VALDOSTA — Life is busy and eating healthy takes time. DuMEALZ makes eating quick and easy.
To eat DuMEALZ, a resident can order off of the business website or visit the retail store and order from a variety of food options.
Once the food is picked up, it can be stored to be eaten later in the week or it can be taken home to be eaten immediately.
Because DuMealZ does food preparation, the food is not made to be eaten on site, it is made to be taken home and cooked at the customer’s pleasure.
In order to cook the food, the plastic covering on the food container needs to be popped, but still on the container. It is then placed in the microwave to be cooked for one or two minutes.
To cook the food on the stove, add about one teaspoon of water into a skillet along with the food. Cover the skillet and steam the food for about three to five minutes.
Owner Chat DuBoise describes DuMEALZ as “healthy gourmet food that is ready to go.”
DuBoise opened DuMEALZ to fill a void he sees in the area.
“People need healthy food,” he said. “There were no healthy options in South Georgia at the time except cooking for yourself.”
He started doing meal prep for his clients when he was a personal trainer, he said.
“I started cooking for my clients,” he said. “I was getting great results with the food I was cooking and my clients were getting great results.”
After a while, other trainers began sending their clients to me, he said.
So rather than compete with other trainers in the area, he partnered with them and started a new business.
“It’s like a light bulb went off,” DuBoise said.
While the business has been in operation for about two years, DuBoise recently opened a retail storefront to sell his products.
In the previous years, he had been selling his product directly off of the DuMEALZ website and customers could pick his or her food up at food pick-up locations.
The pick-up system worked well enough and allowed for DuBoise to partner with other businesses and keep the overhead low, but it did not give DuMEALZ an identity.
“No one ever felt like they were at DuMEALZ,” he said. “I felt like there wasn’t a real identity — something tangible people could walk into.”
The retail storefront gives DuMEALZ a place for people to come and look at the food and try new protein shakes. But it also allows employees and DuBoise a chance to work with customers and answer questions about having a healthy lifestyle.
For DuBoise and his business, what seems to be important is helping others.
DuBoise has meetings with his employees where he shows them how much weight one of DuMEALZ’s customers has lost, DuBoise said.
He said he tells his employees they are not cooking for a pay check; they are cooking to change people’s lives.
“The results, the customers — that is what drives me,” he said.
During the interview, he had to stop to answer a phone call from a customer. He invited the customer to come in and try different shakes to find the one he or she wanted and to get the best results.
After the conversation, he apologized, but said he has been working with the customer for some time trying to find the right products.
DuMEALZ, unlike other meal prep or health businesses, does not steer away from feeding customers items such as pizza, grits or braised greens, DuBoise said.
“I have people who eat macaroni and cheese and grits … and my clients get results,” he said. “It’s not just about losing weight, it is also about doing good food. It is the passion of making this stuff taste real good, but not making you feel real bad the next day.
“I have people who eat macaroni and cheese and grits … and my clients get results.”
DuBoise said he uses healthy alternatives when making his food.
Typically making non-healthy food, such as pizza, healthy is not cost effective for the average resident, He buys products in bulk at a reduced rate to help mitigate the cost and is able to pass the savings on to the customer.
DuMEALZ sells full entrees that contain meat, carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins, such as chicken macaroni and cheese, or bourbon chicken, DuBoise said.
It also sells grass-fed whey protein shakes, wraps, mayonnaise-free chicken salad made with organic Greek yogurt, vitamin and mineral drinks, breakfast items such as protein waffles and all organic eggs; imported organic teas; pink Himalayan salt products such as lamps and bags of pink salt; and DuWa.
DuWa is alkaline water and absorbs 100 percent into the body, he said.
Pink Himalayan salt is a mineral filled with 80 trace minerals that is hand mined from the Himalayan Mountains in Pakistan, he said.
DuBoise has plans to expand DuMEALZ and find ways to help customers make their experience better.
“Our next phase is to do call-backs to customers,” he said.
DuBoise wants to use the call-backs to help customers achieve their goals.
He plans to expand and open more kitchens and retail stores regionally.
“I’m hoping we can duplicate this,” he said.
He would like to make DuMEALZ a franchise, he said.
“I want to make a meal-prep business blueprint,” Duboise said.
DuMEALS is located at 3323 Bemiss Road, Suite F, and is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
For more information, call (844) 386-3259, visit www.dumealz.com or find it on Facebook.
Jason Smith is a reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be contacted at 229-244-3400 ext.1256.