Eleven years ago, Melissa Chappell — known as “Raw Melissa” around town — turned her passion for making healthy food into a business. The mom-of-four grew up at the apron strings of two very talented cooks — her mother and grandmother. Melissa followed suit and started working as a personal chef. Her clients raved about her healthy versions of desserts like key lime pie and chocolate-covered macaroons. She decided to try her hand at selling her desserts in stores. When a local health food store agreed, she made her first business investment of $30 for ingredients to make a single pie. She cut up the pie into 12 pieces, and it flew off the shelves.
That pie launched a successful dessert line business and Melissa has gone on to become a popular teacher, speaker and cookbook author. Melissa calls her philosophy on eating well “a gentler and happier approach to health.”
Here are some of Melissa’s top tips for keeping taste but stirring in more healthy.
“Once you start to get full on the healthy stuff, you will actually start to crave it.” —Melissa Chapell, personal chef
Easy Does It
One of Melissa’s biggest pieces of advice for the average person trying to eat healthier is this: ease into it.
“If you completely change everything all at once, you will go into shock,” Melissa says. “And it won’t last.”
She often suggests starting with adding in smoothies for a week. Then salads and so on.
“Once you start to get full on the healthy stuff, you will actually start to crave it,” Melissa says.
Get Global in the Kitchen
Melissa says learning to cook your own food and enjoy it is one of the biggest things that can change your lifestyle dramatically.
“Simple things like learning how to make vegetables taste really good can change everything,” Melissa says.
Ethnic food recipes are a good place to start.
“They usually incorporate a lot of whole foods,” Melissa says.
Plus, they often use rich spices for flavor instead of the salt, sugar and fat often used to make things taste good.
When it comes to helping kids eating healthier, Melissa says we need to look at the topic with fresh eyes.
“The first step is to stop assuming that kids will only eat grilled cheese and chicken fingers,” she says.
Smoothies and soups are healthier foods that kids usually respond well to.
“For salads, it’s all about getting them a good dressing,” Melissa says. “Most every kids likes ranch and even if it’s not the healthiest, it will get them eating salad.”
If your kids are older and have distinct tastes, simply make healthy food available to them. Put out small bowls of healthy choices on the kitchen counter: carrots, cashews, fruit, etc.