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In a world where fast food has dominated the culinary landscape for decades, the emergence of health-conscious alternatives has been a refreshing and vital change.

Choose Fit Nutrition in Saline is redefining how people think about healthy meals, taste, affordability, and convenience. The innovative concept won the 2023 Saline Chamber of Commerce People’s Choice Award for Best New Business and Best Takeout.

“People can eat healthy food and enjoy the flavor,” says Dalia Zarka, co-founder of Choose Fit. “You don’t have to give up one or the other. You know, and it can be convenient. You know, normally, when it’s convenient, it’s frozen. Or it doesn’t taste good.”

Choose Fit Nutrition Co-founder Dalia Zarka. Photo by Doug Marrin.

The idea began when Dalia’s brother, JD, overtook his sister’s kitchen with his passion for experimenting and cooking healthy meals. JD is a competitive bodybuilder who likes a good meal but has to be efficient in nutrition. His preoccupation with meal preparation got to the point Dalia told him he would have to take it elsewhere. Dalia’s husband and JD huddled off to the side for a bit and then announced they were making a business of it.

Dalia didn’t falter. “OK, let’s do it right,” she told them. “Let’s get a commissary because you need a commercial kitchen. Let’s do this then.”

Meals cost about $10 and come ready to eat. Just heat them for two minutes in the microwave. Courtesy Dalia Zarka.

The sister and brother weren’t exactly new to the food business. They already had a catering service. The two found a space in Dearborn, renovated it, and received their food license the day before the COVID lockdown. But Dalia and JD hung in there and persevered. As things opened up, they followed their plan of placing refrigerators in gyms and stocking them with Choose Fit meals.

But their commissary operation had one big drawback. “I had never met most of our customers in Dearborn,” explains Dalia. “We have opened this place in Saline so customers can come in. We can meet them, get to know them, and make recommendations based on their preferences.”

Dalia (center) received the 2023 Saline People’s Choice Award. Courtesy Dalia Zarka.

Winning the Saline Best New Business Award isn’t solely about offering great food. It’s also about being an integral part of the community. Choose Fit Nutrition has established itself as a gathering point for health-conscious individuals who seek nourishment and a sense of belonging to the movement.

Dalia has given away a lot of food. A LOT. But it isn’t easy to get her to talk about it. “I don’t want to use it as a marketing tool,” she explains. “Our idea is we want to help.” But talking to those who know Dalia, the sister and brother have given away hundreds, maybe thousands of meals to schools, front-line workers, and other groups.

Dalia knows the overwhelmingly positive impact of eating well and wants others to experience that, too. However, she is well aware of the obstacles people face in achieving that. Removing those obstacles is the crux of their mission.

The author was treated to a Thai Chile Chicken & Pasta meal and can verify the satisfying aroma, flavor, and portion. Photo by Doug Marrin.

“Everyone knows it’s healthier to eat better, but they might not know the recipes, and it can be expensive,” she explains. “We can make the meals and sell them to you at a lower cost than what you would pay to make them at home. We save you the time of shopping and preparing the meal. They come ready to eat. Just heat them up.”

Choose Fit Nutrition has a variety of breakfast, chicken, beef, and seafood meals. They have over 300 menu selections rotating through the store. They also accept the Bridge Card so those on a lower income can afford to eat healthier.

“I normally don’t brag about the meals,” says Dalia. “If someone hesitates, I’m like, ‘Try the meal.’ The food will sell itself. The only way for you to know is to try it.”

Choose Fit is located in the plaza at 960 E Michigan Ave, Saline, a few doors from Planet Fitness. For more information, visit https://www.choosefitnutrition.com/

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