Article: Craig Ammon, Out & About Nashville
As we welcome 2019, many of us have resolved to make positive changes in the new year. And it seems that eating healthier and “better self-care”
are at the top of the list. Clean Eatz Nashville, located in Green Hills, is helping Nashvillians achieve both of those goals. Doing so while enjoying delicious, convenient
meals, will make sticking with those healthy eating habits that much easier.
MEAL PREP MADE EASY
Owner Will Russ has been a proponent of meal planning and prep for years, long before he opened Clean Eatz this past spring. We are all busy, and few of us want to spend our weeknights grocery shopping and cooking. We just want something quick and easy. And, for many of us, that means settling for meals that are not as nutritious or delicious as we’d like.
Russ said that customers appreciate Clean Eatz for a number of reasons. Whether you are trying to lose, maintain, or gain weight, Clean Eatz has meal options to help in achieving those goals. And for those on a budget, affordability is key! With over 40 locations, Clean Eatz has emerged as one of the most affordable meal prep companies in the nation, offering a variety of meals accommodating varied lifestyles.
“This works because we’ve taken the guesswork out of meal prepping, we do the thinking for you,” said Russ. After struggling with his own weight and relationship with healthy eating habits, he and his partner Jamie found a local Clean Eatz Cafe in Greenville, North Carolina. “Meal prep made losing weight and staying on track easy: I looked forward to the meals I was eating.” Since starting his journey with Clean Eatz, Russ lost over 75 pounds.
Of course, the meals taste great, and Clean Eatz offers a surprising variety, with a new menu each week including six freshly prepared refrigerated meals, as well as over 40 different frozen options in their grab & go section. The vast majority of the meals are under 500 calories, with the exception of higher protein meals.
“It’s important to look forward to your meal prep, otherwise you probably aren’t going to stick to your meal prep,” said Russ. The Blue Cheese Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Bowl was delicious and robust—comfort food without the usual guilt. The Parmesan Peppercorn Beef with potatoes and broccoli were tender and flavorful. The meals can be prepared in the microwave in just two-to-three minutes. Alternately, they can be reheated in a skillet, or transferred to an oven safe dish and warmed in the oven.
The meal lineup includes low carb and no carb options. There are also options for dairy free, vegetarians, pescatarians, and gluten-free diets. “Our goal is to create variety, depending on your lifestyle and preferences you can find meals that work for you.”
Russ and his partner Jamie are fairly new to Nashville, having moved here in the summer of 2017. Until then, Russ worked at his family’s document management company for fifteen years. When they sold the business, he knew he wanted to make the leap to the food service industry. He just wasn’t totally sure in which direction he wanted to take it. When Russ saw firsthand how meal prep changed his life for the better, he wanted to offer that to others.
It was important to find a city that could support the five or six Clean Eatz locations he hopes to open in the future. The couple also wanted to find a city that was culturally similar to their home in North Carolina.
“The journey to Nashville wasn’t easy. We said goodbye to friends, family and a community we loved,” Russ said. “Like so many we were both in search of more and chasing opportunity, but also creating opportunity in the world around us.”
CLEAN EATZ AND THE LGBT CHAMBER
Russ got involved in the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce soon after moving to Nashville. He’d been involved in the Greenville Chamber of Commerce but found the Davidson County Chamber to be too big for him to effectively network or have an impact on the work they do. He finds the Nashville LGBT Chamber to be much more manageable.
He first joined to network and even make friends, which is a common reason for people to join. In fact, O&AN readers chose the Nashville LGBT Chamber as their favorite social group in 2018’s “Faves and Raves.” Russ knew that the LGBT Chamber does a lot of good, providing advocacy and educational organization that benefits our members and the broader LGBT community.
Russ has become increasingly involved in the Chamber, and Clean Eatz is hosting Brewing Up Business on January 17, 2019. They will have spread of food and samples, including items from their meal prep, as well as their café. It’s a fantastic opportunity for members or anyone interested in checking out a Chamber event to come mix and mingle with others in the LGBT business community.
One of Russ’ resolutions for 2019 is to become an LGBT certified business with both the Nashville LGBT Chamber and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). Russ said that he doesn’t consider himself disadvantaged as a business owner because he is gay. However, he recognizes that certification gives him a leg up in the very competitive food industry.
“It’s not about me as an individual becoming certified,” he explained. “It’s about my business becoming certified and my team having greater access to opportunities because of that certification.” NGLCC certification provides advantages to LGBT-owned businesses to help them grow, whether they are new, like Clean Eatz or have been around for years.
These benefits include: