You guys know by now that I love cooking. It should be no surprise to anyone that I’m also way into meal prepping. It’s vital to your wellness if you’re looking to lose, gain or maintain weight while eating clean and saving time (and money!)
But what happens on weeks when you legit don’t have time to do the prep?
In my case, that usually results in a week of eating junk, going out for lunch and spending too much money at the grocery on “dinner for tonight.” It doesn’t take long before you start feeling sluggish again all because you failed to prepare.
It happens to all of us, for real. If only there was a back-up plan…
Enter Clean Eatz.
Clean Eatz Knoxville opened up a few months ago and while I was familiar with it, I hadn’t heard anything about them. They’re in the same shopping center as a Crossfit gym and a *shudders and swallows vomit* 9 Rounds boxing gym. Honestly, I kind of just assumed they serviced those folks primarily and I didn’t want to use a service if they were going to require me to walk into the restaurant doing lunges with kettlebells just to place an order.
Then everything fell into place. I had two weeks back-to-back where I was traveling and working a lot, therefore I didn’t spend my Sunday doing meal prep as usual and I paid the price in the nutrition department. Around the same time, Erin ate there for lunch and said the food was tasty. It was recommended to her by a friend who frequents the place and I was then turned on to it by a few members at MY gym.
This place must really be good!
So I gave them a shot.
You start the process by signing up for their emails. You’ll receive an email on Thursday morning with the next week’s menu on it (complete with macros) and you have until Sunday night to submit your order. So this is what I did.
The online ordering system is pretty straight forward with drop-down menus for you to select the number of each meal you want to order. There are options for half-carb, no-carb, extra protein and gluten-free if your diet calls for any of those modifications.
When you place your order, the website explicitly states you will not be receiving a confirmation email. While I’ve ordered twice and have received my proper order both times, this makes me uneasy and I don’t like it.
Pricing is reasonable for a meal prep service and is based on the number of meals you order. For instance, an order of 5 meals is $38 (and $7.60 per meal for every meal greater than 5 but less than 10). At 10 meals the price per meal comes down ($6.80), again at 15 ($6.53) and again at 21 ($6.09). An order for both Erin and I costs me around $97 which is comparable to our weekly grocery bill if I was meal prepping myself.
Meals are picked up on Mondays. I’ve been told they’re packed around lunch time with people coming in to pick up. I normally can’t go until around 5:30-6:00 so it’s often just me and two or three other people and it’s quick and painless. All of the meals are portioned and waiting in coolers where the staff can quickly assemble your weekly order. The restaurant is decent sized with ample seating for a medium group of diners. Also, if ordering ahead isn’t your thing, there’s a cooler in the storefront that contains a huge selection of meals that aren’t on the weekly menu that you can just “grab and go” with.
The first week I ordered enough food to cover us for both lunch and dinner all week. We got the mango and coconut blackened cod, the French dip sandwich and the Hawaiian chicken bowls. Everything was super good and I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t document any of it. Fitness blog fail.
Anyway, you bring home giant paper bags that contain the meal prep containers that are exactly like the ones you’d buy from Costco or Amazon. They’re dishwasher and microwave safe but since I have a stack of these already I just recycle them. Still pretty convenient.
So what about the food?
Last week I only ordered lunch for Erin and myself but I was sure to get a wide selection of what they had to offer. Here’s what we got with a brief description of what was included:
Don’s Bowl of Happiness: Chicken with black beans, corn and green peppers tossed in a chipotle bbq sauce served over white rice. 413 calories.
Beef Brisket Bowl: Brisket tossed in bbq sauce with pinto beans and healthy cole slaw served over brown rice. 474 calories.
Ratatouille: Ground turkey tossed in tomato sauce with zucchini, eggplant and Jack cheese served over egg noodles. 397 calories.
Southwest Egg Scramble: Eggs, black beans, turkey bacon and corn topped with Jack cheese with a side of hash browns. 280 calories.
Don’s Bowl was very tasty. I love having a bed of rice under chicken and veggies and it NOT be bland. The bbq sauce they include was just sweet enough to be flavorful but not overwhelming. My only diss here was it reminded me a lot of the previous week’s Hawaiian chicken, sans-pineapple.
The Beef Brisket is the best thing this week. The brisket is tender, juicy and hella flavorful. The pinto beans and slaw are a nice touch and the brown rice was merely brown rice. Brisket is hard to eat lightly but they did a good job of making it work here.
The Ratatouille is great but it reminded me more of spaghetti with meat sauce than actual ratatouille. I was able to identify the various veggies in mine but there didn’t seem to be many in there. On a positive note, egg noodles are the jam and the ground turkey in tomato sauce was super good.
The only place they fell flat this week was on the Southwest Egg Scramble. I got two of them and ate them both for breakfast this week but I wasn’t particularly impressed with it either time. The “scrambled” eggs appear to just be crumbled hard-boiled eggs tossed with beans and corn. I found a few pieces of turkey bacon but couldn’t taste it and the dominant flavor overall was the mostly bland hash browns. Probably won’t be getting this one again.
Ultimately, I’d call Clean Eatz a win. For a quick break down:
Convenience (location is nearby and meal prep is DONE)
Healthy — I’m on a cut right now and their super light meals have really helped out.
The French Dip and BBQ Brisket are to die for
Their presence is good for the community, promoting not only healthy eating but CLEAN eating
Pricing is about what I would expect and is well worth paying for considering all the hard work is done.
They have a Z in their name
The lack of confirmation email bothers me.
The southwest egg scramble sucked
They don’t put as much effort into presentation as I’d like — I’d often open my container to find things sort of tossed around.
They have a bunch of Nine Rounds shit scattered around their restaurant.
While they have a few things, I’d like to see more “snacks” available for those between-meal cravings.
I’ve already put my order in for next week. The menu includes Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Brushetta Chicken, Sesame Salmon and Steak and Potatoes. I’m in to it, y’all.
Clean Eatz Knoxville is located at 155 West End Ave. Hours: M-F 11am-7pm, Sat 11am-3pm, Sun closed