Prep meals businesses compete to replace big lunch burritos with healthier fare

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Businesses offering prepared meals are hoping to dramatically change the way El Pasoans eat by offering healthy alternatives to fast food restaurants and heavy portions of Mexican food.

Armando Garcia, 33, and Aurelio Garcia, 26, are the founders of Evolution Foods, 1420 N. Lee Trevino, a Kitchen by Get Fit El Paso.

El Paso needs “good quality food but at an affordable price,” Armando Garcia said. His business prepares and packages low-calorie, low-carb meals daily for customers who want to eat healthy, but don’t want to spend time shopping and cooking.

In addition to Evolution Foods, El Paso is now home to several meal preparation outlets:

  • Just Fit Foods, has two locations in El Paso – on the East Side on Montwood and on the West Side on Resler.
  • Fit Fuel Grill, which is also in Arlington, Texas, has one location in El Paso on Lorenzo Ruiz on the East Side.
  • Kinetix Personal Training & Sports Nutrition Services is located on East Cliff Drive near the UTEP campus.
  • Phit Phuel has three locations on North Mesa on the West side, George Dieter on the East side and on Quail Ave. in the Northeast.
  • NOSH at 150 W. Castellano Dr. on the West Side.

The businesses offer several different types of eating plans.

Evolution Foods starts at 10 meals for $55. The price of a single meal is $5.50. Just Fit Foods has meals that range from $7.25 to $10.25 each.

Armando GarciaEvolution Foods started in Aurelio Garcia’s home less than a year before opening the store on Lee Trevino.

“We’ve had businesses before, not as successful as this one but we’ve been building our brand for four years. And when we opened this up the following just came along,” Armando Garcia said. “Evolution is the food part of it, Get Fit El Paso is the motivational brand behind it.”

Beside cooking prep meals, Evolution Foods offers other options for diners. They have a grill for menu items like burgers, tacos, chicken sandwiches, that they offer Monday through Friday.

“All you have to do is taste the food,” said customer Jaime Illarramendi.

Aurelio Garcia cooks all the meals and does the sauces from scratch. He has been in the food industry for several years.

“I went from dishwasher to a cook and I just picked it up really quick. Ever since then it’s been like clockwork, I don’t even think anymore, it just comes naturally,” he said.

A relative new addition to the prep meal revolution is NOSH. Located on 150 W. Castellano Dr. in Montecillo, NOSH not only offers prep meals but it also offers other foods such as wraps, salads, juices, shakes as well as yoga every Wednesday.

NOSH has partnered with local farms to give the healthiest food to its customers. “We wanted to create something fun. A fun place that supported local vendors and did healthy in a very fresh way,” said Tara Livingston, CEO of NOSH.

Some of the vendors that NOSH works with are La Semilla, Myers Mushrooms, One Grub and Savage Goods.

Nosh also offers delivery service to clients during lunch.

“It’s a minimum of three meals and it brings the price down to $8.50 a meal. You can purchase any meal that’s in our grab-and-go refrigerator or you can purchase anything that’s on the menu, excluding the Poke Bowl,” Livingston said.

Livingston adds that they hardly use dairy and really just focus on making fresh food that is flavorful.

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