By Kelcey Norris
Youngstown State University alumnus Gino West founded Prepped Wellness, a personalized meal preparation company delivered right to his customers’ doors in 2017. The company offers personalized meal preparation that is healthy with a variety of allergen-friendly options.
West has eliminated the hassles of eating healthy by designing the recipes, picking up ingredients, preparing and delivering meals.
“We do all the shopping and cooking; you just have to eat,” West said. “I use all high quality goods, fresh, nothing frozen. Everything is dairy-free, gluten-free and fresh.”
Customers virtually submit their menu orders on Wednesday nights. West gathers ingredients during the week and prepares their meals on Sunday, which are delivered or picked up later in the day.
YSU students who write in the comment section stating they attend the university will receive a discount.
During his first year at YSU, West decided to make some changes concerning his weight.
“At this point, I was 350 pounds,” he said. “One day, I had an internal snap. In 2009, my sister was approved for bariatric surgery. Then I got on the scale and knew that something had to change, like now.”
West said this moment was the beginning of his health and wellness journey.
“I ate really clean, like chicken, salads and fruit, Monday through Friday, then gave myself the weekends to eat what I want,” West said. “I lost 140 pounds in a year and a half. I wasn’t even exercising, this was just strictly me moderating my food intake.”
His weight loss journey inspired him to study health and nutrition at the university. He wanted to help others develop healthy eating habits, too.
“Helping people and caring for people has always been my passion. So I thought, ‘What can I do to take the thought process out of maintaining and living this healthy lifestyle?’” West said. “Well, why don’t I just do it for them?”
After graduating from YSU in 2015 with a dietetic degree, he began the first stage of Prepped Wellness.
With his culinary experience, West became a personal chef, preparing healthy meals for 15 customers per week at their homes.
“I did all the grocery shopping, the whole nine yards for them. I’m essentially a personal healthy lifestyle chef,” he said. “I came to your house and prepared everything for you for the week. That went on for about a year and a half.”
Business was booming, and West said it was more than he could handle alone. He expanded his healthy meal preparation operation in early 2019 into a small business.
“Now, I’m covering five counties, three delivery drivers and a team of eight people working under me,” West said. “What I created was a very easy concept for people to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle without having to do much. The menu is always changing; it’s fun and people have just been raving about how great the food tastes.”
Meal prep packages start at $40 for five different entrées. West said the most popular package among his customers is the 5-5-5-5 pack for $60, which includes breakfast, salads, fruits and entrées.
“I’m super competitive with my prices, with both my direct competitors in Youngstown and also the big-box people,” West said.
Although his food is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetable-heavy it’s still flavorful, according to West.
“People think it’ll be just steamed chicken and boiled broccoli. No, food is flavor. I want it to be a good experience for you but also be awesome for your body,” he said. “You’re eating clean, sustainable energy while also getting a high-flavor rate, so it’s really the best of both worlds with this meal prep.”
For more details on Prepped Wellness, visit preppedwellness.com or check out its social media.