Gyms in country focus on ready to eat takeout healthy meal programs with fitness

Chennai,Nov9:When you read the word “healthy food”, what springs to mind? A bowl of crisp lettuce, glistening with drops of olive oil, tossed with some fresh vegetables? Or is it skillet-grilled lean meat with a dash of low-fat mayo? How about some Greek yoghurt with fresh fruits?

Now, what if you were told to have a Mexican rice bowl for lunch and a pizza for dinner, and that it wouldn’t affect your waistline? I know I’d happily keep to that diet. While healthy meal delivery services are quite common in the city now — Relish, DietBox, Pickled Pumpkin, A Salad Company to name a few — trainers and nutritionists are now playing a big part in this sector.

Strength System, a gym which focuses on strength training and fitness through proper and adequate nutrition, recently partnered with Ordook to introduce pre and post-workout meals.

While Ordook has so far only put together meal kits that come with ingredients and a recipe, which can be cooked at home, these meals — called AvoCardio — are ready-to-eat and come with complete nutritional information about calories and macronutrients.

Co-founder of the gym, Prashanti Ganesh, says, “We came up with the menu, taking into account macronutrients and calories and Ordook took care of taste, prep and logistics. This concept is huge in the U.S., and it might be the next big thing in India as well.”

A box of egg khao pad, for example, has 15 gm of protein, 26 gm of carbs and 19 gm of fat, with a total of 328 calories. Just heat it up in the microwave for a couple of minutes and it’s good to go.

While the menu is set to change every day, Strength System’s co-founder Sandeep Achanta says, “Everyone likes the khao pad, and when we gave them something different, they insisted they wanted it back! We get the meals from Monday through Thursday, and we’re sold out every day.”

Currently, the boxes are available at the gym in Alwarpet, with packages for weekly plans of three, four and five meals; pay-per-box is also available. Apart from the rotating menu, which features dishes like spinach and corn quesadilla and chicken stroganoff, they also have Greek yoghurt parfaits, which add a dessert element to your meal.

With the low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diet becoming the next big thing, Shalini Padmanabhan of Reel Cafe and Piece of Cake in Anna Nagar has launched a home delivery service with keto-friendly dishes. This includes a variety of soups made with almond milk, shepherd’s pie with a cauliflower mash topping instead of the usual starchy potato, burgers with almond flour buns and pizza made with a chicken and egg base.

“It’s quite difficult to maintain a keto diet if you’re vegetarian, but after a lot of experimentation, we were able to come up with a number of options,” says Shalini, who works with nutritionist Shiny Surendran. So there’s vegetarian shepherd’s pie, pizza base of paneer, cheese and almond milk and paneer/tofu steak. The ingredients are quite expensive, but there is no option of cutting corners. If the LCHF format isn’t followed, or the right ingredients aren’t used, it will show; ketosis will not set in, and clients will not get what they are looking for, she explains. Shalini also makes paleo and gluten-free meals.

Lunch or dinner, as per your preference, will be delivered to your home or office, and will include a soup or salad and a main course. A weekly fixed meal plan or a customised one can be drawn up. Snacks like chia seed crackers, almond flour cookies in a variety of flavours and avocado choco mousse are also available.

Shalini adds, “If you’re the only person in your home on keto, or if you live alone, it might be a waste to buy a lot of ingredients that have to be used within a short duration. Soon, we will have classes on keto cooking, so that people will understand what goes into its making.”

As someone who’s passionate about training and knows the importance of nutrition in fitness and the weight loss journey, Fayeza Saiyed wanted to share her learning with the world. She runs Adyar-based Fayeza’s Nutritive Meal Services, and delivers home-cooked meals across the city. “Each meal takes into account the macronutrients required. The menu will change in conjunction with the client’s requirements and daily workout,” she says.

If you want to know exactly what’s going into your meal, it’s usually recommended that you make it yourself. But in this case, it’s just what your trainer ordered.

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