Residents of the Sea to Sky corridor are no strangers to snacking on the go. But when you don’t have time to pack that nutritious lunch before you head out the door on your next adventure, Mountain Meal Prep has you covered.
The farmers’ market favourite caters to those who need quick and easy food while participating in extreme sports in the Sea to Sky corridor, but it also works for a different type of extreme sport: helping busy families get a quick dinner on the table after a long day in the wild. Most B.C. residents fall into at least one of, if not both of these groups.
The idea is simple: pop some boiling water on the pre-prepared, dehydrated food and you’re good to go, an ingenious concept that lessens the hassle of modern living.
Mountain Meal Prep founder Jacqueline Parakin is a holistic nutritionist with a business mind, a perfect combo for a successful product range.
After years of slogging away at seasonal jobs in Whistler, the Nanaimo native was ready to make her passion her career.
“I came from a family of entrepreneurs,” she said. “My mom is a business owner. I knew I wanted to run a business. I started my first business in 2017, but it was about a year until I ran into regulatory issues. I’m a holistic nutritionist, and I really wanted to start a business focused on my passion. I also wanted to try to help other people.”
Parakin and her mom brainstormed, and found the perfect idea for people who like easy, healthy food.
“My mom has had a life-long passion for dehydration. We put our heads together and created the product line that we have now,” she said.
Parakin’s first range of products are “family meals”—meals that can be whipped up in just half an hour with the help of
Lazy lasagna, hearty vegetable soup, and deconstructed burritos are just some of the options on this no-nonsense menu.
“It’s a dehydrative meal-prep kit,” Parakin said. “They are all just easy, one-pot meals. I made them to help busy families and busy individuals who don’t have time for cooking.”
On the other end of things, Parakin’s mountain meals pack plenty of punch for people snacking in the wild.
“They are essentially single-serve meals. You just add water into the pot,” she said. “They are perfect for hiking, camping, you name it. As an avid snowboarder and biker,
I knew there were limited choices available on the menu. I wanted to create something that was a little bit more nutritious.”
Following the dream was far from plain sailing. However, Parakin was determined to bring the idea in her head to fruition. “It was not easy,” she said. “I had four jobs while I started my business. I make everything in Pemberton. I go as far afield as White Rock. I’m slowly increasing my online presence. Hopefully, by winter I’ll start to be in some of the local shops.”
Parakin was surprised it was the family meals that garnered the most attention.
“I thought that the bagpacking meals were going to be way more popular,” she said. “It turns out that the family ones are much more popular. Not everyone hikes, but everyone has to eat. There are just those nights where you don’t want to cook or run out of time.”
As for the customer response, testimonials posted to Parakin’s website say it all.
“I’m always hesitant to try new meal preparation companies, but I can honestly say I am SO glad that I took this leap of
faith. Our family (full of picky eaters) absolutely loves everything we have gotten from Mountain Meal Prep,” reads one testimonial. “Our favourite dishes are the Easy Lasagna and Chili Mac & Cheese, so delicious and super simple for working parents like us. I cannot recommend this meal prep service enough!”
Read more at mountainmealprep.com.