We’re well into the new year and as it dawns upon us, it comes with the desire to improve and start anew. For plenty, this manifests as a resolution to eat healthier and be fit. In a perfect world, your process goal would be enough but making your fitness-related resolution actually stick, that’s a challenge in the real world. However, we’ve come across a new (not entirely, as you’ll come to know) platform that will make your life easier with a tap of a button. Enter iDiet by Healthbox.
Founded by expert dietician and nutritionist Sabine Karam, iDiet has officially started operations in Dubai after a decade in Beirut, Lebanon. For those looking to cleanse their systems, gain muscle, lose weight or whatever the case may be, iDiet perfects at customising and altering a meal plan that is convenient to you to ensure you stick to your goals.
Below, we exclusively speak to Sabine to discuss healthy habits to adopt this new year, the iDiet experience and what makes it different than its competitors, and more…
1. Congratulations on launching iDiet in Dubai! Why was Dubai your next choice of location following Beirut?
Dubai’s appetite for growth and innovation is unmatched. The city, with its entrepreneurial infrastructure and dynamic market, creates extensive opportunities for a business to grow and learn. The market here is multi-cultural and technologically savvy which falls in line with the segment we are looking to target. iDiet by Healthbox.me, above all else, is based on the convenience of having your meals planned before jumping into a busy day. Residents of Dubai juggle multiple aspects of their lives in a single day to survive and thrive in this fast-paced city, and iDiet feels like a natural fit for them. The city has also increased its focus on health and fitness over the last years so we know that the population is looking for healthy solutions that suit their lifestyle. The market here also consists of a large percentage of Lebanese expats for whom Healthbox.me is an established name from back home, and in addition to everything else we are doing for customer acquisition, their faith in the credibility of our brand is also a key element for us. These factors make our expansion into Dubai feel familiar yet exciting at the same time.
2. What is iDiet by Healthbox? Can you share a little history on how it all started?
iDiet by Healthbox.me is a healthy meal planning program to help customers manage and alter their lifestyles. Established in 2010 in Beirut as Healthbox.me, we have over a decade of experience when it comes to health and nutrition. Today, we have multiple physical locations in Beirut where our experts offer consultation and advice. We started with one plan and over the years, after coming across different needs of different customers, have expanded to nearly a dozen plans. Today, we cater not just to those who want to gain or lose weight, but proudly offer plans specifically curated for mothers, mothers to be, customers looking to maintain body weight, switch to a high protein diet or a vegetarian/plant-based lifestyle. The needs of our customers are ever-evolving, we are always up for curating solutions to serve them better.
With iDiet, we aim to bring a more structured solution to the UAE’s healthy food needs. Created with the key purpose of providing people with convenient, healthy, and delicious meals to enjoy daily, iDiet offers members the ultimate choice of diet plans.
3. What are some of the brand ethos?
Our ethos is to provide members with fresh, high-quality foods, flexible & convenient meal plans, and expert advice while being caring, professional, and trustworthy.
4. What is the iDiet experience?
New members are encouraged to take the free online assessment to better understand which plan suits their needs best. They can also always reach out to one of our on-call dietitians to help them narrow down their options. Once your recommended plan is in place, users will be able to plan their meals with the help of our team directly on the mobile app or website. What sets our experience apart here is the fact that most of our plans mix and match cuisines which means that by committing to one plan, customers don’t get stuck with similar food for the duration of their stay. Rather, our experts curate the plans in a way that keeps things interesting. This has been a key factor in helping clients achieve their goals and has helped us build long term relationships over the years.
There is the option of half-board or full-board. Full-board means we will deliver breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Half-board means iDiet delivers either breakfast, lunch and snacks or lunch, dinner and snacks. Members also have the option to choose deliveries for the entire week or only the working week minus the weekend.
Customers have the option to select the range of calories in their meal plan to best suit their needs and will have the ability to choose their own menu from 3-5 different options for each meal.
5. What makes iDiet different to any other meal plan platform/app?
iDiet differs from all meal plan platforms as we offer customers the opportunity to interact and converse with expert dietitians and nutritionists at the touch of a button. The support, encouragement and advice from professionals in the health field can help motivate and enthuse/empower members in their moments of need. The hardest part about changing a lifestyle is the commitment to stick to it, our professionals are on the clock to help members stay on track and in control of their choices.
As mentioned above, the curation of items in each plan is also what truly sets us apart from other players in the market. Our platform presents menus from a variety of international, Asian, and oriental cuisines across 11 different meal plans that can be customized to the user’s preferences. This allows us to ensure the highest quality of taste and variation and excite our users for their next meal.
6. As an expert dietician and nutritionist, what are some of the biggest misconceptions you’ve come across?
Dieting does not mean cutting out your favourite meals from your diet. Nor is the word “Diet” a synonym for losing weight. Losing weight is just one of the many goals that you can achieve with a balanced diet. People tend to forget that ‘diet’ means what food you put into your body and that does not have to come from eliminating important food groups or slashing down categories. Most people don’t understand that a balanced diet is a sustainable solution for a healthier lifestyle and often resort to short-term solutions that wear them out rather quickly.
7. As we enter a new year, what are some of the general healthy habits you advise people to adopt?
Entering a New Year always comes with the initial excitement of setting new goals and resolutions for the year ahead. Very often, we notice that in order to achieve these goals, people tend to become extremely harsh on themselves and decide to apply an ‘all or nothing’ approach. My advice to adopt healthier day-to-day habits begins by embracing structure when it comes to meal planning and also moderately transitioning into healthier eating habits.
We at iDiet always embrace moderation and encourage our users to truly enjoy the meals they select. Changing lifestyle habits is no easy task, which is why we emphasize to our users not to be hard on themselves when temptation gets the best of them. Everyone has temptations, but the most important thing is how we act afterwards. Getting back on track and compensating for the temptation can be as soon as the next meal.
8. How important is it for you to maintain that healthy habit?
A balanced diet, a healthy routine really keeps my energy and motivation and check which helps me be a better version of myself for all the important aspects of my life. For those that find themselves giving up easily; always think back to why you started in the first place and I promise that you will find some willpower to stick to your plans.
9. Can you share any tips on how you can maintain these healthy habits throughout the entire year?
Health-related resolutions are the most tempting ones to make at this time of the year. The thing with resolutions is that they become more difficult once the initial excitement of the New Year fades. The best way to commit to your goal is to embrace a structure that removes the pressures of daily meal planning. The constant scheduling and meal prepping are where most lose patience. iDiet alleviates this pressure by planning and delivering complete meals to your doorstep thereby eliminating any time or effort at your end. We at iDiet are here to support people in their quests for healthier lifestyles by removing the obstacle of indecision that comes with daily meal preparation. I always recommend for people to use their initial motivation to not only mentally prepare themselves but also to plan ahead. Once the plan is in place, it becomes much easier to stick to your goals!
10. Why now, more than ever, is it important to look after what we’re putting into our body and the types of food we’re eating?
Our lives today are extremely busy and frankly; quite stressful. We are an overachieving generation that is aiming for ever-growing careers, a healthy family and social life, our contribution to the community and top that all off with a pandemic that continuously disrupts our life. We are more mentally and physically engaged than ever before which is why it is more important now than ever before to give our body the rest and fuel it needs.
To discover more, visit iDiet by Healthbox here.