Tampa's FitLife Foods offers healthy "fast food" for the sane

Brace yourself for his curiously sane concept: offer tasty, healthy meals ready to eat in under two minutes.

Open only a few months, FitLife so far sells a whopping 42 different heat-at-home breakfast, lunch and dinner meals (plus snacks) made daily with fresh, often organic, ingredients. They go easy on salt and fats. Calories are modest.
Not that you’d know this to eat it. Especially after I tried the decidedly un-diety-tasting BBQ beef and mac n' cheese meal, garnished with fresh diced chives.

“We focus on real food,” explains Osterweil, who credits his background as Outback Steakhouse exec and avid runner with helping to inspire FitLife. “We’re not about what new green no one has heard of yet.”

Meals are packed in small, medium and large sizes for different appetites and nutritional needs. “Why should a grandma and an offensive lineman eat the same amount?” Osterweil says.

He says customers tend to be of several types — young, time-crunched professionals; performance athletes — including a good number of Bucs, Rays and Lightning players who are regulars — and older folks and those looking to lose weight.

Patrons use FitLife in one of a few different ways. They come in and grab one or two meals, or maybe a week’s worth. They opt for the 21-day challenge, effectively committing to three-weeks of meals, a particularly popular choice for those "(who have) just had a baby or are back from vacation and want to get back to feeling fitter," Osterweil says.

And then there are those who go for an ongoing account. Or what Osterweil calls, "our college meal plan for adults." For $899, you get a thousand dollars’ worth of meals.

Along with meals, FitLife offers complimentary wellness coaching sessions, including a test of how fast your body burns calories. They can even help recommend a personal trainer.

Meanwhile, Osterweil is busy scouting other locations around Tampa Bay. He's also hoping to add a drop-off service so customers can pick up FitLife meals from office buildings and gyms. And come June, customers will be able to place orders online.

All images courtesy of FitLife Foods.

FitLife Foods founder David Osterweil.
  • FitLife Foods' owner David Osterweil.

The history of diet fads is a rich one here in America and judging from crazes popular today, we seem to be living in a golden era of nutty nutrition ideas.

Most are silly, such as aping the eating habits of early man (so-called Paleo diet); some are stupid, my favorite example being injecting yourself with pregnant women's pee (I am not making this up).

Which is why I’m surprised at the success of South Tampa’s FitLife Foods, the flagship shop of what founder David Osterweil hopes will become a statewide, even national, chain.

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