Eat Sunny: The Future of Meal Delivery
Tatiana Boncompagni is the founder of Eat Sunny- an organic, ready-made meal delivery service based in New York City. They specialize in healthy food options, designed to boost immunity, satisfy, and support beauty from the inside out- oh, and make eating healthy delicious! She is a former beauty, fashion, health, and food writer, and has an extensive history in personal health and fitness.
First of all- tell us your favorite Eat Sunny meal!
My favorite meal is our Cauliflower Eggplant Balls with Spicy Sweet Potato Sauce, farro and sautéed kale. I think it’s a great example of how inventive and modern our meals are while also being delicious, satisfying and full of the nutrients that support our immunity, fight free-radical damage (and thus premature aging) and prevent chronic disease. I think serving food that tastes good is tablestakes but you would be surprised what I hear from our customers. Eating healthy food is like exercise — if you enjoy doing it, you’ll keep doing it. If you don’t, you won’t. So my job is to make sure the whole Eat Sunny experience is enjoyable from start to finish.
What does sustainability mean to you in relation to the food industry?
I think of sustainability in ways that perhaps most people don’t. One, I think that our “diet” or nutritional approach should be sustainable, meaning that this is not a crash diet or a way of eating that’s impossible to maintain in the longer term. Any wellness expert or nutritionist will tell you that with any healthy habit, consistency is key. That’s why we follow the Mediterranean diet protocols, because it is a way of eating that you can follow with less difficulty than say the “paleo” diet or “keto” diet or Intermittent fasting.
Second, so much food waste happens at the farm, grocery store and home levels. How often do you buy vegetables and see them wilt and go bad in your fridge? I think that’s why a lot of people hesitate to buy vegetables and fruit. We designed our breakfasts and dinners to be able to go in the freezer so if life throws you a curveball and you can’t eat your Eat Sunny meal, you can freeze it and reheat it later. The only exception are the salad lunches.
Third sustainability also pertains to the impact of the ingredients we use in our meals on our beautiful planet. Our meals are “mostly plants” to borrow from one of my favorite authors Michael Pollan. And we use organic, local ingredients as much as possible, ethically sourced animal proteins served in smaller amounts (4-6 oz) and beef only sporadically since cattle raising has the biggest impact on the carbon emissions of all the meats. You may say well vegetarian is more ethical or vegan is the best thing for the planet, but again, I believe that is not always a sustainable way for people to eat. Some people feel best eating a little bit of meat and so this is an improvement for them, a way to lean in to eating more plants. Now I’m borrowing from my old friend Kathy Freston, she was the first one to introduce me to the concept of “leaning in,” long before Sheryl Sandberg used those words to describe something totally different.
Last, we pay attention to packaging and use fiber, biodegradable trays and PLA (plant-based) lids and minimal other packaging to reduce waste.
I named the company Eat Sunny to remind myself always that everything is energy. Plants take the energy from the sun and use it to grow. We eat those plants or we eat animals that eat those plants, so we are literally eating energy of the sun when we consume real, non-processed food. Food is what physically binds us to the stars above and earth below.
With an extensive background in personal fitness, beauty writing, and publishing novels, what inspired you to create a meal delivery service business?
It’s true I’ve worn a lot of hats: author, editor, personal trainer and mom. My life is very demanding. I have often felt, at some times more than others, like I wanted more support. I hungered for validation for all that I do in a given day. I think I am not alone and that in our culture and society we need more support — that’s what Eat Sunny is really about. We sell food, but what I want our customers to really feel is that there is a business out there that gets how hard and busy their life can be and wants to take care of them, take one thing off their plate (making food) and help them stay healthy so they can enjoy their lives and bodies as much as possible.
As a health and beauty editor and as a personal trainer I picked up the knowledge of what people should be eating to optimize their health and prevent premature aging, inflammation and chronic illnesses. Through Eat Sunny I’m not just telling them what to eat, but actually solving the problem for them by putting that food in their fridge.
What’s next for Eat Sunny?
We are expanding regionally this fall and starting to work on some grab-and-go and retail products. We are in start up phase and looking to do our seed round to really be able to hit the go button on our little rocket ship. We’ve had an amazing launch, received tons of amazing press and our customers are so loyal. More than I anticipated, so we are also developing more recipes to provide variety for those who have been sticking with us for weeks and weeks.
Who is a woman that inspires you, and why?
I’m inspired by my mentor Magatte Wade. She is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Skin is Skin, a lip balm (sold in Whole Foods and elsewhere) that helps fund research into bias and also provide jobs and schools in her native Senegal. Magatte is a force — incredibly smart, warm, and beautiful inside and out. She is one of the first people who said, “Tatiana, you are capable. I believe in you.” I try to pass that on now. Once someone does that for you, you instinctively know that it is your responsibility to do that for other women. We all need someone in our corner.
How do you stay motivated to remain physically active amidst quarantine?
Ah, well luckily I have been exercising for so long that it is hard wired for me. Health is habit. Our bodies love habit and crave what we feed it and if you are used to lots of endorphin-releasing exercise — runner’s high or the high you get from lifting weights — then it is quite easy to maintain your routine and you are motivated to adapt. I only had 15 lb weights so I had to make do with them, runs in Central Park and ab exercises with washcloths! Necessity is the mother of invention as they say! I admit it was sometimes hard to stray motivated lifting at home because the weights were small and I love being around the energy of other people. I’m so excited my Equinox has finally opened.
What is a quote that drives you?
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.” Mark Twain. Everyone starts out as the little dog. You don’t get to be the big dog without a lot heart and little crazy. You must believe in yourself, your vision, your mission.
Tatiana is wearing our MARÍA slip dress
What is your favorite Katla piece?
Ah, that’s easy. The MARÍA slip dress. It is so effortlessly chic and drapes beautifully, feels so good against my skin. I love that it’s made to order and with fabric I can feel good about.
What is a trait you hope will be the hallmark of the next generation?
I have three children. Two are in high school and one in elementary school. They are so more empathetic, inclusive and are incredibly aware and passionate about social justice and environmental issues. I am so proud of them and I really believe their generation is going to change the world. If I had to pick one trait I think it would be inclusivity. My kids feel free to be who they are. I love how accepting their generation is and how they are able to use this time of their lives to discover their authentic identities. They are so liberated and free. Makes me feel optimistic for the future of our planet.