Fit bites: Madison has Fit Fresh way to eat healthy

Michael Muckian, Contributing writer

One couple, one building, three businesses — each striving for a healthier you.

Tucked into a commercial park behind the AMC Star Cinemas in Madison’s Fitchburg suburb, Fit Fresh restaurant and meal service occupies the eastern end of the building while the western end is home to Hybrid Athletic Club.

A married couple — personal trainer Ryan Berndt and registered dietician Sarah Mattison-Berndt — owns all three businesses. He primarily oversees the health club and she runs the restaurant and culinary service.

The Fit Fresh philosophy emphasizes nutritionally balanced meals made from scratch using local and organic produce and natural proteins. The meals are free of added hormones, antibiotics, fillers and trans fats.

Fit Fresh also focuses diners’ attention on proper portions, says Mattison-Berndt, who has worked as hospital nutrition counselor.

In a fast-food world, it’s difficult for average people to stay on track when it comes to measuring portions and managing diets, she adds.

“This is difficult to do for yourself and I personally stay on the plan all the time,” Mattison-Berndt says.

Fit Fresh, the restaurant

Mattison-Berndt opened the restaurant in 2009 as an “organic” outgrowth of the work she did for her husband.

“Prior to opening the health club, my husband trained professional athletes for a living,” says Mattison-Berndt, a Verona native. “Some of his clients needed some dietary revisions to their lives and he asked me to design meal plans for them.”

The menu at Fit Fresh builds on the plans developed for those clients.

The menu board in the restaurant — which features counter service — offers a sampling of the Fit Fresh approach. Limited to paninis, flatbreads, salads, juice elixers and smoothies, the choices are as educational as they are delicious.

Fit Fresh
Southwestern hash and homemade salsa from Fit Fresh.

Consider the “Knock Out Panini” ($9.45) with roast turkey, Granny Smith apple, white cheddar cheese and arugula. The sandwich weighs in at 374 calories with 39 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbohydrate (of which 4 grams are dietary fiber) and 12 grams of fat (of which 7 grams are saturated fat). It says so on the menu board.

The heartier eater might go for the “Thai Chicken Flatbread” ($9.98) served with red pepper, red onion, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, jalapeno lime slaw, peanuts, sesame seeds, cilantro and a spicy satay sauce. That’s 520 calories with 41 grams of protein, 39 grams of carbohydrates (of which 10 grams are fiber) and 25 grams of fat (or which 7 are saturated fat).

Fit Fresh, the culinary service

The restaurant is one part of Mattison-Berndt’s culinary operation. The other is the Fit Fresh meal plan service.

Meals are pre-ordered from menus more comprehensive and varied than the restaurant’s offerings. The meals are delivered for pickup at several area health clubs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Delivering three times per week is an important step in keeping the food fresh.

“We sell naturally into a niche designed for athletes, but realize that other people need and want this service as well,” says Mattison-Berndt, whose subscribers number about 100 to 150 per week.

“Our plans take the guesswork out of healthy eating and makes it more convenient,” she says. “I don’t know that many people who know how to eat well and our plans provide dietary education for people through the experience of eating.”

Meal plans are purchased for one, two or three meals a day at prices ranging from $55 to $157.50 per week. Arrangements also can be made on a four-week commitment, with prices ranging from $210 to $600.

Pickup is currently at Hybrid Health Club, the Princeton Clubs East and West and Harbor Athletic Club.

Fit Fresh also offers seven-day gluten-free food cleanses designed to restore hormonal balance, reduce bloat and inflammation and provide other healthy side effects from eating right. The weeklong cleanse — 21 meals for seven days — is $209.

“The meal plans can be beneficial for people in a lot of situations, including athletes, busy executives and even seniors who don’t want to cook,” Mattison-Berndt says.

Fit Fresh Cuisine

2881 Commerce Drive, Fitchburg


Monday–Friday 6 a.m.–7 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m.–2 p.m.
Sunday 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m.