Clean Eatz in Danvers looks to make healthy eating easy and affordable – The Salem News

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DANVERS — Having a healthy diet can be more of a challenge than just cutting out fatty foods. It can be a huge stress on your wallet as the cost of nutritious items like fresh produce are often much more expensive than cheap, processed food.

One restaurant franchise — Clean Eatz, with more than 85 locations in the U.S. — aims to help fix this problem by providing communities with affordable, accessible, and nutritious meals that promote personal wellness.

Salem resident Cindy VerColen, retired CEO of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, opened the franchise’s first location north of Pennsylvania late last year in Danvers, and the convenient and healthy meal options that the restaurant provides have become increasingly popular in the community.

“I think the concept is something we’re missing in our daily lives,” VerColen said. “I had a crazy job, my husband had a crazy job, and our kids were in every sport known to man. and as a parent, I tried my best, but when we were traveling all over New England to go to hockey games, we went to fast food joints and just got whatever we could into our bodies.

“My son scored a hat-trick in one game and I was horrified because he thought it was because he had two chocolate-covered donuts right before.”

The restaurant has a dine-in cafe, grab-n-go meals, catering options, and a weekly meal-prep service with a rotating menu. The design of Clean Eatz is intended to give customers healthy options no matter if they’re looking for a sit-down meal or a quick bite.

With burgers, melts, wings, and more on the menu, the franchise aims to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to mean cutting out the foods that diners love.

“People come in here and are like, ‘I don’t know how this is healthy for me’. Because we don’t really restrict foods. I mean, half of our freezers have mac and cheese in them,” VerColen said. “It’s just that we use low-fat products like whole-wheat pasta, and we don’t drown it in the cheese sauce.

“It’s very well balanced. and I think that one of the misnomers in our society is that people think going on a diet is eating salads. You should be eating whatever you want.

“We don’t fry foods, we don’t use butter very often, we don’t add salt, and we don’t add sugar,” she said, “but we use our sauces that have salt, sugar in them in a minimal way so that you’re not getting all those calories and fats in your system. Everything in moderation.”

VerColen learned about the Clean Eatz franchise while at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Transitioning from traveling around the globe for more than 16 years as a CEO, she realized that slowing down and being at home with family was where she preferred to be. After meeting with Clean Eatz owners Don and Evonne Varady, she soon realized she could continue her work in health and wellness while giving back to her community.

“I think Clean Eatz as a brand focuses on much more than your typical athlete or fitness gurus, and that really hit home to me,” VerColen said. “We live in a fast-paced world and something quick to eat is often needed. and there’s very few convenient healthy food choices in the United States, which I think is one of the reasons we have such an obesity problem.

“So I think this is a concept that we need more of now — especially since there are no Clean Eatz locations north of Pennsylvania. This is the first one, so that was exciting for me because I really wanted to be involved in something that was new.”

Due to the success the location has seen since opening in December, VerColen is considering additional restaurant eateries down the line.

“I would definitely like to open more locations. New England is just hard because we’re an affordable restaurant and because of that I need to make sure that my rent, utilities, etc. are where they need to be — and those places are difficult to find here. If all goes well here and revenue keeps tinkering upward as I’ve been seeing, I think it’s an option,” she said.

Clean Eatz in Danvers is at 156 Andover St. and is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.

Michael McHugh can be contacted at [email protected] or at 781-799-5202

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