Photo by Anthony Mair
Photo by Anthony Mair Turkey tacos
When I was a child, my mother would sneak extra vegetables into her lasagna; I wasn’t fooled, but I didn’t object. It was delicious either way. Since then, little has changed. Without Mom’s charming subterfuge, figuring out what to eat is routinely determined by whatever is at hand, never mind if it’s good for me. Here with a better option is My Healthy Meal, now open in Summerlin.
Owner Candace Bailey is the model of someone always on the run. As an entrepreneur and avid participant in triathlons including the Ironman, she had trouble balancing work with her exercise routine and eating healthy. After researching various avenues to accommodate her busy schedule that included preparing sample meals for an entire week and seeking nutritious fare when dining out, she decided to do it her way. “The idea was that it had to be simple,” Bailey says, “and address the biggest obstacle: time.”
My Healthy Meal (10220 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 2, MyHealthyMeal.com) creates 100 percent organic, portion-controlled, packaged meals—breakfast, lunch, dinner or something in between—that cater to an individual’s lifestyle rather than dictating it. For the most time-strapped customers, selections are available for advance ordering. And requests for gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, raw, low-calorie and high-protein meals are not treated as inconveniences, either.
The space is outfitted in earth tones, and the vibe is casual and upbeat. A board created by Bailey lists the “10 Commandments” to a healthy and happy life. Framed quotes scattered throughout espouse positive thinking, eating and living. Tables overflow with baked goods such as banana bread protein muffins, toasted coconut cookies and pumpkin crunch trail mix. Refrigerated coolers divide meals into categories: breakfast; entrées; and raw/snacks/a la carte. Seats and microwaves are available for those who wish to eat on-site.
Tasked with combining health and convenience into those neat little packages is executive chef Gene Villiatora, who credits his Hawaiian roots, experience at Roy’s and Tao and an appearance on Top Chef: New York with helping him create the menu. “I like to think of it as Grandma’s cooking—wholesome, comfort food, but taking it to another level by doing it healthier,” Villiatora says.
Like Mom with her stealth health method, Villiatora also has some tricks up his sleeves: mashed potatoes are infused with pureed cauliflower to cut carbs; agave nectar and honey serve as natural sweeteners and homemade chicken broth replaces the store-bought variety to reduce sodium. Even the meaty flavor adding depth to certain dishes comes from turkey, not beef.
Since maintaining a nutrition plan can be “technical and intimidating,” Bailey says, she devised an easy-to-follow system: All of the meals are labeled with facts calculated using the USDA’s database on the nutritional content of foods. There is also a nutritionist on hand to assist customers in mapping out manageable regimes in line with their specific goals and dietary needs. I might just have to start calling her Mom.
While words such as “fried” or “super-size” may be part of your daily meal repertoire, consider swapping out a typically gluttonous standby with one of the My Healthy Meal’s healthful revamps.
To reduce cholesterol, the Southwest Scramble is made with egg whites, lean ground turkey and veggies such as tomatoes and broccoli.
Quinoa macaroni boost the protein and fiber content of Bailey’s Mac and Cheese, topped with a low-calorie sauce made from carrots, reduced-fat cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt.
For a convenient nosh on a stick, chicken satay is made from skinless chicken breasts and served with a mint tzatziki dip of red onions, cucumbers, garlic and Greek yogurt.
The turkey tacos are filled with ground turkey, quinoa and a generous dose of tomatoes, corn and roasted pasilla peppers.Dessert
Black beans, baking cocoa, quick oats, agave and vanilla mimic the taste and texture of Bailey’s Black-Bean Brownies, which with every bite feel every bit as indulgent as they should be.