Healthy Habits Kitchen

Last Monday night I was invited to stop by and learn about Healthy Habits Kitchen in Wellesley, Mass. Susan Schochet, the creator of Healthy Habits Kitchen, met me and Jeff at the door and brought us into the lounge area where we soon found ourselves rapt in conversation about trying to eat healthy meals while maintaining a busy lifestyle. Susan, tired of the corporate world and looking to do something she really enjoyed (sound like anyone we know?), started HHK back in 2007. She wanted busy individuals to be able to make healthy meals quickly and easily.

At HHK, restaurant-quality ingredients are prepped and pre-packaged into fresh or frozen meal kits. Clients can check the menu, which changes monthly, and select which meal kits they want to pick up or have delivered. Then all they need to do is cook whatever is in the meal kit by following the included instructions. HHK does everything but the cooking.

But clients can also be involved in the prep work if they choose and can even attend parties where they eat a home-cooked meal after preparing their own take-home meals. It's a great way to socialize with friends while getting ahead on meal prep and planning.

Even kids can make their own meals. I bet it's so satisfying for them to show off a dinner they made themselves (everything but the cooking of course) and to even come up with their own meal ideas. And there are summer cooking camps that kids can attend.

All of the prepackaged meal kits are run by a dietitian who analyzes the nutrition content. HHK makes sure that all of the meals have less than 400 calories and 800 milligrams of salt per serving and have 30% or less fat. The portion sizes are on the smaller side because they are meant to be healthy, so they aren't really what most people are used to. The meals are labeled with how many they serve (e.g., 2 to 3 or 4 to 6). If you want to eat hearty, go with the lower number; if you want to eat healthy, go with the higher number.

Sue gave Jeff and me a a large package of Bloody Mary steak tips with brown rice and a container of Asian slaw to take home and make for ourselves. I saved the Asian slaw to bring to work for my lunch since the steak tips came with the brown rice.

We actually made the steak tips the same night we visited HHK because we arrived home later than we normally would and were pressed for time. It made sense to try out the meal under the conditions it was intended for!

I was amazed that I had a healthy dinner on the table in about 30 minutes. Cooking the rice took the most time -- 20 minutes of simmering and 10 minutes of resting.

Next time I would probably just throw it in my rice cooker, but I wanted to follow the directions on the packages exactly this time.

Because we don't have a grill and I didn't want to turn on the oven, I cooked the steak tips in a grill pan on the stove top.

The directions say to pour off the marinade, bring it to a boil, and serve it on the side for sauce. I never thought to do that with a marinade before and loved having the extra sauce to flavor the brown rice.

While the meal kit is meant to serve 4 to 6 people, we both agreed, at least for our appetites, that it veers more toward 4 servings. We both had enough for dinner that night, and Jeff was able to make the rest last for two meals while I was off at some blogger dinners during the week.

The high-quality steak was tender and well-flavored. Bloody Mary lovers would definitely enjoy the kick from the horseradish and Tabasco. The brown rice complemented the steak and balanced the sauce and was a nice change for us because we usually make white rice. We truly had a tasty, quick, and easy meal.

Since I hadn't planned a lunch to take to work the following day, I was happy to have the Asian slaw. I loved the sweet and tangy flavors in it, and the peppers provided a crunch that contrasted with the soft noodles. It's meant to serve 2 to 3 as a side, but since it was all I had for lunch, I ate the whole thing. I'll work on that portion-control thing one of these days!

I really had a great visit with Sue, enjoyed two fabulous dishes, and highly recommend Healthy Habits Kitchen to anyone looking to eat healthy under time constraints.

Healthy Habits Kitchen is located at 38 Washington Street in Wellesley, Mass. Meal kits can be found there and also at some nearby farmers' markets in Wayland, Natick, and Newton. If you have any questions about Healthy Habits Kitchen, please let me know or check out the website!

These meal kits were complimentary. All opinions are my own.

Have you ever tried prepared meal kits like these?