Three women, one goal: Tasty, healthy meals in a box

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Updated 02 March 2016
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Three women, one goal: Tasty, healthy meals in a box

To provide convenient and nutritious dining programs for health conscious people, three mothers, Rawan, Sara and Nora run a healthy food business called “The Health Box”. They believe that nutrition is a big part of any good fitness program as without proper nutrition any workout is destined to fail.
Sara had a catering business before she got interested in fitness, while Nora and Rawan enjoyed living a healthy lifestyle. All three of them are certified fitness trainers who not only love eating healthy food, but also care about its taste.

In conversation with Arab News, Rawan shared how she and her team pioneered healthy eating through their entrepreneurial drive.

Tell us how you started The Health Box?
I always loved desserts and had a sweet tooth, but as a fitness trainer I wanted to follow my eating plans and avoid sugary foods. Since, I can’t live without chocolate I decided to experiment in the kitchen to create recipes that are satisfying just like any other brownie. However, my goal was to make healthy desserts that even kids would enjoy and it worked.
Eventually, I started testing it on friends and family who all fell in love with it and our clients from the gym started ordering it. Then after introducing training concepts with Nora called SWEAT Box, she suggested we make healthy post-workout meals such as sandwiches as she was already popular for her homemade healthy sandwiches.
Later Sara’s love for cooking emerged again and that’s when the three of us decided to start The Health Box. We knew the demand was there, and there weren’t any reliable high quality healthy meal plan providers in Jeddah so we saw an opportunity to be the first healthy food suppliers.

And what is The Health Box?
The Health Box is a center for healthy gourmet food service, where we offer a variety of programs that provide meal plan packages tailored according to each person’s dietary needs or fitness goals.

As a founding entrepreneur of a company, how has the experience been for you and what were the challenges?
The experience has been amazing, although we made lots of errors. The most important thing is to learn and not make the same mistakes again. I don’t think there were any unexpected challenges because every day was a challenge. Finding reliable suppliers that can provide us with high quality food and be consistently available was one of the challenges.

Tell us about your menu, any popular dish?
Our menus are diverse that fit any healthy lifestyle our clients are interested in. We offer Paleo, Whole30, vegetarian, vegan and balanced dishes to fit all individual needs. We believe there is no one diet that fits all. We also try to introduce authentic dishes that are close to home like our popular spiced quinoa bukhari prepared in the traditional Saudi way, which people love and enjoy the most.

Where do you buy organic food from?
When we want to buy organic products, we buy from the local organic supplier Organica.

How do you manage to promote healthy eating?
As fitness trainers, we are passionate about eating healthy and it is important to feel properly fueled for training sessions that will make us feel good inside and out. We want everyone to get this great feeling of energy for which we try our best to promote healthy eating with the help of social media. We always give out health tips through our Instagram and Snapchat accounts (@the_healthbox).

Who are your customers?
Our customers are those who understand the value of healthy living and feeling better. They are those who want to lose weight, gain weight in a healthy way or those who just want to maintain their weight but live a healthy life. We cater to all needs through different programs.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and business leaders?
1. To be in a business you are truly passionate about because then only you will succeed and work hard to make it work while enjoying it too.
2. If you are going to partner up with somebody, they should be just as passionate and dedicated as you are and share your interesting ideas or else that partnership won’t work.
3. To be unique you have to be competitive and make your ideas exceptional.

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Chef couple wins many hearts by giving international dishes a Saudi twist

Budoor Al-Solami, left, and Waleed Moathen have recreated many dishes and desserts such as muffins with dates and tahini. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 17 November 2018
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Chef couple wins many hearts by giving international dishes a Saudi twist

  • The chef duo started their YouTube channel ‘Saa’widha’ just five months ago

JEDDAH: Budoor Al-Solami, 26, and Waleed Moathen, 28, started their YouTube channel “Saa’widha” (to turn it Saudi) under the cooking channel Atyab Tabkha just five months ago.
Atyab Tabkha is sponsored by digital media company Diwanee. All the chef couple’s episodes have been made at Atyab Tabkha’s studio in Dubai.
The couple takes any international dish and give it a Saudi spin. Their creativity and ideas are fun and broad. The couple have recreated many dishes and desserts such as muffins with dates and tahini.
“Usually, it is the international kitchen that receives all the fame and spotlight, and rarely does the Arab or Saudi kitchen have a media presence,” Al-Solami told Arab News. “Which is why we decided to invent something new, merging international kitchens in a Saudi way. Especially because the Saudi kitchen is characterized by its various flavors and high taste,” she added.
To recreate these international dishes with Saudi flavors, the couple use Saudi spices and agricultural products “produced by our country such as dates, local meat and the unique Taif flowers,” said Moathen.
Al-Solami works at a five-star hotel and Moathen is an executive chef at a restaurant. Leading such busy lives, the couple still manage to find a balance between their jobs and their channel.
“The nature of our job requires us to work for long hours, sometimes 12 hours in a day. For this reason we decided, with the agreement of the company, that we film our episodes during our vacation days.”
The channel came to fruition when Diwanee was looking for Saudi chefs.
“They contacted me. They wanted to create a regular cooking show just like any other cooking show, then Waleed and I thought of how we can change the idea of traditional cooking and shows, and we wanted to put the Saudi kitchen in our show. This is how ‘Saa’widha’ was created,” according to Al-Solami.
“And this was how we came up with many ideas such as the Saudi sushi, and Waleed came up with vegan ice cream with Saudi ingredients such as almond coffee. We even made focaccia bread and muffins with a Saudi twist,” she explained.

Working is fun
Working together is fun and full of surprises, said Moathen. “When we cook, we really enjoy it and we share new ideas with each other.”
“Saa’widha,” of course, is displayed in Arabic, but the couple are planning to add subtitles in different languages in their next season. “Especially because we have friends of different nationalities,” explained Moathen.
Their show was warmly received by the Saudi audience, and the two are showered with positive comments under each episode.

 

 “I am very happy to see the interaction of people in the comments, and their kind words and positive support,” said Al-Solami
“I am overjoyed and this encourages me to continue what I love and what the viewers love,” said Moathen.
Al-Solami and Moathen studied tourism and hospitality respectively and wish to open a restaurant chain and culinary school.

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Almond Coffee

A hot Hejazi beverage traditionally made with milk, ground almonds, rice flour, sugar and cinnamon, and is popular during winter season.