Author Archives: Wholesome Tummies

About Wholesome Tummies

Whole­some Tum­mies is a fresh food com­pany on a mis­sion to pro­vide access to fresh, nutri­tious, and excit­ing foods for every child, every­where. We are rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing the lunch expe­ri­ence in schools across Amer­ica through our grass-roots fran­chise, WT Cafe. Join our move­ment today and lead the change in your community!


Wholesome Tummies Launches in Greater Chicago


Greater Chicago par­ents will soon have an easy option for ensur­ing that their chil­dren eat healthy at school, thanks to a new healthy school solu­tion that will launch in Chicago in Jan­u­ary, 2013, com­pany offi­cials announced this week.  Whole­some Tum­mies, which is head­quar­tered in Orlando, Florida, is a fresh food com­pany ded­i­cated to chang­ing the way kids eat, start­ing with school lunch and will now be avail­able here.

Jen­nifer and Michael Bychowsky spent the major­ity of their pro­fes­sional lives in the cor­po­rate exec­u­tive world. Michael was Direc­tor of Soft­ware and Tech­nol­ogy for Motorola and Jen­nifer was Direc­tor of Cor­po­rate Travel and Event Plan­ning for a large con­sult­ing firm in the North­west Sub­urbs of Chicago. They dis­cov­ered Whole­some Tum­mies and were sold on the oppor­tu­nity right away.

Open­ing Whole­some Tum­mies of Greater Chicago gives us the abil­ity to help ‘one child at a time, one school at a time’,” said Bychowsky. “This is a worth­while mis­sion – not only to feed kids healthy and nutri­tious foods, but also to edu­cate them on mak­ing the right food choices that last a lifetime.”

Jen­nifer is pas­sion­ate about prac­tic­ing healthy eat­ing at home for her own fam­ily. Being obese as a child, it is impor­tant to Jen­nifer to pre­vent other chil­dren from being exposed to the unhealthy influ­ences and food choices that she was given as a youngster.

We are delighted to wel­come the Bychowskys to the Whole­some Tum­mies fam­ily.  Jen­nifer and Michael are dri­ven and capa­ble busi­ness own­ers who are deeply pas­sion­ate about improv­ing food qual­ity in local schools,” said Deb­bie Blacher, CEO and Co-Founder of Whole­some Tum­mies.  “Our grass-roots move­ment is ideal for com­mu­ni­ties like Greater Chicago where con­cerned par­ents demand health­ier, tastier choices in school.”

Whole­some Tum­mies was founded by two work­ing moth­ers con­cerned about the choices their own chil­dren were given at school. They founded the com­pany based on their mutual com­mit­ment to feed­ing young­sters a vari­ety of deli­cious, nutri­tious foods and estab­lish­ing healthy eat­ing habits from the start.

We believe it is every child’s birthright to have access to fresh, excit­ing, and nutri­tious foods free from arti­fi­cial and processed ingre­di­ents,” said Blacher. “This epi­demic of child­hood obe­sity is very real but it can be cor­rected by help­ing kids make bet­ter food choices in the places they live and learn.”

Whole­some Tum­mies offers schools a com­pre­hen­sive Healthy School Pro­gram that includes access to fresh foods and excit­ing school lunch menus, fundrais­ing and farm to school ini­tia­tives, and culi­nary and nutri­tion edu­ca­tion.  The pur­pose of the pro­gram is to cre­ate and sus­tain last­ing change in the eat­ing habits of par­tic­i­pat­ing students.

The new Greater Chicago fran­chise is the five-year old company’s eighth loca­tion to open since it started fran­chis­ing in 2010.  Whole­some Tum­mies has loca­tions through­out Florida, and in Atlanta, Geor­gia; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Colum­bus, Ohio with sev­eral oth­ers sched­uled to launch in the months ahead.

For more infor­ma­tion about Whole­some Tum­mies, visit


Recipe of the Week: Baked Butternut Squash Chips (Chef Joel Orwig)

Wel­come to my very first blog submission!

Today and in the future I will be adding to the Culi­nary Cor­ner of the Whole­some Tum­mies Blog page. I will be post­ing sea­sonal recipes, tips for mak­ing cook­ing eas­ier and more fun, meth­ods to turn fad foods into health­ier options and even a few videos on cook­ing tech­niques. Keep­ing with Whole­some Tum­mies core val­ues, you’ll find my recipes and tech­niques place a pri­or­ity on uti­liz­ing all nat­ural ingre­di­ents such as sea­sonal organic veg­eta­bles and fruits, and do not include high fruc­tose corn syrup, nitrates, arti­fi­cial col­ors or flavors.

Thanks­giv­ing will soon be here! But, you cer­tainly don’t need to sac­ri­fice good nutri­tion to pro­vide fes­tive and fla­vor­ful sea­sonal treats for your child.  Here are a few health­ier options for home, school par­ties or just an after school snack.

Baked But­ter­nut Squash Chips

1 but­ter­nut squash, prefer­ably one with a long, nar­row neck
spray olive oil

Mise en place:
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Set up an ice bath
Spray a large bak­ing sheet (or two small sheets) with olive oil
Bring a pot of salted water to boil

Cut off the bulb part of the squash and set aside for another use. Peel the skin off of the squash and cut cross­wise into 3-inch chunks. Slice squash cross­wise into 1.3mm slices.

Blanch the squash in the boil­ing water, about two min­utes then trans­fer it to the ice bath to cool. Dry all of the chips with a towel or paper towel and lay them out on the bak­ing sheet. Spray them with olive oil and sprin­kle lightly with salt or spices.

Set the squash on your oven’s mid­dle rack and bake until golden brown and crispy. Keep and eye on them as some may cook faster than oth­ers.

Sea­son as needed with sea salt, white pep­per and serve.


Wholesome Tummies Announces Joel Orwig as Culinary Director


Culi­nary Insti­tute of Amer­ica Grad­u­ate Has More Than 10 Years of Experience 

in the Edu­ca­tion K-12 Field

Orlando, Fla. – Tues­day, Octo­ber 30, 2012 – Whole­some Tum­mies, the Orlando-based, healthy school lunch provider, announced that Joel Orwig, a grad­u­ate of the Culi­nary Insti­tute of Amer­ica, has been hired to lead the culi­nary direc­tion and strat­egy for the com­pany. He will be respon­si­ble for corporate-wide food safety and qual­ity, food pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion, recipe test­ing, and menu development.

Orwig has more than 20 years of culi­nary expe­ri­ence and more than 10 years in the edu­ca­tion K-12 field. Most recently, he worked as the Culi­nary Direc­tor for Edu­ca­tion K-12 and Oper­a­tions Sup­port Man­ager for A’viands Cor­po­ra­tion. Orwig also worked for Ara­mark for 13 years as a K-12 Food Ser­vice Direc­tor and Cor­po­rate Chef.

A recent attendee of the Har­vard School of Pub­lic Health’s sem­i­nar, “Healthy Kitchen, Healthy Lives” in con­junc­tion with the Culi­nary Insti­tute of Amer­ica, Orwig is look­ing for­ward to work­ing with Whole­some Tum­mies’ local chefs and kitchen teams to pre­pare food for kids from scratch.

This is what real cook­ing is all about – using fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles and pure, all nat­ural ingre­di­ents to cre­ate deli­cious meals,” he said. “I love that at Whole­some Tum­mies, we are mak­ing dress­ings, mari­nades and even chicken stock from scratch for our house-made soups. Food just tastes bet­ter that way.”

Whole­some Tum­mies was cre­ated five years ago by two moth­ers con­cerned about what their own chil­dren would eat at school. The busi­ness has fran­chised and expanded across the coun­try includ­ing in Atlanta, Geor­gia; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Colum­bus, Ohio. Sev­eral other fran­chises are expected to open in the next few months.

We enthu­si­as­ti­cally wel­come Joel to the Whole­some Tum­mies’ fam­ily,” said Deb­bie Blacher, CEO and Co-founder of Whole­some Tum­mies. “We are posi­tion­ing our­selves for aggres­sive nation­wide growth, and Joel’s expe­ri­ence will take our culi­nary pro­gram to the next level. He will also lead the devel­op­ment and imple­men­ta­tion of our Culi­nary Train­ing Insti­tute, which will include cook­ing classes for par­ents and kids at part­ner schools, nutri­tion edu­ca­tion, and local farm to school initiatives.”

Whole­some Tum­mies cre­ates food that empow­ers chil­dren to make healthy food choices. The menus are designed to ensure that devel­op­ing minds and mus­cles are fueled by whole­some ingre­di­ents. The company’s goal is to help chil­dren develop eat­ing pat­terns that lead to life­long good health.

I’m excited to be part of a com­pany that believes in from-scratch cook­ing and is intro­duc­ing chil­dren to the high­est qual­ity lunch pos­si­ble,” Orwig said. “At Whole­some Tum­mies, we’re not open­ing a box and feed­ing it to the kids. We are upgrad­ing the nutri­tion and fresh­ness of their diets, and that’s some­thing I am proud to be a part of now.”

For more infor­ma­tion about Whole­some Tum­mies, visit

BK Chicken Tender 8-piece Serving Size-1

Wake-up Call to Parents: Children’s Fast Food Meals to Avoid (VIDEO)

Let’s face it: fast food kids meals are a tempt­ing and con­ve­nient option for many Amer­i­cans today. Kids love them for the toys and pack­ag­ing; par­ents love them because they’re easy and con­ve­nient. Plus, when they include apples and cheese, they have some nutri­tional value, right?

Well, not exactly, accord­ing to the Physi­cians Com­mit­tee for Respon­si­ble Med­i­cine. Accord­ing to PCRM, the meals are loaded with sugar and sodium, and really offer very lit­tle nutri­tional value. They’ve come out with a list of the 5 worst “healthy” fast food kids’ meals. See if some of your favorites are on the list, but remem­ber, the best advice…everything in moderation.


Entrepreneur Magazine Features Wholesome Tummies

Look Out Lunch Ladies, Here Comes Whole­some Tummies

By Jason Daley

Deb­bie Blacher and Saman­tha Gotlib were at a party in their Orlando, Fla., neigh­bor­hood when the sub­ject of school lunches came up. Every­one began com­plain­ing about how bad the food was and how embar­rassed they were that they didn’t have the time or skill to make nutri­tious meals for their kids to take to school.

Blacher, a cor­po­rate HR pro­fes­sional, and Gotlib, a ser­ial entre­pre­neur and for­mer fran­chise owner (each preg­nant with her third child at the time), thought they could solve the prob­lem. They put together a busi­ness plan and, in 2007, Whole­some Tum­mies was born.

Back in 2004 when the two first began dis­cussing the idea, “no one was fran­chis­ing a con­cept like this,” Gotlib says. “At that point, no one was even talk­ing about the con­cept of healthy school lunches. There was no Jamie Oliver. We were trail­blaz­ers for sure.”

The idea was sim­ple. Many pri­vate schools were con­tract­ing with fast-food com­pa­nies to serve lunch for their stu­dents, or had cafe­te­rias that were vainly try­ing to bal­ance what kids were will­ing to eat with what was cheap and health­ful. (Pub­lic schools have their own government-mandated lunch programs.)

Blacher and Gotlib fig­ured they could develop nutri­tious, tasty recipes and deliver them to schools. In 2009, they began fran­chis­ing; so far they have seven units in Florida, Geor­gia, Ohio and Nevada and hope to open 10 more this year.

Gotlib turned off the food proces­sor for a minute to feed our curiosity.

Are school lunches really so bad?
Pri­vate schools are much worse than pub­lic schools. There’s a really wide gamut of options, but the most com­mon is to bring in a vari­ety of fast-food providers. They do that because they have no kitchen or they don’t want to deal with run­ning a kitchen. They just out­source it, so they’re serv­ing fried, high-sodium, high-fat restau­rant food every day, with no nutri­tional man­date. They’re out of the reach of gov­ern­ment hands. It’s crazy. We see kids who take Fritos and put nacho cheese on them, and that’s their lunch.

How is your food dif­fer­ent?
We want to meet and exceed {U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture} guide­lines for public-school lunches, so we have a nutri­tion­ist who cre­ates our menus. Most impor­tant, we try to get rid of addi­tives, trans fats and chem­i­cals, and focus on fresh­ness and food purity. All of our ingre­di­ents are metic­u­lously cho­sen. There’s noth­ing inher­ently wrong with mac­a­roni and cheese when it’s made from scratch with whole-wheat pasta and Asi­ago and Parme­san cheeses. Our menu is made up of kids’ favorites that are secretly healthy.

Are schools eager to sign on?
We found that get­ting schools to par­tic­i­pate has been one of the eas­i­est aspects of our busi­ness. They were tired of hear­ing par­ents complain.

How have par­ents reacted?
Par­ents are so grate­ful. [They] like the con­ve­nience of going online and order­ing their kid’s meal. If we expose kids to [only] pizza, chicken nuggets, mac ‘n’ cheese and soda, that’s what they’ll want. If we give them a wide array of fla­vors and tastes, that’s what they’ll want. Par­ents tell us they can’t believe their kid ate some­thing on our menu, and they thank us for expos­ing them
to new things.

Do fran­chisees have to be culi­nary pros?
We make sure our fran­chisees are able to make the recipes, but they are writ­ten for kitchen pro­fes­sion­als. Their first key hire, and the per­son they have to bring to our train­ing ses­sions in Florida, is a chef. Our fran­chisees are pas­sion­ate, hard­work­ing peo­ple with busi­ness expe­ri­ence who like mar­ket­ing. They receive menus with sup­pli­ers and national pric­ing, and they get a very tight and fast pro­gram with not a lot of wig­gle room. They appre­ci­ate that.

Read more sto­ries about: Fran­chise, Food busi­nesses, Kids, Schools, Women entre­pre­neurs

Like this arti­cle? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kin­dle Fire.

This arti­cle was orig­i­nally pub­lished in the May 2012 print edi­tion of Entre­pre­neur with the head­line: Lunch Ladies.


Healthy Habit #8: Eat Local and in Season

This month we con­tinue our focus on the impor­tance of edu­ca­tion in fos­ter­ing healthy eat­ing habits for our chil­dren.  The beau­ti­ful thing is that nature makes this easy for us. We don’t have to go far­ther than our local farmer’s mar­ket to see what fruits and veg­gies are ripe, in-season, and ideal for incor­po­rat­ing into our family’s daily diet!

One of the best sea­sonal guides we’ve come across is by  It is an inter­ac­tive map that tells you what’s in sea­son where you live.  You can access it here:

What Does “Eat Local” Really Mean? 

You hear it over and over again – Eat Local!  Farm to Table!  Eat in Sea­son!  Truth is, the def­i­n­i­tion is really what­ever you want it to be – eat­ing local can mean eat­ing within a 50, 100, or 500 mile radius from your home. The term “loca­vore” is some­one who pri­mar­ily or exclu­sively eats foods grown or made within a 100 mile radius.  How­ever, eat­ing local can also mean eat­ing foods just from the U.S.A.  The rule of thumb is to eat foods grown or made as close to home as you real­is­ti­cally can, while still hav­ing the vari­ety of foods you need to prop­erly fuel your family.

What­ever your def­i­n­i­tion, there are many ben­e­fits to eat­ing locally:

  • Peak qual­i­ties of fresh­ness, nutri­tion, and taste
  • Fewer chem­i­cals needed to trans­port or sta­bi­lize food
  • Helps fight global warm­ing, reduce car­bon footprint
  • Helps the local econ­omy and local small business
  • Keeps your fam­ily in touch with the seasons
  • Makes a won­der­ful story about the food on your plate
  • Expands your menu with new, local varieties

Unfor­tu­nately, our country’s improve­ments in food sci­ence have removed us from the source and ori­gin of foods so much that many chil­dren don’t see the con­nec­tion between their diet and nature. Even see­ing car­rots with the green tops is enough shock fac­tor for some chil­dren used to see­ing pri­mar­ily prepack­aged, shelf-stable prod­ucts.  Ven­tur­ing out to see the source of local foods improves that line of sight and cre­ates much more excite­ment to your family’s meal­time than a trip down Aisle 9 ever could.

Where Can I Buy Local Foods?

One of the best ways to buy local pro­duce is to visit a farmer’s mar­ket in your area.   Make sure the kids tag along – talk­ing to farm­ers about their crops and see­ing the fresh pro­duce will help increase a child’s appre­ci­a­tion of the ori­gins of food.  There’s noth­ing that expands your child’s culi­nary hori­zons more than see­ing a potato with all the dirt on it or eggs that were laid just 24 hours before or nine dif­fer­ent vari­eties of let­tuce all in a row. In addi­tion to farmer’s mar­kets, a great way to intro­duce your chil­dren to local pro­duce is to do a fam­ily farm tour, or a farm to table din­ner, or go to a u-pick farm and pick it yourselves!

Local Har­vest offers an inter­ac­tive guide to assist you in find­ing farmer’s mar­kets in your area.  All you need to do is type in your zip code here:

You can find good infor­ma­tion on local u-picks here:

Some beau­ti­ful foods are mak­ing their way to us this fall, and you will see many of them on the Whole­some Tum­mies fall sea­sonal menu includ­ing:  pump­kins, apples, sweet pota­toes, broc­coli, spinach, and grapes.  Be sure to try them out before they’re gone!