School Lunch Goes Wholesome

Parents have spent years complaining about the lunch options offered to kids. Instead of complaining about what their kids ate at school, Debbie Blacher and Samantha Gotlib started Wholesome Tummies to offer a better option.

“Over some barbecue, we discussed our shared passion for healthy foods and childhood nutrition,” Gotlib said. “We discussed the lack of good, fresh and healthy options available for kids, and before we knew it, Wholesome Tummies was born.”

They spent the next year setting up the school lunch program, which delivers “kid-centric and appealing,” nutritionally balanced, made-from-scratch-in-their-commercial-kitchen boxed lunches to area schools. They launched the business with service to five schools in Central Florida, all the while busy with newborn babies.

“I went on to have a fourth child soon thereafter, but that didn’t slow us down,” Gotlib said. She and Blacher grew their business to include more than a dozen schools locally, and two years ago, franchised their concept across the state and the country. They now have locations in south Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Palm Beach County, north Atlanta, mid-Ohio and Las Vegas.

“There is a giant hole in the food industry for pure, wholesome and all-natural children’s foods, and an aching need for it, given our current state of childhood obesity and diabetes,” Blacher said. “I love going to work every day knowing I am doing good in the world by improving access to fresh, healthy foods for kids.”

Photo by Shannon Ramos

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