Chicago-based company Nurture Life is focusing on delivering healthy, ready-to-eat meals for children from the age of 6 months up until 18 years.
A sampling of Nurture Life's meals

More and more research shows that what you feed your children when they're young has a big impact on future eating habits, which can be a lot of pressure for busy parents. Sometimes getting dinner on the table is hard enough, let alone a meal that's healthy and balanced. It was this challenge that inspired tech industry veterans Steven Minisini and Jennifer Chow to launch Nurture Life, a ready-to-eat meal delivery service designed specifically for kids.

Chow says, "We experienced the need for something like this firsthand. When I was living in San Francisco, I was working a demanding full-time job and had a 4 1/2-year-old and a 1-year-old on my hands. When I was at home, I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my kids, so I often found myself cooking really late at night. I thought there's got to be a better way. I wanted to feed my kids something fresh and wholesome with a variety of different ingredients, and I didn't love the options available at the grocery store." After polling other parents as well as several pediatricians, Chow and Minisini felt that there was definitely a need in the market, and Nurture Life was born.

Nurture Life offers meals plans that range from $45 to $119 per week for seven different age groups: 6+ months, 8+ months, 10+ months, 1-3 years, 4-8 years, 9-13 years, and 14+ years. The menu changes weekly and is developed by a team of chefs and an on-staff pediatric dietitian; meals are cooked and portioned based on the child's age and nutritional needs. Organic and locally sourced ingredients are used whenever possible, and common allergens including peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish are always omitted. The meals are also free of four other items on parents' must-avoid lists: artificial ingredients, added sugars, trans fats, and high-fructose corn syrup.

Spoons of Nurture Life's baby food

Minisini says, "We're coming at this from a lifestyle perspective for families. We want to assist parents with the entire transition, from children at 6 months who are just starting their foray into solids up until they're 18 years old. We're looking to help parents not feel guilty about not having the time or wherewithal to cook by providing this unique healthy option for kids."

Meals are delivered cold, last up to a week in the refrigerator, and just require a quick reheat. Why not the frozen route? Chow explains, "We spoke to a lot of families, and the feedback we got definitely indicated that they would prefer fresh food and would be okay with the perishability as long as there were no added ingredients or preservatives." Nurture Life currently ships to the Midwest and East Coast from their production facility in Chicago, but they are aiming to expand to both coasts.

If you're wondering what the adults are supposed to eat, Chow says, "We actually have quite a few parents who eat our meals as well. They order the 14+ subscriptions, which are pretty much the equivalent of an adult-sized meal." And while adding family meals and meals for individual adults might be an avenue for Nurture Life in the future, right now, it's all about the kids.


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