By Samantha Lambert
Are you trying to lose a few pounds? Do you have a health condition that requires you to watch your sugar and sodium? Are you a busy mom or dad who wants your family to eat healthy meals? Would you rather have a healthy alternative for lunch rather than a fast food burger? Then Clean Eatz in Shalimar is the place for you.
Clean Eatz was founded in 2013 with the simple mission of providing people a healthy place to eat. The Clean Eatz at 1191 Eglin Parkway in Shalimar is owned and managed by Zach and Lydia McIntosh. The McIntoshes met in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and were married in 2013. They frequented the Clean Eatz in Myrtle Beach while living there and became very interested in the concept. Lydia has a background in health and nutrition, while Zach has a business background.
In March 2016, the couple began researching opening a Clean Eatz franchise in the Florida Panhandle. After much research, they decided to move forward with the franchise. They then did a month of training in the Myrtle Beach store. In the meantime, they began looking for locations for their new venture. The McIntoshes found a great location for their business in Shalimar and signed the lease in August.
“We were the thirteenth Clean Eatz franchise to open,” says Zach. “There are 15 on the East Coast.” said Zach. The couple spent August through November renovating the building. They had a family and friends opening event on November 30, 2016, and then did a soft opening for the public December 1.
“We had a nice, steady pace of customers on that first day,” says Lydia. “We did not do any advertising except for word of mouth and social media.”
“The momentum kept building,” Zach adds. “We also went to local gyms to advertise our business and did an event at the Emerald Coast Home Show.”
Menu options at Clean Eatz have no sugar or added sodium, are low in fat, under 500 calories, and affordable. The goal is to give you the tools you need for a healthy lifestyle by preparing properly portioned sized meals with a balance of protein, carbs and fats.
The Clean Eatz Meal Plan offers many options for meals at home. Customers can order online and pick up their meals on Monday for the week. Options range from five meals for $38 to 21 meals for $128.
Some of the favorites on the Clean Eatz Meal Plan include Chicken Parm, with whole wheat pasta, grilled chicken breast marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella; BBQ Chicken Flatbread, with peppers, onions and mozzarella cheese; and Lowcountry Boil with shrimp, low fat sausage and corn. Menus change every Thursday.
Customers can also order a custom diet online at cleaneatz.com/custom. “You can pick a protein, a carb, veggie, vegan, or vegetarian option and pick your portions,” says Lydia. “Whatever you’re looking for, we can do it.” Customers can also pick up a breakfast entrée in the Grab and Go freezer. Breakfast entrees will soon be added to the online menu.
For customers who want to drop in for lunch or dinner, there are plenty of healthy and delicious options. The Build a Bowl option lets you choose your protein, up to three veggies, a carb and sauce. Clean Eatz burgers include an Atlas Burger with a salmon patty, a Skinny Burger with a bison patty, and the homemade vegetarian Garden Burger. Clean Eatz also offers a kids’ meal and healthy desserts such as trail nut fudge and oatmeal based energy bars.
Tisha Pierceall has been coming to Clean Eatz since it opened. She has Type 1 diabetes and is insulin dependent. Before every meal, she must add up the carbs in her meal to calculate how much insulin she will need to administer.
“The pre-planned meals at Clean Eatz have the number of carbs listed on each meal,” she says. “It’s great for someone like me. I order my meals each week, and they are wonderful. I am eating better and controlling my blood sugar. Plus, Zach and Lydia are so helpful.”
“Clean Eatz is a fun business,” says Lydia. “We never imagined we would be doing this together.”
Zach adds: “We are blessed to be in this situation. People are saving time and money. We are also providing a healthy alternative for our community.”
Clean Eatz is open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.
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