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Nutritious and Delicious: Inside Freshly's Food Philosophy

Emily Buckley
Jul 5, 2019

Being healthy means different things to different people. For some, it may mean running five times a week; for others, it might entail getting eight hours of sleep every night; and then there are those who religiously take supplements and never miss a doctor’s appointment.

But I believe that food is a universal experience and lies at the core of every person’s wellness.

Of course, we should all want to be healthy. After all, that means lower rates of diseases, including diabetes and stroke, improved gut and heart health, and higher quality lives.

What’s unfortunate, though, is that our country’s food philosophy is deeply rooted in a diet culture that is simply not sustainable. People hear about different fads and trends, and go full throttle for some time, before this becomes unmanageable and they peter out.

At Freshly, we don’t believe that eating healthy should be at odds with enjoying your meals; it shouldn’t be an either-or situation. And that’s why we took a macro approach to our menu, with an eye on sustainable health.

Our promise is to serve our customers well-balanced food that contains thoughtfully chosen, nutrient-dense ingredients, while omitting some unnecessary unhealthy culprits like highly refined and processed flours, refined sugars, and preservatives, among 85 banned ingredients.

But deprivation is not at the core of our mission. On the contrary, we focus on what our meals include, celebrating nutritious ingredients and using them to differentiate our food from what’s otherwise available in the market.

A Face-Off Between Healthy and Tasty

My challenge to Freshly’s chefs is to make healthy eating crave-able. Food is an emotional experience and people need a solution that incorporates both taste and health, not one that forces them to choose.

We harness the nutritional power of ingredients by making healthy swaps and using the practice of “stealth health” — our way of taking otherwise indulgent meals and elevating their nutritional quotient, in unexpected ways.

For instance, our mac n’ cheese features butternut squash and cauliflower in the sauce, and our chicken parmesan is breaded in almond meal, not refined flour. This summer, we’re offering a pesto made with kale and broccoli, and a blended meatloaf made of ground turkey and other plant-based ingredients, like mushrooms and flaxseed.

Each Freshly meal serves its own purpose: Some are very outwardly healthy, while others evoke the nostalgia of comfort classics, and still others are more exploratory with lesser known ingredients. What all Freshly meals have in common, however, is that they are nutrient-dense and delicious.

Why? Because we believe healthy eating should be approachable — not elite.

At Freshly, we study customer data and analyze market trends to identify opportunities on our menu and concepts we would like to explore. Bringing to the table years of culinary inspiration and nutritional expertise, our chefs then single out meals they’d like to develop.

For example, someone who grew up in a large Italian family may propose a take on their grandmother’s pasta bolognese. Then, the meal developers, nutritionists and chefs team up to deconstruct the traditional meal concept before putting it back together with alternate high-quality nutrient-packed ingredients or healthier cooking methods.

So we may develop a bolognese with cauliflower pasta shells and a tomato sauce that’s only lightly sweetened with honey.

The challenge with this approach is not only that we have to think outside the box for every one of the 30-plus meals on our menu, but also that we’re altering traditional recipes and food composition. I believe that’s why you don’t see many others in the market using this method.

‘Democratizing’ Healthy Eating

Many food companies tend to veer too far into the land of boring and bland health food: their too-small portions of steamed vegetables and flavorless proteins are reminiscent of low-quality TV dinners.

Others take a more niche approach, compiling the highest-quality ingredients into meals that adhere to a strict diet and, ultimately, price out most of the nation. Freshly isn’t doing either.

Additionally, companies have historically dumped sugar, sodium, chemicals, and processed fats into their food to heighten flavors and make food taste better. These additions create a mouth feel to help the essence of the dish explode and linger in your mouth.

At Freshly, we think about our ingredients right down to the last grain. We believe that there are healthy ways to experience indulgence: by cooking with healthy fats, using sea salt sparingly, and cutting down on sugar content by not only using less of it but also choosing minimally processed sources like honey and fruit to sweeten our food.

We rely on numerous iterations and out-of-the-box thinking to create a familiar culinary experience and exceptional taste for our customers.

Ultimately, we want to democratize healthy eating, and making it more affordable and accessible for people from all walks of life.

This means not always serving a side of kale in all its glory, rather also blending it into a pesto for the nutritional boost, simply in a different (and arguably more indulgent) format. There are plenty of people who love veggies, whole grains and lightly sauced meals.

However, there are also plenty of others who throughout their adulthood would prefer to swap something green for mashed potatoes and gravy. We cater to both preferences, but ensure that both are nutritious.

We don’t think people need to be health experts to live healthy lives or that healthy food has to continue being devoid of flavor, texture, and excitement. We believe health and taste can, and should, coexist.

Being healthy boils down to a lifestyle; it needs to be sustainable to have a lasting impact on people’s wellness. So that’s what we’re doing — looking at health more holistically.

Call it stealth, call it healthy swaps or call it something else altogether. We want you to have your cake and eat it too — we’re just making sure there’s a serving of veggies in there.

Freshly delivers healthy, chef-developed meals weekly to make eating well easy and delicious. Check out our rotating menu.

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Nutritious and Delicious: Inside Freshly's Food Philosophy