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Nutritional value: How do you combine healthy living with ready-to-eat meals? Three entrepreneurs share their stories.

May 13, 2013

Rebecca Cooper, Washington Business Journal


It’s green goddess soup time in the momme meals kitchen, which means owner Kristen Bocanegra is cleaning and chopping kale. Lots and lots of kale.
Stopping every few minutes to assign a new task to the kitchen staff, the petite, energetic blonde checks and double-checks her recipe spreadsheets, critiques the thickness of carrot slices and speed walks back and forth to grab more prep trays for the kale.
That is Bocanegra on a calm day.
Momme meals, which sells frozen natural and organic meals with a nutrition profile ideal for new moms and their families, is just over a year old, but Bocanegra, 35, only recently made it a full-time gig, giving up her day job as a nonprofit executive in Alexandria.
“Before, I’d be rushing to get it all done before 10 p.m., 11 p.m. … 1 a.m.,” she said as she took a break from chopping on a recent afternoon. “This is so much better.”
The kale is a new addition to the green goddess soup. Now that she has the time, Bocanegra is tweaking the recipe to include the more nutrient-packed kale and leeks.
“There’s certainly been this groundswell in the nutrition movement, but our lifestyle hasn’t changed in many ways and you’re faced with the question: How do you not work 24/7 and still prepare healthy meals?” she said.
Bocanegra doesn’t have children of her own, but she started thinking about creating her company after taking a cooler full of homemade frozen food to a friend who just had a baby.
She was able to start momme meals with less than $5,000, although her total investment during the past year has been around $40,000. She is still the company’s only employee, although she has part-time kitchen staffers who help make the food. Read More