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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OPA: Enjoy a traditional Greek experience in Dubai

OPA, a Greek restaurant in the Fairmont hotel Dubai. (Supplied)
Updated 18 February 2019
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OPA: Enjoy a traditional Greek experience in Dubai

  • OPA offers a range of traditional Greek dishes and treats
  • Take a step into Greece with OPA's lavish decor

DUBAI: Upon entering Dubai’s latest Greek restaurant OPA at the Fairmont Hotel, diners are transported from the concrete jungle to a lavish, plant-filled lobby with a tree growing right in the center of the room, before moving into the dining area that’s been made to look like a traditional Greek establishment, with white-painted walls and light blue linings.

OPA offers a range of traditional Greek dishes and treats, many of which are similar to those found in most Mediterranean cuisines, but with a fancier touch.
Before we even sat down at our round, saloon-style couched table, loud (like, loud!) Greek music burst from the speakers as the waiters, dressed in chiton and peplos — traditional Greek clothing — gathered around and began dancing across the restaurant, inviting guests to join the fun and be a part of the unique experience. White, clay plates were passed to every table and diners were encouraged to smash them on the floor. More people were willing to get involved in the latter. Who knew the dining experience would come with an anger-management class?
First up was a trifecta of spicy feta, tzatziki and tarama dips coupled with seasoned and toasted triangular pita bread. While the tarama dip was fishier than others I’ve tasted, the spicy feta and tzatziki dips were lick-the-bowl-clean good. After came a chunky and refreshing Greek salad (because why not) and a black truffle tuna tartare that hit the spot both taste-wise and texturally, as the velvety softness of the raw fish worked well with the crispy koulouri.

The hot appetizers rolled in later — grilled octopus, prawns saganaki, and grilled Cypriot halloumi. While the grilled octopus offered little to differentiate it from other restaurant offerings, the saganaki offered a twist to the traditional flaming saganaki, with its feta cheese and roasted peppers-infused spicy tomato sauce. The halloumi was on another level — the sweetness of the grilled fig and grape dressing went hand in hand with the saltiness of the cheese, making it a pleasant surprise to the taste buds.
The mains began with three lamb chops served with pickled cucumbers and tzatziki, a hearty and rich dish that will have you sucking at the bone just to get more of the lamb flavor. Next up was the lobster orzo “risotto” (according to the menu), a grilled half-lobster marinated with seaweed butter laying on a bed of orzo mixed with tomato sauce. While the dish sounded extravagantly rich, it was actually rather flat — the flavors never really reached their full potential: the sauce was a tad bland and the lobster-to-orzo ratio leaned heavily on the orzo.

For dessert, we were served the OPA baklava sundae, a large crispy filo cup stuffed with pistachio cream, caramel and Greek yoghurt ice-cream, pieces of baklava and topped with crumbled pistachios and caramel sauce. It resembled a massive Turkish cupcake, and was enough for a table of four hungry diners. If you’re skilled enough to dig through from the top to the bottom and manage to balance all its components without having one fall, then you’re in for an exciting mouthful.

All in all, OPA is well worth a visit. Whether you’re in a group celebrating a birthday, a couple going out on a date or even going solo to reward yourself for surviving yet another hectic work week, take a step into Greece and away from Dubai’s tall towers and traffic-filled roads.