She Was Meal-Prepping Before It Was Cool: What the Girl Boss Behind Healthy Fresh Meals Eats in a Day

Carb-spacing, lots of cinnamon, and whatever she wants on weekends.

Shana Greenbaum. Photo by Ajani Simmons.

Her whole life, Shana Greenbaum has been eating healthy and involved in sports and fitness. But, she says, “As I got older, and more and more busy, I found it hard to always have the right foods around me.” So around five years ago, the 31-year-old got serious about what’s basically the cooking equivalent of busy work: meal prepping.

“I remember everyone around me asking how I stayed in shape, and why I always had little containers of food with me everywhere I went,” she says. (Keep in mind this was before meal-prep was its own holy Sunday ritual within the fitness community). What sprung out of innocuous little containers turned into a full-fledged meal-prep and delivery service, Healthy Fresh Meals, which Greenbaum launched in 2016. It now serves DC, Maryland, and Virginia with a variety of menu options, including clean, low-carb, and customizable depending on dietary needs.

Today, the CEO brings a balanced approach to eating, relying on moderation and portion control without cutting out any foods. She hits the gym four times per week and eats whatever she wants on the weekends. Here’s what a typical—non-weekend—day looks like.

7AM: Breakfast

Breakfast is Greenbaum’s biggest meal of the day. “I always start my day with coffee. I can’t live without it! This morning I made oatmeal, eggs, and bacon.  I switch it up between oatmeal and Cream of Rice for my carb, and I always do some sort of eggs or egg whites. I also switch between bacon, turkey bacon, and sausage depending on what I have on hand.  And occasionally I add fruit to my oatmeal.”  She adds cinnamon to her oatmeal and coffee for flavor.

10AM: Snack

Greenbaum eats every three to four hours. By 10AM, it’s snack time, which she sets an alarm for in case she gets carried away with work. “I try to give myself some kind of fruit, nut bar, or natural green juice. This gives me natural energy from the fruit or veggies, and also keeps me full until lunch.”

2PM: Lunch

“I always order food for myself though my company—it’s super-easy to have on hand, and I of course love all the dishes we create. I’ll usually keep a few on hand at home and in the kitchen so I have a lunch or dinner available at all times.  This week we have my absolute favorite on the menu, chicken fajitas. It’s a fuller meal because of the beans and rice, so I ate this one today for lunch because I was heading to the gym and needed the carbs for lifting.

6PM: Snack

For a quick source of post-gym recovery nutrients, Greenbaum turns to shakes made from plant-based protein. “I do eat dairy, but for my protein shakes I prefer a plant based protein, as I feel it tastes better and doesn’t cause bloating.  I switch up the flavors to keep it interesting, but always have these in my bag as a quick snack.”

8PM: Dinner

“I like to have my last meal at least two hours before I sleep. A fellow meal-prepper and friend of mine makes the most delicious salads, so I always order a few from her every week to keep on hand for lunches and dinners.  Since I had a heavier lunch, I opted just for the salad for dinner.  Sometimes I’ll throw a fresh piece of salmon or chicken from my kitchen on top for added protein.”

Kim Olsen

Kim Olsen ([email protected]) is a freelance writer in Alexandria.