How One Organic Foods Startup Is Helping Kids Eat Healthier at School

Last Update: July 20, 2023

When the New York City Public School system set out to offer healthier cereals to students who qualify for the free breakfast program, they knew the endeavor would be pointless unless the kids were involved. School officials selected a few options, keeping a close eye on sugar and sodium content, then started serving them to the students. When the results from the taste tests came back, they were a little surprised when the minimally sweetened corn flakes beat other choices like chocolate-flavored whole-grain flakes.

The winner was Back to the Roots Organic Purple Corn Flakes, which uses non-GMO purple corn from a farm in Minnesota to make its violet-hued flakes. School officials were also excited by the choice because the cereal is made from three simple ingredients: 100% stoneground purple corn, organic cane sugar, and a pinch of sea salt. At 40 grams of whole grains and only 5 grams of sugar per serving, it’s a vast improvement over past options.

Crafting cereals with simple, high-quality, wholesome ingredients is part of Back to the Roots’ Undo Food movement: stripping out preservatives, fillers, and flavor-enhancers until all that’s left are recognizable foods.

That’s the idea behind the company’s line of cereals, which rely on high-quality, organic foods for flavor, not something concocted in a chemical lab. One of the cereals even uses biodynamically-grown ingredients, which adhere to higher standards than organically grown crops.

The cereals appear on school breakfast menus throughout Phoenix and cities in California, but beyond the cafeteria, Back to the Roots is also trying to get into classrooms. Its Ready to Grow line of self-contained planters are designed to help people reconnect with where their food comes from—and are a way to get kids excited about healthy, whole foods. In addition to educator discounts and a school-centered Grow One, Give One program, the company provides free curriculum resources to help teach kids about the science behind the kits.

And for parents who might also need some help with knowing what to do with home-grown ingredients, the company offers inventive recipes to use with its Ready to Eat and Ready to Grow products. Tomato Basil Egg Zucchini Boats, Crunchy Avocado Fries, and Cinnamon Cereal Snickerdoodles are must-tries!

Photo credit: David Kalka

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Melinda Gross

Melinda writes about health, wellness, and food for the Thrive Market blog. She started her career as a financial journalist in NYC and has written for Where Magazine, Worth, Forbes, and When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys working out, sketching, and playing with her daughter and mini-dachshund, Goliath.

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