StorytellingWashington D.C.

Mom & Entrepreneur of This & That Lunch Kit Launch on Kickstarter

With the innovative This & That Lunch Kit, kids will actually look forward to making and opening their lunchbox! Mom Carine Rosalia and founder of Lunch Squares LLC has created a simple three step process that will not only nourish children at lunchtime with delicious, healthy, well-rounded meals, but also teach kids how to make good food choices. The kit was carefully designed as an all-in-one solution to help families prepare nutrient-packed lunches together ahead of time and avoid scrambling in the morning. The kit contains three collapsible silicone containers that hold perfect, age-appropriate portions for kids, kid-friendly recipe cards designed to get kids involved in the kitchen, detachable shopping cards, and stickers and a pen for kids to decorate and customize them. The containers are safe for the oven, fridge, microwave and freezer. We had an opportunity to interview Carine and asked about her story, how she started her business and the future of This & That Lunch Kit.

 

Tell us your story, Why did you start your business?

The idea for This & That Lunch Kit came when I became a single mom trying to juggle parenting and a career. I experienced first hand how hard it was to find time and balance in my life so I set out to build a product that would help families transform a chore into fun while helping kids develop healthy habits. I was getting lots of interest in the lunches that I was making for my daughter inspired by a family recipe that I used to make with mom, growing up in France. It was easy to make and I added vegetables to make it more balanced. When I realized the potential for these recipes to become a healthy alternative to the plain sandwiches, which are often the staple of the lunch box, I worked with a French nutritionist to develop a set of recipes inspired by seasonal vegetables.

 

It was important for me to involve my daughter in the lunch-making process s. Involving children in the kitchen is a great way for them to develop healthy habits and they are more inclined to eat what they have made. With that in mind, I broke down the recipes by kid-friendly, age-appropriate steps, so families would know exactly how to let children participate in the preparation. I also came up with shopping lists that could be more of a roadmap for kids to learn how to shop for vegetables and learn about their properties. Next, I designed containers that could go from the oven to the fridge to the lunch box. The containers are made of food-grade silicone so they are safe and really easy for kids to use. Finally, I added some accessories to personalize the containers and write daily messages. I want my story and experience to serve families by making parents’ lives easier and children’s lunches healthier.
How did you come up with your business name?

This & That Lunch Kit is a nod to the mother (This) and child (That) connection, which is really at the heart of my project. The lunch kit reinforces the parent-child relationship by providing kid-friendly recipes that help transform lunch box making from chore into a fun bonding activity. My daughter is also the impetus for my project. The idea for This & That Lunch Kit came when I became a single mom going through a difficult separation. I decided to transform my anger and sadness into something positive to provide a good example to my daughter. This & That Lunch Kit is a product of love, recovery and inspiration.

 

Tell us about your products and services. How do you help clients?

This & That Lunch Kit is a set of recipes and accessories to prepare easy, healthy and playful lunch box for kids. Children need a well balanced lunch to help them focus through the day and grow into healthy adults. But packing a healthy lunch can be a real challenge for parents pressed for time. Who has time to pour over Pinterest recipes every morning and prepare perfectly manicured lunch boxes day after day? With This & That Lunch Kit, parents get seasonal recipes approved by a nutritionist and accessories to involve children in the kitchen so families can prepare the lunch boxes in advance for the week in 3 easy steps:

  1. 1.Shop: Kids help pick out fresh vegetables with the illustrated shopping lists.
  2. Make: Families make the recipes together with kid-friendly instructions.
  3. Decorate: Kids have fun customizing their creations with stickers and pens.

This & That Lunch Kit help make parents’ lives easier and children’s lunch boxes healthier.

 

What makes you unique? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?

Parents are looking for solutions to feed their kids healthy food that they actually want to eat. Some turn to subscription meal plans but those can get expensive very quickly. This & That Lunch Kit is not a meal plan. It is an entire set of accessories that families can use over and over to make the recipes together. It is more sustainable for the budget and the planet. It is also more empowering for families: instead of receiving ingredients in a package every week, families learn how to show with their kids. With This & That lunch Kit, families get a set of shopping lists to match the recipes so going to the market can become an adventure finding the right produce and an educational opportunity for kids who learn about the different vegetables through the illustrated recipes, how to pick them and why they are good for kids.
This & That Lunch Kit is also unique in that the containers provided in the kit are made of food grade silicone and can go in the oven, microwave, fridge and freezer. Families prepare the recipes and can fit them right into the same container that will go from baking to storing to the lunch backpack. This allows families to save precious time from doing the dishes. The container are shock resistant to make it practical to transport, yet very easy for kids to open. Then just wash the containers in the dishwasher and repeat.

Easy:  All the accessories to get lunch ready for the week and get kids involved in the preparation.
Healthy: The recipes are developed with a French nutritionist and based on USDA recommendations. The collapsible containers fit the perfect portions for toddler and older kids.
Eco-friendly: 100% FDA food grade silicone containers are safe and durable to reduce everyday waste.
Fun: Stickers and pens make it fun for kids to get involved in the lunch preparation and get excited about eating their lunch.

 

Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?

The goal is to get This & That Lunch Kit to as many families as possible by leveraging online sales and relationships with large and small retailers. I plan to introduce different editions of recipes for kids with special diets (gluten-free, vegan) and partner with different designers to add new lines of stickers. I also have ideas to add games and toys to educate children about healthy eating.

 

Any advice you would give to entrepreneurs and business owners?

Just do it! I keep a little family notebook entitled “The Book of Awesomeness” in which we each  write our ideas for inventions and new companies. While this journal is a great source of entertainment, I am happy and proud that I pursued my idea to realization. At one point, you have to stop looking into the mirror and jump into the wild. Do your homework to make sure that your idea is sustainable and get out there! I received lots of comments from friends and family expressing how much they were inspired that I gave wings to my dream. You will always find reasons not to go forward with a project but I am proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone to launch This & That Lunch Kit.

 

What is your favorite business quote and why?

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”This quote by Winston Churchill embodies the very essence of what it means to be an entrepreneur: always looking at ways to improve and picking ourselves back up when things get rough. It’s a perpetual quest.

 

What have been some of your achievements that you are most proud of? Why?
My biggest achievement is raising a happy child and exemplifying what it means to pursue my dreams.

 

Anything else additional you want to tell our readers?

Feedback is one of the most precious resource that you can get. Don’t let negative comments bring you down and find ways to welcome different opinions and challenging questions to help you grow.

 

What does it mean to you to be a Healthy CEO?

Finding a balance as a parent and an entrepreneur can be really difficult. I try to resource every week through yoga and dance. I also try to schedule dedicated time to each of my family member so I don’t lose sight of my priorities.

 

What makes the DMV (Washington D.C., Maryland & Virginia area) a great place to be an entrepreneur or business owner?

The DC area has lots to offer to entrepreneurs, including resources such as Made in DC and the DC Women’s Business Center. It’s a great place for government contractors, of course, but DC is expanding way beyond its government identity with amazing startups emerging every month.

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