Leanna Young and Carrol Pedersen prepare healthy

An idea whose time has come

New business makes healthy lunches for school kids

Carrol Pedersen and Leanna Young are hosting a revolution. A food revolution through social media to be exact.

Earlier this month, the two Sooke women lead a global discussion on “Bagged Lunches for Back-to-School” over Twitter with British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

They tweeted with other foodies and talked of ideas and ways to entice kids to eat healthier and enjoy doing so.

They were one of five or six business people chosen as guest hosts by Jamie Oliver to share information on a Twit party. They gave away prizes and facilitated the conversations then submitted an article to Jamie Oliver’s website.

Pedersen and Young are the brains and hands behind Lunchalicious, a small business intent on providing schools with healthier food options for their special food days. Usually the schools offer hot dogs and pizza.

The two moms met seven years ago at a baby talk session and have become the best of friends and business partners. Talk naturally turned to food and kids and school and health.

“We talked of lunches, fun foods that could be healthier options and we took matters into our own hands,” says Pedersen.

They began with their own kids and when others commented on the “cute” lunches, they knew they had a winning idea. Fruit lollipops, sandwiches in fun shapes, organic and locally grown veggies and gluten and sugar free options for treats were all on the lunch box menu.

“If we give a fun name to something kids are more likely to eat it, they love anything on a stick,” says Young. “We have a lot of fun with the creativity and baking things in fun shapes.”

They have been in business for two years catering mostly to private kid-oriented events. Now they want to branch out.

They want to approach Parent Advisory Committees about their healthy lunch specials and have them in the schools as an option for those who might wish them for their children.

Both women agree that those PACs making special food days are often overburdened with work and ideas and they think this is a perfect way to ease the work load. It also means parents have to make one less lunch a week and know their kids are eating healthy.

Healthy lunches prepared and delivered to the schools is not a new idea, it is a proven concept in the east and in the United States.

“A lot of schools are teaching more healthy lifestyle choices. They learn reading, writing, why not healthy eating?” stated Pedersen. “There is a definite initiative there for schools.”

Lunchalicious also takes the money changing out of it, they offer Paypal and on-line ordering.

For now, they will be attending a lot of PAC meetings and talking about their service.

Where will they be in five years?

Pedersen would like to see franchises across Canada and Leanne, more realistically, would like to see healthy lunches offered every day prepared in their own commercial kitchen with staff.

It is a labour of love and both women have the passion and commitment to see things through. They give a lot of credit to social media, Facebook and Twitter where they get a lot of support.