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Full tank

(article, Ashley Griffin Gartland)

It’s back-to-school season, which for many parents translates into days spent worrying about what their kids are eating — or not eating — at school.

One Seattle parent, John Anderson, decided to stop worrying and solve school lunch for himself. The result is Full Tank Foods, a company that makes and markets a line of taste-bud-fooling, vegetable-rich organic meals. The lunches are served in numerous schools and food-service programs around Seattle.

Anderson tested his creations at home, on his vegetable-shunning sons. He and his wife changed the way they cooked vegetables and built a cookbook of techniques to make vegetables more appealing to their little ones. 

[%image feed-image float=right caption="Full Tank's Secret Agent Pasta."]

After selling their discoveries at the farmers' market and to friends, they contracted with local elementary schools to incorporate a “vegetables in disguise” product line into school lunches. 

Even if your kid’s school isn’t on the Full Tank service list, you can pick up Full Tank products at an increasing number of Whole Foods stores around the country. The meals are certainly an improvement over traditional prepackaged "kids' lunches" available in supermarkets; the long-running Lunchables line of snacky meals, for example, adds loads of calories and saturated fat with nary a fresh veggie in sight.

According to Anderson, kids don't care that the mac'n'cheese produced by Full Tank is really made with carrots and winter squash. It’s still yellow and creamy, but it’s also got a boost of Vitamin A, a serving of vegetables, and less calories than the traditional version.

Sneaky, but maybe effective. In an article in Seattle Metropolitan magazine, Anderson admitted that some of his subversive food ideas were more weird than wonderful: "I actually called a baby food a Bloody Mary," he told the magazine. "It was tomato and celery." 

Minus the vodka, presumably.

feed-image, l