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Meet Christine Lopez of My Healthy Penguin®

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Lopez.

Hi Christine, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I’m the founder and CEO of My Healthy Penguin®, a meal prep delivery service based in Rancho Cucamonga focused on delivering fresh and healthy meals to our community in Southern California. I officially started this business in 2016 from an apartment kitchen, was newly divorced, and desperate to find a way to provide for myself and my two kids. My entire life, I grew up in Rancho Cucamonga and can easily say I came from a family of entrepreneurs. My father was a mechanic who owned his shop, and my mother owned a local hair salon and Mexican restaurant. So I did what I knew – cook. A year before, I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and high cholesterol. Instead of taking medication, I resorted to meal prepping for myself and working out daily. I had lost over 30 pounds just by eating healthy and portion controlling my meals!

At the time, I was making meals for friends, family, and local gym mates, and for a couple of months, it was going well. My friend at the time (now fiancé) Chris had graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a Bachelor’s in Entrepreneurship. As a friend, he helped me with social media and got the word out about my service, but overall, it was nothing serious. One day, I woke up to over 100 direct messages on Instagram, personal text messages, and emails inquiring about my meal prep service. At the time, I was unaware, but someone with a local following in the community on Instagram had ordered from me and posted about my meals. At the time, I was just Christine, someone who meal preps lol I was overwhelmed, overjoyed, but mostly stressed beyond believing how I would make this work. Chris officially joined in. He purchased a business phone, bought the domain myhealthypenguin.com and immediately started working on a website. My Healthy Penguin was officially born. I wondered how on earth I would cook over 200 meals from an electric oven in my apartment. Within several months, I went from delivering meals to friends and family around town on Sunday evenings to a whole production in my apartment living room.

With Chris’s help, we asked friends and friends of friends we knew who could help deliver these meals. I knew this would not work on a smaller scale and needed to jump to a commercial kitchen immediately. In the summer of 2016, we moved our production to a shared commercial kitchen. Our first week there, I remember being so overwhelmed. In November of 2016, we hired our first employee when our meal count started exponentially growing. We knew we needed the help. That first employee is still with us. We now prepare, cook, and deliver thousands of meals each week and are growing every single month. We just purchased our third refrigerated van, added breakfast to our menu, a loyalty program, and expanded our delivery service area from Pasadena, Anaheim, Temecula, to Beaumont. We’ve come a long way in five years.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
One of the biggest challenges in running My Healthy Penguin is balancing work-life with family, especially since my business partner is ALSO my fiancé. Don’t get me wrong, I love working with him, and I don’t know where it would be without him. Still, it was frustrating when we first started the business, get to a nice restaurant, and the conversation was……(drumroll, please) WORK. Lol, I would be talking with my kids, and they would ask me about the business, and I’m like, YOUR TWELVE! Don’t worry about it. Lol When you have a small business, especially in the beginning, your kitchen table is your office space. It is SO hard to create a boundary between what is work and what is family time. We have gotten a lot better at it, but it can still be a challenge. The most recent example was a couple of weeks ago. We typically shut down for two weeks at the end of the year for both my sanity and to give our employees time away from work to spend with family. It was very difficult to NOT think about work, especially this year with COVID. I’m getting better at it, though. Either way, not that my kids come out of their rooms to hang with mom anyways, lol.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about My Healthy Penguin®?
My Healthy Penguin® is one of the leading meal prep delivery services in the Inland Empire; Originating from Rancho Cucamonga. We deliver your healthy portioned meal preps straight to your door every Sunday! Our mission at My Healthy Penguin® is to be a purpose-driven, healthy meal delivery service committed to excellent customer service with a range of flavors. So what makes My Healthy Penguin® different from all the other meal prep companies out there? Each week, we upload a new menu based on personal experience, family recipes, and customer feedback. We aim to reduce the hassle of choosing meals from an endless menu. Instead, we provide you with five menu items to select for the week. All of our food is made fresh, in our commercial kitchen, with the intention of providing healthier versions of the food we love, regardless of schedule or health goals – so YOU don’t have to think about your week’s meals. Healthier Ingredients. Portion-Controlled. Guilt-Free!

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
Something some people may find surprising is I am VERY shy. Like, I am DEATHLY afraid of the camera, specifically video. Any time my business partner tells me I should do an IG story, I give him the death stare and freak out internally. What’s ironic is there are photos of me all over our website, social media and business. We both had agreed I want to show everyone WHO is behind the business. Not just throw a bunch of product shots and call it a business. I want our customers to know who is answering the phone, the emails, putting the menus together, EVERYTHING! I am getting better at it though – or at least I think I am. Who knows, it’s 2021. New year, new me.

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Image Credits

Bane Scott/ Apartment 3 Photography/ Honey Photographs

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