Healthy living

Nutritious food options are coming to Bristol this spring with new eatery Healthy Plate Meal Preps & Smoothie Bar

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Heat it and eat it: All meals offered on Healthy Plate’s menu have a maximum of about 400 calories, with no preservatives. The meals, which include a customizable mixture of proteins, carbs and vegetables, are pre-cooked. Source: Healthy Plate Meal Preps

Over the past few months, The Times has introduced you to a plethora of new businesses that have opened up shop along Bristol’s ever-growing Mill Street. From Chuck’s BBQ, the first southern-style barbecue joint to hit the area, to Noble Earth, where one can find all their wellness needs, the borough is quickly becoming a smorgasbord of uniquely delightful offerings.

Now, husband-wife duo Matthew and Michelle Howard are getting in on the action of Bristol’s post-Small Business Revolution rejuvenation with their eatery Healthy Plate Meal Preps & Smoothie Bar, which is slated to open this spring at 247 Mill St.

For those looking to (finally) have that summer body ready to go by Memorial Day, Healthy Plate couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. According to Michelle, who serves as the head cook, all meals offered on the menu have a maximum of about 400 calories, and taste is never sacrificed.

“It’s a healthy, balanced meal,” she said.

Customers can rest assured that nothing they consume at Healthy Plate contains preservatives since everything is freshly prepared. The meals, which usually include a customizable mixture of proteins, carbs and vegetables, are pre-cooked, so all one has to do is heat them up or freeze them for later consumption.

“After working hard all day, you don’t want to worry about what you’re going to eat,” Matthew said. “Heat it and eat it.”

While Healthy Plate’s 247 Mill St. location, which will include eat-in options, free Wi-Fi and a smoothie bar, undergoes final renovations, online orders are being accepted through the eatery’s Facebook page. Interested customers can view a full menu, privately message the Howards the item number and quantity they wish to purchase, and either pick their meals up at a designated time each Sunday or have them delivered.

So far, they’ve received an outpouring of interest from not only residents of Bristol Borough, but other areas of Bucks County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia. And it’s easy to see why. To keep customers on their toes, Michelle explained how the menu changes on a weekly basis, so there’s always something new to come back and try.

Last week’s items included roast garlic rosemary turkey, BBQ chicken pizza, skinny cheeseburger soup, and a number of breakfast items such a ham & cheese crustless quiche, cocoa peanut butter pancakes and oatmeal raisin protein muffins. The menu explicitly states under each item its nutritional information, including calories, carbs, protein and fat, allowing people to know exactly what they’re putting into their bodies.

This passion for discovering new recipes for healthy yet tasty meals began in 2014 when Michelle began incorporating them into family dinners at their Bensalem home. Matthew, a personal trainer and self-described “fitness buff,” would scoop up every last delicious morsel. Over time, both saw positive changes in not only their appearance, but overall mood and stamina throughout the day. Friends and family also took notice, constantly asking them to share their secret to success.

Things started off small, with Matthew selling his wife’s home-cooked meals to his buddies at the gym. But through word of mouth, the demand grew and soon, their average-sized kitchen wasn’t cutting it anymore. They needed a commercial space.

“We were definitely onto something,” Matthew said.

With the help of a friend, the Howards enjoyed a walkthrough of their future Mill Street location before it went on the market. It was the perfect spot, both professionally and personally. Not only did they see great potential in the up-and-coming area, but Matthew already had strong ties to the borough (his father was a local track star in the ‘70s).

After the lease was signed and the ever-exciting “coming soon” appeared in the storefront window, Matthew reflected on how the business community welcomed him and Michelle with open arms.

“They’ve been our biggest cheerleaders,” he said of his fellow business owners. “They’re close-knit and family-oriented.”

Right now, the goal is to have Healthy Plate up and running by Bristol’s First Fridays, which begin on May 4. For more information on Healthy Plate Meal Preps or to place an order, visit facebook.com/healthyplatemealpreps. ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com