UNION SQUARE — It's like Seamless for the dieting set.
A startup based in Union Square is helping hungry New Yorkers stay on budget — and in shape — by curating the most nutritious options into a custom menu ready for order and delivery in a half-hour or less.
“My goal is to try to make healthy eating something that is accessible and convenient for the average person,” said Chris Mirabile, 29, of the Financial District, who founded the website Healthy Hand earlier this year and started making deliveries to parts of the city in June.
“People carry their food around, microwave pre-made frozen food or learn about their meals by looking through menus with a lot of detail and asking the restaurant to make adjustments. It’s a burden for most people,” he said.
Healthy Hand currently has more than 200 participating restaurants — including Spice, SoHo Sushi, Bare Burger, 7 Green and Grain and Organique — which offer items even healthier than the usual menu through the site.
On a recent afternoon, the site offered choices including steamed fish and tabouli salad from Fava Mediterranean Grill for $11.94 and sashimi tekka don from Aji 18 Sushi for $11.95
Before offering the items on Healthy Hand, website dieticians go through the chosen restaurants' menus and alter some of the dishes, swapping white rice for brown or substituting a potato for green vegetables, Mirabile said.
Customers who sign up on the site are asked to enter their goals, allergies and any other preferences, and then Healthy Hand sends them daily emails with up to six meal choices tailored to their needs.
Users can then choose one of the options with a click of a button, and the delivery order is instantly placed with the selected restaurant and delivered.
The service, which includes meal curation and delivery, costs $28 per month, plus the cost of food.
Jennifer Lang, 28, a Hell's Kitchen resident who works in banking, often orders lunch and dinner delivery through Healthy Hand as part of an effort to eat balanced meals to have more energy.
"I found that with a busy working schedule, I would sometimes forget to order meals or it would be very distracting and time-consuming for me to go online," Lang said.
"The Healthy Hand process is really simple...I can just click one of the meals they send me and I know that it will be a good, healthy meal."
Healthy Hand currently serves most of Manhattan, Greenpoint and Williamsburg and is just beginning to expand to Hoboken and Jersey City.
“Even for me, finding healthy food is difficult,” said Mirabile, who has previously worked in the city as a programmer and has a bachelor's degree from NYU's Stern School of Business.
“It takes time, and there’s also a risk of the food not tasting good. I wanted to simplify it and build a system where there were only highly rated meals from highly rated restaurants."