From UND Alumni Association & Foundation, North Dakota Living reports
Busy folks and families who want nutritious meals quickly are finding Power Plate Meals to be the answer.
Haylee Houkom, along with her husband, Seth, owns and operates the growing, popular Power Plate Meals, which currently has five North Dakota locations, and one in Minnesota.
PHOTO COURTESY UND ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Now with six locations, the meal prep business offers an array of ready-to-eat nutritious meals for busy people. While turkey porcupine meatballs, chicken fried rice and tater-tot hotdish stand out as some of the most popular choices, customers can pick among 11 meal options that rotate every two weeks.
“You just pop it in the microwave for about two minutes. Each meal is 410 calories or less. The protein, carbs and fat content is listed on each container and every ingredient is measured to the absolute T. It’s super easy,” says Haylee Houkom, Power Plate Meals founder, along with her husband, Seth. Haylee (Swanson) Houkom is a 2013 graduate of the University of North Dakota.
Haylee and Seth are former body-building competitors and are health and nutrition conscious. They converted what Haylee calls the “crazy” notion about going into business based on nutritious foods they prepared and liked.
“Seth has always loved eating and cooking healthy,” Haylee says. “We started out in a rental kitchen in Fargo in January of 2016. We were doing pickup meals where people could come to the shop once a week and get their food and we were also shipping out meals. Back then, we were making about 25 meals in a batch. Now our batches are 250 meals.”
“In April 2016, we opened our first actual store in West Fargo. At that time, Seth and I were doing it all – the cooking, managing, prepping, marketing, everything. I worked the store front Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. We wondered what we had gotten into,” Haylee says, with a laugh.
A UND College of Nursing grad, Haylee worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Sanford Health for four years following UND. Haylee says she’s been able to transfer the responsible work ethic, and workload handling skills from nursing school to their food business.
Power Plate Meals has expanded to three locations in the Fargo area, one in Grand Forks, one in Bismarck, and one in Eagan, Minn. Cass County Electric Cooperative serves one of the Fargo locations; Capital Electric Cooperative serves the Bismarck location.
Customers can come in and purchase meals to take home and heat later, or they can have a seat and enjoy their meal right in the store. Each fresh meal has an expiration date (they are good for about a week) or customers can buy frozen meals, which last about three to four months in the freezer.
Haylee says Power Plates is currently producing 8,000-10,000 meals a week and ships to 12 states. Power Plates has a 4,000-square-foot industrial kitchen in West Fargo. Seth runs the kitchen, while Haylee manages the stores. And, they now have additional full-time chefs and a growing workforce. Public health food inspection is conducted by the N.D. State Meat and Poultry Agency.
“There is really nothing else like this in North Dakota and people love the fact that they can come and pick up meals that are ready to go – and the fact that they are healthy is a bonus,” Haylee says. To learn more, visit www.powerplatemeals.com.
Condensed, updated version of article originally appearing in UND Alumni Association “Alumni Review,” spring 2018, by Leanna Ihry; “Alumni Review” article materials reprinted with permission.