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, 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

Vacation Planner

Your next getaway is only a click away. Search our database for a great vacation experience.

2016 Premier Veterinarians

2016 Pet Resource Guide

Check out our searchable 2016 list of some of the best pet resources in the Orlando area.

Premier Realtors

Check out our 2016 searchable database of Orlando's premier realtors.

Orlando's Best Lawyers 2016

Our annual list includes hundreds of Orlando-area attorneys in dozens of areas of practice.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2016

Our annual list featuring 224 of the area's finest dental professionals.

Guide to Private Schools 2016

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Culinary Delights at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Dino Roussia provides an insider’s look into the longest and most recognized food and wine events in the world at Walt Disney World’s Epcot.

Weekend Happenings in Orlando Oct 21 to 23

Find out what's happening in and around Orlando this weekend.

Moving Snap! Shots

Gallery owners Patrick and Holly Kahn offer powerful exhibits showcasing photographer Roger Ballen, as well as Pulse tribute images.

Weekend Happenings in Orlando Oct 14 to 16

Find the best events in and around the city for the weekend.

A Celebration of Wildlife—and the Good Life

Thomasville, Georgia’s Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival features dozens of wildlife artists, fine dining, music, parties and a Southern-flavored Bird Dog Bash.
Edit Module