vegan and I’m not. Hence the name Vegetable and Butcher.”
Turner said he and Ariane want their customers to have more time for friends, families and most importantly, for themselves. You can order as few as two meals a week or as many as 18 depending on your needs and lifestyle. The more you order the lower the cost per meal. “Our cost per meal cannot be replicated given the time spent preparing, the quality of food and the variety of food,” said Turner. “Our customers value their time and health more than money, not that we are expensive. $15 is the highest cost of a meal. Most are between $11 and $13.
V+B support more than 30 local and regional farmers to craft fresh, seasonal menus that rotate weekly. Delivery is three times a week at locations on the Hill such as Physicality on H Street NE. They deliver in insulated grocery totes in ice packs that they collect back. “Our meal packaging is 100 percent compostable.” They serve the entire Washington, DC area. Check here to see if are in delivery range. A one week trial offer is available.
Their website slogan: Living well starts by eating well. You select a plan that works for your appetite, lifestyle and taste. Territory is a national company that has roots in Washington, DC. Their ingredients are gluten and dairy free and have no added nitrates. Whenever possible, Territory chefs use antibiotic and hormone free from animals raised cage-free. While their food is not totally locally sourced, they try to use fresh, local and organic whenever possible. The company has nutrition advisors in Dallas, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.
Territory Food meals may be picked up at Sport & Health on Capitol Hill or for an added charge they can be dropped off at your home. With every Territory order, the company donates the monetary equivalent of 1.2 pounds of rescued food to Feeding America and its network of local food banks.
Mighty Meals was founded by two fitness professionals and a classically-trained chef. Their goal: healthy meals should be accessible to everyone. They have more than 55 pickup locations across the DMV. Vida Gym in the Navy Yard and Pacers on H St., NE are two. Mighty Meals kitchen is in Burke, VA where all meals are prepared. They can be frozen up to three weeks, according to Tiffany McCasland, Mighty Meals marketing manager, because they are made fresh and quickly chilled. She said MM has more than 50 different choices for meals which are mostly paleo-based. They do have vegetarian options.
Most meals are between $10 and $13 with some lower priced options. It also offers meat, vegetables and rice in bulk and snacks. Check their website for introductory discounts.
Farm to Family CSA
Mark and Suzi Lilly’s Farm to Family CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is based in Richmond and has weekly drop off locations at Eastern Market every Tuesday. “We get our food from all Virginia farmers,” said Mark. “We are creating a more sustainable system for people to eat food that has not traveled thousands of miles and has no connection to where we live.”
Weekly or biweekly a CSA customer can purchase shares of vegetables, dairy, meat with bread add on. You can purchase one or any combination of the four share choices. This winter vegetables are $48 per share, dairy is $35, meat is $38 and bread is $7.
Mark said he wants to make it easy for people to eat locally, cook at home and eat seasonally. “Eating well should be a priority,” he said. “In order to not get sick, live a long vibrant life and be healthy, this is what you do.”
If you are committed to beginning this new decade by losing weight, reducing medication, and having more energy, why not chuck the weighing, measuring, counting calorie or whatever diet. Treat yourself and your family better by eating more whole foods and less processed foods. Experiment with one or all of the meal preparation services and get fresh food from a CSA. It will be fun deciding which works best for you.
To sign up for Mark’s CSA call; 804-397-7339.
Pattie Cinelli is a health/fitness professional who writes about subjects on the leading edge of health and fitness thought. She has been writing her column for more than 25 years and welcomes column suggestions and fitness questions.
Pattie is a certified functional aging specialist who works with baby boomers. She is moving her fitness business to the Delaware beach. Pattie offers private health/fitness evaluations and recommendations in person and affordable personal training sessions via Skype. You can contact Pattie at: email@example.com.