For busy and concerned parents, today’s food landscape is extremely challenging to navigate. With mysterious sounding artificial ingredients, sugars, and starches found in even the most benign supermarket foods, it’s becoming increasingly hard to avoid unwanted ingredients. From high fructose corn syrup in a simple loaf of bread to gums and artificial flavors in yogurt we assume to be wholesome and natural, a conscientious trip to the supermarket requires a ton of time and perhaps a good pair of reading glasses! Now, factor in food allergies, and the simple task of buying nutritional and wholesome food for the family becomes monumental.
That’s where Wholesome Tummies and WT Café come in. As our customers, you can be rest assured that our foods do not contain artificial additives or flavors. We do the legwork for you so you don’t have to! Our mission is to provide “fresh, nutritious, and exciting foods to every child, everywhere.” We are starting this movement in schools by cooking from scratch every day in local kitchens across the country and distributing our delicious, kid-favorite foods to students and teachers in the schools we serve. It is our hope that through our research we can help parents learn and understand about the insidious ingredients lurking in our children’s most common foods.
If you haven’t seen our Nutritional Comparison that compares our foods to commonly purchased kids’ foods, click here. You will be amazed at how long some of these ingredient lists are!
An alarming number of American children are currently developing food allergies. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2007, approximately 4-6% of U.S children under 18 had some kind of food allergy. Among the most common is the peanut allergy, which has increased by 3000% in the last 15 years and continues to grow every year.
What’s a parent to do? While the research may not exactly point to the source of increase in food allergies, knowing what foods prompt these allergies is critical to avoiding them. Due to the growing number of food allergies in the country, the FDA passed a set of regulations in 2004 requiring that all packaged foods be labeled with a food allergy warning when the ingredient list includes at least one of the top 8 common allergens: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.
At Wholesome Tummies, we have developed an online Allergy Profile system that allows our customers to filter menu items according to these 8 primary allergens. We have also eliminated the use of peanuts and tree nuts from our menu altogether. ** Please note that most WT Café locations do cook in kitchens with shared equipment, meaning we cannot guarantee that our foods have not been exposed to these allergens. Specifically for children with severe food allergies, we do recommend taking extra precautions. Try as we may to keep our menus as healthy and diverse for as many children as we can, WT Café is likely not a good choice for extreme cases. **
Owner of the WT Café of South Hennepin County, MN, Bill Stelle, has a great deal of experience with food allergies as his daughter suffers from several. He has found that steering away from processed foods that may contain allergens has actually guided his family in the direction of a healthier lifestyle and smarter food choices. This is the proverbial silver lining for a problem that is becoming more and more common given the challenges of our current food supply.
To learn more about our approach to food allergens and how they relate to your child, please click here. Of course, you can always send us an email or contact your local WT Café. Remember, it’s more than lunch, it’s a movement!