The brown bag lunch has gone high-tech.
Beginning this school year, parents of students at a dozen area schools can order customized lunches for their children with the click of a mouse.
Smart Lunches, founded in Boston three years ago, arrived in the Washington area this month. The company partners with local catering companies — in this case, To Your Taste Catering in Alexandria — to prepare and deliver lunches to area schools.
Parents can order up to a month’s worth of meals using the Smart Lunches Web site. Lunch options can be filtered based on dietary restrictions, allergies and other preferences.
“In this day and age, there are virtually no one-solution lunches,” said Emily Green, chief executive and “chief lunch lady” of Smart Lunches. “We’re focused on fresh ingredients that are in formats kids enjoy.”
The company primarily works with schools that do not have on-site cafeterias or meal programs. At Reston Montessori School, students have traditionally brought their own lunches. A few weeks ago, the school began partnering with Smart Lunches. Director Helena C. Crick says the number of families signing up for the program has been steadily rising.
“We like the program because it offers a variety of healthy items, is portion-controlled, has allergy opt-outs, and cold and hot options,” Crick wrote in an e-mail. “We also like it because the menu options rotate seasonally but familiar and popular items remain on the list.”
Each meal costs about $6, and parents can choose from 10 to 12 options on a given day. Recent lunches include turkey meatball sandwiches, baked chicken fingers over brown rice and roasted pork enchiladas.
Among the dozen area schools participating in the program are St. James Catholic School in Falls Church, Christian Center School in Alexandria and Country Montessori School in Herndon.
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