Slim Pickings

These lunch ladies cater to parents with a distaste for what their kids are eating in school.



Samantha Gotlib (left) and Debbie Blacher provide lunches daily to about 240 Central Florida students.

Photo by Tina Russell

Samantha Gotlib and Debbie Blacher don’t buy the claims that schools serve healthy lunches–and they say other parents shouldn’t either.

Take a look at the lunch menus and you’ll see main courses full of carbs and fats, with an occasional green vegetable breaking up the starch-laden offerings. Give a kid the choice of a pepperoni pizza or a salad and which do you think he’ll pick?

That’s right.

Gotlib and Blacher want children to have the best of both worlds—nutrition and taste. So with that in mind, the Baldwin Park neighbors founded Wholesome Tummies three years ago.

The company now supplies organic and otherwise nutritious school lunches to children in 22 private and public schools in the Orlando area.The company delivers lunches to several Seminole County public school lunchrooms. The entrepreneurs feed at least 240 children a day, but they hope to double that number by the end of the school year. They also plan to franchise their concept elsewhere in Florida.

Tummies offers healthy versions of foods kids might actually eat, such as macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. The company’s 4 Cheese Mac & Cheese combines high-protein, high-fiber pasta with four types of cheese, with northern white beans and carrots (what corporate chef Tiffany McGhee calls her “sneaky mix” of ingredients) blended into the sauce. The Ballpark Dog is a hormone- and nitrate-free hot dog served on a whole-grain bun. For dessert, kids can have brownies made with whole wheat flour. None of the food from Wholesome Tummies contains high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or flavors, trans fats, or nitrates.

The lunches aren’t cheap: Prices range from $4 for a preschool meal to $6.25 for a middle- or high-school lunch. (contrast, Seminole County public school lunches cost $2.25-$2.75.)

“Yes, it’s a little bit more expensive,” says Melody Giacomino, who orders lunches four days a week for her 6-year-old daughter, Grace, a student at Tuskawilla Montessori Academy in Oviedo. “But I would rather pay on the front end and eat healthy than pay on the back end to fix the diseases unhealthy eating can cause.”

Gotlib, 34, and Blacher, 40, came up with the idea of making nutritional school lunches when they were frustrated with the lack of healthy options for their children attending private schools. They spent a year researching suppliers, developing recipes and testing food before opening their business, which uses a pediatric nutritionist as a consultant.

Parents sign up and choose lunches online (wholesometum
mies.com), which are then delivered to participating schools. Boxed lunches are also available for pick-up at the Let’s Eat! store in Winter Park.

“I was at this [private] school the other day and everything was brown—the whole line of food!” laments Blacher, shaking her head in disappointment. “Food is so beautiful in its natural state.”

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

 

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

2015 Best Lawyers

When you need an attorney, you want someone with a strong reputation and a proven track record. The annual Best Lawyers® list provides the names of Orlando-area attorneys most recommended by their colleagues in the field.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2015

Our annual list featuring 216 of the area’s finest dental professionals.

Dentists Q&As

We selected 4 dentists to weigh in on questions related to dental health.

Guide to Private Schools 2015

Our annual guide to private schools will help you chart an educational course for your family.

2014 Finest Doctors

Two national surveys name the Best and Top Doctors in Orlando, as recommended by their peers.

Orlando's Top Chiropractors of 2014

More than 75 Central Florida chiropractors make our inaugural list.

Fall Getaways

Fall is finally on its way and now is the perfect time to plan your getaway. Check out some of these great deals and special destinations just a short drive from Orlando.

Real Estate's Hot 100

Whether you’re trying to buy or sell real estate, getting the best deal means finding an agent who possesses savvy and know-how and gets results. This list showcases some Central Florida agents who have demonstrated those skills.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Celebrities Who Got Their Start in Orlando

Check out our list of celebrities with Orlando roots.

Celebrities From Orlando

Handmade Home: Pastel Party

Deck out your Easter gathering with the colors of spring.

The 411 on I-Drive 360

10 Things You Should Know About Orlando's Newest Attraction