The healthy snacks helping women on the go

Busy mum Jess Thomas is on a mission to provide on-the-go women with healthy and nutritious snacks.

Long days, countless meetings, quick lunches at her desk and afternoon sugar cravings used to be the norm for Jess Thomas.

The brain behind Health Lab, a Melbourne-based natural snacks business, was once a marketing executive for a major beauty company.

“At 3pm I’d go in search of chocolate or banana bread and then feel so guilty, tired and unproductive afterwards,” says Jess, 32.

Then one weekend, Jess experimented with a batch of protein balls using natural ingredients – nuts, coconut, protein powder and raw cacao.

She took them into the office, and they disappeared in minutes.

Realising she had a potential business, Jess started selling the protein balls to her local café.

That was the beginning of Health Lab, which now sells guilt-free goodies to customers across Australia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Dubai and New Zealand. They include new edible beauty Probiotic Balls, which are rich in antioxidants, low in sugar, vegan and available exclusively in Chemist Warehouse stores.

This year, Jess will take the brand to the US.

“Everything we do is about being uncomplicated, healthy and natural so people can make a good decision about what they’re eating,” says Jess.

Jess gets up at 5am to exercise and then heads to Health Lab until the afternoon, when she takes over the care of 18-month-old daughter Gigi.

Health Lab’s staff have flexible working hours, can job-share and have healthy snacks on hand – all part of the company’s healthy life balance philosophy.

“We banned eating lunch at the desk and we have mindfulness sessions and yoga,” says Jess.

“I’m like any other busy working mum. I’m always on the go and I don’t have time to meal prep, but I want to stay healthy and keep things simple.”

Shop for Health Lab Protein Balls at Chemist Warehouse.