A few weeks ago I was asked by LYFE Kitchen if I would be interested in receiving a few of their meals to try. Now I have to admit, at this moment, I had no idea what LYFE Kitchen was. So I read the article in The New York Times by Mark Bittman and became instantly intrigued to find out what exactly LYFE Kitchen was all about.
And here's what I found out. LYFE was created with a simple goal in mind, love your food everyday. Love how it tastes, what it does for your health and love how it supports a more sustainable planet. They gathered a team of experts that were passionate about making this a reality. And in the end, they developed a plan, high quality menu with great flavor, nutritious ingredients with zero preservatives or artificial additives.
How could I not try this?
Days later a big box came in the mail filled with an assortment of meals. Orange Mango Chicken with whole grains, kale and broccoli. Steel Cut Oatmeal with quinoa and mixed fruits. Chicken Chili Verde with polenta and black beans. Whole Grain Penne Pasta with turkey meatballs.
The meals take approximately 5 minutes to steam-cook. At that point you let it rest for 1 minute and then gently open and place on your serving plate. I honestly, have never seen a frozen meal look quite like this. More importantly I have never tried a frozen meal that tasted like this!
Every meal I had, I was blown away with. And the best part was, I felt completely comfortable serving these meals to my kids. Hudson loved the Whole Grain Penne Pasta with turkey meatballs. Lola was a big fan of the Steel Cut Oatmeal with Quinoa. I personally, could not get enough of the Chicken Chili Verde with Polenta and Black Beans. I kid you not, it was restaurant quality.
The portions are quite big for a frozen meal. All of the breakfast and lunch meals, I was completely satisfied with the size. When I had one of the meals for dinner, I simply added a side salad. Pretty easy, especially with two kids running around.
LYFE offers options for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores.
If you are in the California area, be sure to check out LYFE Kitchen's two restaurant locations in Palo Alto and Culver City. The menu is quite impressive!
For everyone else, make sure to look for this fantastic product at your local grocery store. Here is a map to help find a store closest to you.
Q & A with Chef John Mitchell
What kind of challenges did you face translating food from fresh-cooked to grocery-ready?
The main challenge I faced translating food from fresh-cooked to grocery-ready was finding a manufacturer to do this with. Ultimately, we were looking for a culinary partner with the experience and technological capabilities to make it work. Ultimately, we went with Provita, an Illinois-based food manufacturer.
Why do you think this concept (healthy/inexpensive/low sodium) has been so hard for others to achieve? How did you address the challenges of sourcing, packaging, recipes, etc.?
I think this concept has been so hard for others to achieve simply because no other company has ever made a conscious effort to deliver high-quality, tasty food in the frozen category. LYFE Kitchen’s goal is to shift the paradigm in the frozen food category – that frozen food can be good for you – and really exceed our consumers’ expectations.
I addressed the challenges of sourcing, packaging, recipe-building, etc. by tapping a network of resources from my time working at Whole Foods. In the end, I was looking for the right packaging, products and recipes that would meet the quality of standards that is what LYFE Kitchen stands for today.
What inspired you to create these particular recipes? Were there any dishes you wanted to include in the line that proved particularly challenging or just didn't work?
My inspiration came from the foods that I like, and others like, to eat. We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel here. We just wanted to recreate flavors and recipes we all love, in a new way.
A challenge dish would be Macaroni & Cheese. Since LYFE Kitchen does not use any butters or creams in our recipes, it has proven challenging, but we’re still trying to create it!
What's your personal favorite LYFE Kitchen meal?
My favorite meal is LYFE Kitchen’s Chicken Chile Verde. And while we’re on it, my favorite LYFE Kitchen dessert is the Fudge Greek Yogurt Bars.
What are your top three tips for healthy, happy living?
My top three tips for healthy, happy living are simple: Eat balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get a good night’s sleep. Too often, these three pillars are overlooked and they truly are the most important.
Thank you LYFE Kitchen!