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PlateJoy launches in Florida

November 6, 2018
By MEGHAN BRADBURY ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

A digital program, which provides custom meal plans to fit an individual's needs, was recently launched in Florida.

Nicole Villeneuve, PlateJoy partnership director, said a few years ago they began working on creating a personalized nutrition program to help individuals achieve their healthy nutritional goals. She said PlateJoy is founded by Christina Bognet, who just turned 30.

"She started PlateJoy because she was having similar challenges. She started a job that was really demanding and had long hours," Villeneuve said, which ended in quick takeout meals at work, while eating at her desk.

Bognet was not taking the time required to cook for herself and eat healthier.

"That is a common reality that a lot of people face," Villeneuve said. "She, unlike a lot of the rest of us, had the know how to create a solution."

PlateJoy, an all-digital program, helps participants create healthy habits, while losing weight and reducing their risk of diabetes.

"She really leads by example," she said of Bognet. "I think a lot of great coaching comes from being empathetic and the challenges had towards healthy eating and thinking about the product and program and how to help people live a healthier life. Her personal story inspires others."

In September 2017, Villeneuve said they rolled out the PlateJoy program by using food as medicine for pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

"We started rolling that out in a few different areas in the fall of 2017," she said, adding that their biggest market is across Florida and California.

Villeneuve said they looked at the difference between behavior change programs, as well as medication for people with Type 2 diabetes.

"About one and three Americans are at risk for pre-diabetes, but most people don't know it," she said. "This is something that the National Institute of Health wanted to investigate and look at ways to reduce the risk."

One of those ways was looking at behavior change programs that would inspire living a healthier lifestyle, while having healthy eating choices, increasing activity and reducing stress.

"Lifestyle change and putting healthy habits into place is much more effective than medication, almost twice as effective," Villeneuve said.

Villeneuve, one of the coaches of PlateJoy, said she had to go through required training to become a diabetes prevention coach, as well as training for nutrition and activity goals. She is based out of San Francisco, but since PlateJoy is digital, she can be anywhere, including Lehigh Acres, where she has a client.

When an individual signs up for PlateJoy they are paired up with a coach through the mobile app, as well as tools to help with nutrition, personalized meal plans and shopping lists to make it easier to have healthier eating habits.

PlateJoy also includes weight tracking, weekly video interviews with top experts in nutrition and fitness and health.

Individuals take a personalization quiz that asks such questions as dietary preferences, time constraints, family size and health goals. From there PlateJoy creates a meal plan for the individual, and their family, as well as the meals and snacks tailored to fit their schedule. The ingredients needed for the recipes are also put into a shopping list, to make the trip to the grocery store less stressful. The list also includes what the individual already has at home, so they are not duplicating the item and becoming wasteful.

The meal plans touch on such areas as Paleo, vegetarian, gluten free, low carb, weight loss, kid-friendly, clean eating, no red meat, food allergies, pre-diabetes, quick and easy, batch cooking, slow cooker meals and peanut free.

"We have been doing it for a year and seeing some great results. Our goal is to help them make the same changes over the long term. We are not a quick weight loss solution. We provide tools to create healthy habits and stay healthy for the long term," Villeneuve said.

When an individual is matched with a coach, she said they communicate monthly online, through email and text messages. The coach helps the individual set weekly goals for nutrition and activity. He, or she, may also talk the individual through challenges and help get the entire family involved.

Villeneuve said the coach may also find meals that are a good fit for picky eaters, as well as finding exercise routines that people can do if they have such issues as joint pain.

A huge perk of the program, she said is they are covered by a few different insurance plans in Florida.

"It is covered 100 percent. You will never see a bill. The reason that we can cover it through insurance providers is that providers are starting to see the need for paying for prevention and they are seeing how effective behavior change is for people. PlateJoy is a preventative measure that can save them a lot of money down the road in their healthcare costs," she said.

Villeneuve said the program is successful because the program is in the palms of their hand and can be accessed at any time.

"The reality is really small changes add up," she said. "(When in) digital format they can do it on the go and at their own time, that is often the game changer that they need."

For more information, or to see if a particular insurance provider is covered, visit



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