With the kids going back to school it’s a great time to refresh, restock and restart good eating habits. At Whole Foods Market® we’re excited to partner with many innovative small-scale food companies that are working hard to improve the contents of the American lunch box.
I run Whole Foods Market’s Local Producer Loan Program, which grants low-interest loans to small-scale farmers, ranchers and food producers and I’ve scoured the list of over 160 suppliers who have participated in the program to find products that can cure the lunchbox woes. Not all of these products are available nationally, though many are growing and expanding so you might see them someday soon. In the meantime, you can ask your Whole Foods Market store about the local foods they carry. You might find a new favorite for yourself!
For a convenient lunchbox option, check out Revolution Foods. Revolution was originally started as an in-school meal program in the Bay Area by two moms setting out to transform the school lunchroom. They now serve over a million freshly prepared nutritious meals to students across the country. Lucky for the rest of us, Revolution’s line has expanded into retail and they now offer kid-inspired Grab & Go Meal Kits. Flavors like Ham and Cheese, Turkey and Cheese, PB and J, and Cheese Pizza are a perfect size for a lunch box and contain meats raised without antibiotics, or added nitrites or nitrates, cheese made with milk from cows not treated with synthetic growth hormones (rBGH/rBST), one serving of fruit and at least 7 grams of whole grains.
(Revolution Foods meal kits are currently available in our Northern California stores.)
Swap out the soda with Red Jacket Juice. Run by a third-generation farming family in Geneva, New York, all of the cold-pressed juices contain only fruit that is grown on their orchards and don’t contain preservatives or enzymes. Even better, from August 28th to September 19th, for each 12-oz. juice bottle sold Red Jacket will donate 20 cents to the Whole Kids Foundation in an effort to raise money for school gardens and salad bars!
(Red Jacket Juice is available at Whole Foods Market stores in these states: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington DC.)
If your kids are tired of plain old peanut butter then you should get your hands on the upside-down jars of Nuttzo Organic Nut Butters. Created by a mom whose two adopted sons from the Ukraine were vitamin-deficient, Nuttzo combines legumes (peanuts) with nuts and seeds for a delicious blended butter that has six to seven grams of protein and at least 50% of the daily requirement of Omega-3 ALA’s per serving. They also have a no peanut variety and (my favorite) a Peruvian dark chocolate flavor.
(Nuttzo can be found in Whole Foods Market stores nationwide.)
When you are struggling to find an allergy-friendly treat for your little ones, look no further than Fancypants Bakery out of Walpole, Massachusetts. Founded in 2004 as a dedicated peanut and tree nut free facility, their cookies are made for those with nut allergies. They also don’t have any artificial preservatives, flavors and colors and their hand-decorated cookies are almost too pretty to eat!
(Fancypants Bakery products are currently available in Arizona, Arkansas, Southern California Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington DC, Wisconsin, and Ontario, Canada.)
If you are in the mood for Mediterranean food, keep your eye out for Roots Hummus in your local stores. Started in Asheville, North Carolina, Roots has over eight flavors of hummus and dips, including Black Bean, Thai Coconut Curry and an excellent Oil-Free Original. Like Red Jacket, Roots has also partnered with the Whole Kids Foundation to help raise money for school gardens! Just purchase any Roots product and they will donate 10 cents back to Whole Kids Foundation – up to $50,000!
(Look for Roots Hummus in our stores in Alabama, Arizona, Southern California, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Mississippi.)
Stop by Whole Foods Market to check out these – and many other – local products that will help you build a better lunch box.
Are there any local products in your or your kids’ lunch box? I’d love to hear about them.