We are thrilled to announce some fantastic new features on our website for the upcoming school year. Please check back after August 1st to see how we’re some making changes to better serve you! Here’s a taste of what you can expect:
- New look and feel for both wholesometummies.com and wtcafe.com
- Ability for customers to Auto-Reload Prepaid Accounts
- Ability for customers to add a second entrée from the full menu choices
- Easier access to nutritional labels (one click vs. two)
- Ability for customers to add multiple Extras to orders
- Ability for your school to add fresh food fundraisers to their program – all ordered online right on our website!
- Ability to place school catering orders right from our website
- Ability for customers to order class snacks or birthday treats right from our website
We hope you like the changes we’ve made as they are designed to improve the quality of your experiences with WT Café! We’re getting ready for a big new school year and can’t wait to hear what you think!
Reading labels at the grocery store can have a dizzying effect on the most savvy of consumers, especially when we are shopping for foods for our families. Just because it says “All Natural”, is that something we as parents can trust to be safe for our children? What about “Organic” – what does that really mean?
To simplify the confusion of misleading food labels, Tufts University’s Office of Sustainability has provided an in depth food label analysis chart that eases the shopping process and educates consumers on what we are really buying. The full version can be viewed at http://sustainability.tufts.edu/decoding-food-labels/
Below are several of the most common food labels:
100% Vegetarian Diet or Vegetarian Fed Only — Not Reliable
Not certified by an independent organization. Producers use these labels to indicate that the livestock or poultry was not fed any animal by-products. Only hay, grass, or grains. However, there is no guarantee this is true. This label does not signify that the animal was raised in a pasture.
Cage Free — Not Reliable
Commonly seen on egg cartons, “Cage Free” indicates that eggs come from chickens that were not confined in cages, but the label is not highly regulated by the Food Safety Inspection Service of the USDA. “Cage Free” does not necessarily mean that the birds were raised with adequate space or that they had access to the outdoors.
Certified Organic — Reliable
Farms and processors are inspected yearly by USDA-approved independent certifiers. These include California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), Farm Verified Organic (FVO), Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), and Oregon Tilth. Certified organic means the food cannot be grown using synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, or sewage sludge, and cannot contain genetically modified organisms or be irradiated. For meat labeled organic, the animals must be fed only with organically grown feed without animal byproducts, and should be free of hormones and antibiotics. Animals must have access to the outdoors — although they don’t necessarily need to spend time outdoors. Here are some sub-categories of organic labeling:
“100% Organic”: 100% of the ingredients must be organic
“Organic”: For a USDA Certified Organic seal, the product must have at least 95% organic ingredients
“Made with Organic Ingredients”: Must have at least 70 percent organic ingredients and list up to three organic ingredients or food groups on the principal display panel. Any product with less than 70% organic ingredients cannot print organic on their principal display panel, but may list organically produced ingredients in the ingredients list.
Fair Trade Certified — Reliable
Ensures that farmers receive fair prices, workers receive fair wages, and enables more direct access to the global market. TransFair USA certifies coffee, tea, herbs, cocoa, chocolate, bananas, sugar, rice, vanilla, flowers, and honey, based on the principles of fair prices, fair labor conditions, direct trade, community development, and environmental sustainability.
Natural or All Natural — Not Reliable and/or Misleading
There are no standards for these labels, with the exception of meat and poultry products. For meat and poultry, the USDA defines natural as, “A product containing no artificial ingredients or added color and only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product.)” In addition, the product must also bear a statement explaining the use of the term, such as “no artificial ingredients.” While the USDA has defined “natural” and can enforce its appropriate use, there is no verification system for certifying meat as “natural.”
The days are getting longer, which can only mean one thing, it is time to say goodbye to winter and make way for the spring along with its bounty of fresh produce that is beginning to make its appearance in markets nationwide.
Spring time allows us to awake from the winter slumber in which we cocooned ourselves during the last three months. This time of year is synonymous with lunch in the park and a leisurely walk in the evenings. Mother nature, along with a fluttering rainbow of butterflies and blue jays, fills our skies with color and life. On the ground, we begin to notice the specks of green that bud from the twisted arms of vines and trees everywhere. And, not to be left behind or forgotten, the garden begins to showcase its most awaited performers; asparagus, collard greens, onions, leeks, and broccoli amongst many others. Most of these vegetables are green, bright, light, and jam packed with vitamins and minerals. They give us a respite from the starchy ( but still delicious) and heavier vegetables with which we have been subsisting during the previous winter months.
The easiest way to find seasonal produce in your area is to skip along to a farm market that features locally grown and organic food. Because it has been grown locally, the freshness of the product is dramatically greater than that of a vegetable that has been hauled from across the country. However, if a farm market is not available in your area, a quick trip to the supermarket will give you a hint as to what is in season. Simply find that produce which is cheapest. Because there is an abundance of a certain fruit or vegetable during a specific time of the year, supermarkets will price it accordingly so that it flies off the shelves before it grows old and unappealing. There are also several sites online that offer interactive maps and lists of the produce available during each season of the year. The site www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org has an extensive list of the produce that is in season throughout the year. Likewise, epicurious.com has a seasonal ingredient map that allows users to find seasonal items specific to their location.
A delicious healthy treat recipe from the Wholesome Tummies Corporate Chef. Complete with the sweetness of coconut and the tartness of cranberries. Whole wheat flour gives it that extra punch of protein. Who needs supplements when you eat nutritious foods?
Health benefits of coconut? Improves heart health, high in dietary fiber, low glycemic index, reduces sweet cravings, improves digestion, quick energy boost, and gluten free.
And now cranberries.…Antioxidant-rich, prevents plaque on teeth, prevents stomach cancers and ulcers, increases good cholesterol (HDL), reduces
bad cholesterol (LDL), prevents tumors, wards off breast cancer, and blocks urinary track infections.
Enjoy with a tall glass of milk!
Cranberry Coconut Muffins
Yields approximately 12 muffins
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries or 1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries, rough chopped
- 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup milk or 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup chopped flaked coconut
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss cranberries with 1/4 cup of sugar, ginger and cinnamon in a bowl; set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1 cup sugar.
- Mix in coconut oil. Combine eggs with milk; stir into flour mixture until just
- moistened. Gently fold in coconut, orange zest and cranberries.
- Do not over mix.
- Fill paper-lined muffin tins two thirds full.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes
Helping schools and parents take a leadership role in improving kids’ health is what Wholesome Tummies is all about. Since starting the company in 2007 we have led the charge for healthy school lunches and now serve over 100 schools across the country, thanks to the support of our amazing customers.
But school lunch is just the tip of the iceberg.
Lunch is only one meal out of 3 daily, not to mention all the snacks consumed in between. To truly win this battle against childhood obesity we need to look at ALL foods accessible to our children, and ensure superior levels of nutrition across the board.
Inside the home, parents are in control of food sources and can easily eliminate empty calorie foods from their child’s menu. At school, however, we lose that control. Although ordering from WT Café assures that your child receives a fresh and nutritious lunch, your school may still unwittingly provide easy access to unhealthy fare – and send confusing, mixed messages as a result.
By filling vending machines with junk food, rewarding good classroom behavior with candy, or ordering fast foods for school events, your school is sending negative food influences to your child — un-doing all the hard work you’ve put in to instill healthy habits at home. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all on the same page?
That’s why in 2013, Wholesome Tummies and WT Café are kicking it up a notch!
For us, this year is about more than lunch….It’s about a Movement. A movement to provide schools and parents with access to fresh, from-scratch foods in ALL aspects of the school’s food program. A movement to make a real and lasting change to our children’s health and well-being. The movement starts with the introduction of some exciting new programs inside the school and the home:
School — By offering fresh food choices at catering school events and meetings, vending machines and school stores, athletic events, and classroom birthday celebrations, WT Café can help schools maintain a consistent commitment to student health throughout the school day.
Home – By offering nutritious and convenient family meals from our rotating seasonal menu, WT Cafe will provide busy parents with a great way to maintain a consistent commitment to family health.
If you desire further improvements in the overall food program at your child’s school, please let us know today! We will work together with your school to solidify their commitment to the health of your children. By role modeling the right behaviors and providing the right foods, your school can further their education mission and take another bold step in fighting our country’s health crisis. Now that’s how to create lasting change.
Join the Movement!
The holidays are here! It’s a wonderful time of year, when families across the globe celebrate togetherness by cooking food – and lots of it! Food-stained, handwritten recipes passed down for generations are dusted off and made anew. We are once again reminded at this time of year that the best gift this holiday season is The Gift of a Healthy Life.
THE GIFT OF A HEALTHY LIFE
Cooking is one of those activities that costs little but means much. Why else would we lovingly cook for friends and family at holiday time? There is a deep gratification that comes from feeding loved ones well.
Along with the joy of cooking, the holidays are generally a time for getting back into first gear. Pace of life slows down. School closes. Work is less demanding. We refocus on what is truly important in our lives, and recharge our batteries for a fresh New Year.
With less chaos in our homes this holiday season, there is more time for meaningful conversations with our kids. Whether it’s quality time around the dinner table or a board game by the fireplace, the holidays bless us with opportunities for increased significance and purpose in our daily interactions. Holiday time is the perfect time for “teachable moments”.
What is a “teachable moment”?
A teachable moment is an unplanned opportunity to have an honest yet constructive conversation with someone we care about with the intent of helping them be better, stronger, and more capable at navigating the game of life.
Finding teachable moments is the ultimate challenge of parenthood, as they are hard to find in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Yet, with the holidays everything changes and these moments become readily apparent.
Maybe it’s because we are more present and fully in the moment with our kids — We are more in tune with THEM. Or maybe it’s because in facing a new year we are reflecting on our own shortcomings — We are more in tune with OURSELVES.
Either way, the holidays are a time to create deeper meaning in our own lives and close relationships. As parents, this means more opportunities to teach our kids how to be better, stronger, and more capable individuals.
What will you teach your kids this holiday season?
You can use “teachable moments” to cover topics such as feeling safe in school (something on everyone’s minds after the tragedy in Connecticut), the birds and the bees, classwork and grades, weight management, life goals and purpose, bad habits, or everyday life choices.
At Wholesome Tummies, we like to use “teachable moments” to educate our children to love themselves; to appreciate the gift of life they have been given; and to treat themselves and their bodies with love and respect. We like to help our children understand the significance of their daily choices in shaping the quality and longevity of their lives.
New research has shown that with the daily choices we make in our lives we can actually add or subtract 30 minutes to our life span. We are all aware of whether the daily decisions we make are good ones or bad ones when it comes to our health, but to be able to quantify how those choices impact the aging process is nothing short of amazing.
This new research defines each of these 30 minute gifts as one “microlife” – equal to one half hour of lifespan. Some activities ADD a microlife and some SUBTRACT a microlife, as you see below:
- Exercise for 20 minutes
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables
- Take a statin (drugs for cholesterol management)
- Have one alcoholic drink per day
- Be overweight by 11 pounds
- Eat more than 3 oz of red meat (e.g. a burger)
- Smoke two cigarettes
- Have a second or third alcoholic drink
As a parent, there is no greater pleasure than to know our kids are OK. Safe. Happy. Healthy. As a parent, there is no greater joy than to know our children lived their lives to the fullest. As a parent, we measure our success according to how well we set our children up for success. After all, what more could a parent want for their child but to live a long, healthy, and happy life?
We hope you take time this holiday season to talk with your kids about the impact of their daily choices. With current projections that 50% of Americans will be obese by the year 2030, it’s up to us as parents to show our children the path to a healthier future.
This holiday season, let’s come together and teach our kids how to add (NOT subtract) microlives to their lifespans. We can’t think of a better present to wrap this year than the gift of a healthy life.
From our kitchens to yours,
Happy, Healthy Holidays!
The Wholesome Tummies Family
Apple Tortilla with Pumpkin Dip
Take advantage of this year’s apple and pumpkin harvests by combining them to create this yummy comfort food. Perfect as an afterschool snack, but nutritious enough for a light lunch (and wonderful paired with a cup of homemade soup)! Here’s all you need to do:
Lay out a 6” whole wheat or gluten-free tortilla wrap. Spread softened butter on the tortilla, use just enough butter to lightly cover the tortilla (1/2 Tbl is fine). To make a wrap, place three or four apple slices, sliced 1/8th thick and coated lightly in cinnamon, horizontally in lower center of the tortilla. Fold the bottom third of the tortilla up over the filling. Take the left side of the Tortilla (the part that has no filling on it) and fold it over the filling. Repeat with the right side of the tortilla, then roll it up to enclose the filling in a neat, easy to eat packet.
Heat a 6” or larger non stick pan on medium heat, spray with pan coating oil, and lay the tortilla in pan and heat for 2–4 min on each side, remove from heat. Dip in pumpkin dip. This treat also goes well with a glass of skim milk or gluten-free rice milk.
1 cup yogurt, plain, low-fat
2 cup powdered sugar
14 oz pumpkin — puree
Instructions for pumpkin dip:
In the bowl of a standing mixer with paddle attachment beat together yogurt and powdered sugar on high speed. Add pumpkin
and cinnamon, beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth.
WHOLESOME TUMMIES, NATIONAL PROVIDER OF HEALTHY SCHOOL SOLUTIONS, 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 www.wholesometummies.com.
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 www.wholesometummies.com.