Healthy Gourmet, a unique service offering low-fat, low-cholesterol and low-sodium calorie-controlled meals, is starting its sixth successful year with the release of a new menu.

Owner Susan Johnson created Healthy Gourmet in 1996 in order to provide a complete selection of meals for the home that help promote good health and weight loss. The menu is planned in accordance with the guidelines of the American Cancer Society, the American Dietetic Association and the American Heart Association.

Healthy Gourmet Chef Frank L. Miholics is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. He has 20 years of experience with establishments like the world-famous Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, N.Y. He helps supervise a staff of 30.

Healthy Gourmet's flexible ordering system enables customers to select breakfasts, lunches and dinners off the menu of 140 meals each month. Healthy Gourmet meals are popular with busy professionals who enjoy the convenience of effortless, freshly prepared food made from scratch with no added chemicals or preservatives. While some use the program to lose weight safely, others see it as a maintenance diet that is often suggested by personal fitness trainers.

Southern California businessman Paul Marcus has lost more than 30 pounds on the program and notes that he feels ``better than I did 20 years ago.'' Others appreciate the great variety of ingredients and preparation made available at affordable pricing.

Customers can choose three meals daily for combined calorie levels of 1,100, 1,500 and 1,800, or order lunches and dinners individually. Vegetarian diets are also accommodated. The food is also recommended by hospitals for use by recovering cardiac patients, thanks to its low-cholesterol ingredients.

Overall daily program prices vary according to the daily calorie size requested. Instructions are included to assist with proper heating and storing. Meals that are individually packaged and coded for freshness are available for delivery or pick up on Fridays and Mondays. Convenient pick-up sites are located throughout Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

Healthy Gourmet headquarters are located at 17851 Sky Park Circle, Irvine, Calif.; phone 949/833-2929, 888/EZ-MEALS (396-3257), 310/829-0111, 562/630-2900, 858/456-1366 or 626/844-2925. Meals can be ordered online at www.healthygourmetmeals.com.