Landen Ganstrom, chef and owner of Healthy Thyme, creates delicious meal kits to help his customers stay healthy | Photos by Rūta Smith

Meal prepping requires a level of planning that can be tough to execute with everything else on your to-do list. Fortunately, local meal delivery service Healthy Thyme Meals does all the work for you. Bonus: It’s healthy, too. 

Healthy Thyme is a weekly meal delivery business with a menu of 23 items, 12 of which are swapped out regularly. Owner and chef Landen Ganstrom is best known for his mac and cheese, a dish that took the winning prize at the Charleston Mac Off six separate times. Ganstrom also opened Crave Kitchen and Cocktails in Mount Pleasant in 2008 and the Mac Daddy food truck in 2015.  

Once the pandemic hit, however, Ganstrom said he realized that he wasn’t enjoying life outside of work anymore. “I had Crave, Woodward Tavern, Mill Street Tavern [and] the Mac Daddy food truck [at the time]. It was a lot to manage and I wasn’t spending a lot of time with my family.”

The chef/fitness enthusiast was already meal-prepping for a few friends on the side, so he decided to take his side hustle and turn it into a business, as many others did at the onset of the pandemic. 

“I started Healthy Thyme meals the second week of Covid and just told friends about it and put it on Facebook,” Ganstrom said. “That first week I had 75 orders. The second week I had 125 orders, and then after six months I was already hitting 300 orders.”

Ganstrom quickly realized he couldn’t do it alone and hired some help. He connected with Steve Wenger, the former owner and CEO of Duvall Catering, in 2020 who showed him a satellite kitchen on Azalea Road in North Charleston. With the help of one culinary school grad, a few delivery drivers and the “perfect” kitchen, Ganstrom and his team have delivered nearly 800 meals in recent weeks, he said. 

Healthy but tasty

Although the chef’s fine dining training and mac and cheese accolades call for a lot of butter, cheese and heavy cream, his goal with Healthy Thyme is to deliver restaurant-quality, healthy meals.

“My passion is the health of food,” Ganstrom said. “I’d say 90% of the ingredients I use are organic or antibiotic-free, and I’m really strict about the type of chicken and beef I use.”

Meal kits are delivered every week with heating instructions on the box

Instead of using fats like butter or canola oil, the chef uses virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil for a healthier meal.

The chef said he cooks meals he would want to eat when designing the menu, like his almond-crusted chicken tenders with zesty ranch, a popular item among customers. 

The chicken is coated in an almond flour and hazelnut blend, then cooked in a convection oven. Ganstrom compared the convection oven to an air fryer, so he doesn’t add excess oil to get the crunch everyone looks for in a chicken tender. The zesty ranch is made with homemade coconut yogurt, pickled jalapeños and a couple of other secret ingredients. 

Other popular dishes include roasted beef tenderloin, which the chef coats in rosemary, thyme, oregano, garlic and black pepper. 

If you’re following a plant-based diet, Healthy Thyme also offers dishes like lentil curry over kale, roasted cauliflower, beets and grilled onions with a lemon tahini dressing. The meal delivery service also has plenty of options for a variety of dietary preferences like gluten-free, dairy-free, low carb, Whole30, vegan, vegetarian and more. You can filter the weekly menu by any of these categories for easy selection. 

In addition to the savory lunch and dinner options, the menu features a few sweet items like a rotating flavor of overnight oats, raspberry chia pudding and the chef’s infamous Paleo moon bars.

The moon bars are especially popular, he said, and are made with a pecan, walnut and date crust, topped with coconut buttercream and coated in a vegan dairy-free chocolate ganache. 

Each meal is typically two portions, but Healthy Thyme also offers family sized meals equivalent to four portions. A new menu goes out every Tuesday, and orders must be placed by Monday at 2 p.m. There is a $40 minimum per order, but no delivery charge. Meals are delivered to Daniel Island on Thursdays and the rest of the Charleston area from Mount Pleasant to North Charleston to James Island on Fridays. If you happen to live outside the delivery radius, there is the option to pick up your meals at the company’s kitchen in North Charleston. 

“A lot of people ask why I don’t deliver on Mondays, and it’s for two reasons,” Ganstrom said. “The first is that I would have to work on the weekends and that’s the reason I started this, was to spend time with my family. 

“Also, people are more likely to make poor decisions with food on the weekend. So if you have these fresh chef-made meals that show up on Friday, you’ve got fresh food through at least Tuesday.”

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