Of all the statistics on childhood obesity, perhaps none is more
striking than this: If current trends continue, 1 in 3 children
born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes during their
For Kathryn Guylay, who welcomed daughter Elena in 2000, that
number hit hard.
"That's my daughter, her friends, her classmates," Guylay says.
"That struck very, very close to home."
So the Winnetka mom took her passion for nutrition and
background in marketing and management and got cooking --
literally. Guylay founded Nurture, a growing
nonprofit that helps low-income families in the northern suburbs
shop, cook and eat healthier. She recruited a board full of
like-minded women, including a personal trainer, dietician and
registered nurse and the program now reaches hundreds of area
families through food pantries and school programs.
Too often, Guylay says, she hears that eating healthy is too
expensive, too complicated or takes too long. So the program takes
each of those barriers head-on, with recipes that rely heavily on
slow-cookers, stress whole grains and fresh produce, and come in
under $1.50 per serving.
"Flip the switch, go to work and come home to a healthy meal
for less than you'll pay at a drive-thru," Guylay
All the recipes taught in Nurture's classes and posted on
its Web site include a
TIPS FOR HEALTHY EATING
The program received a grant for $1,000 in February for its rice
cooker programs, which gives rice cookers to expectant mothers, and
teaches them how to cook whole grains, a major part of its
Nurture finds most of its clients through north suburban food
pantries. The Northfield Township Food Pantry, the biggest food
assistance program in the northern suburbs, serves more than 500
families in need. The program has also developed a kids' curriculum
that is being taught in elementary schools in Highwood, Des Plaines
and Evanston, with plans to expand to more districts next year.
Learning to eat healthy on a budget -- always an important
lesson -- is more valuable in light of the recession, Guylay says.
Enrollment at area food pantries is up 30 percent this year over
Nurture's classes are free for families whose kids qualify for
free or reduced-price lunch.
But there are tips in the group's classes that will come in
handy long after the recession eases. Among Guylay's
favorites? Steel-cut oats,
which have about twice the fiber of rolled oats and cost about 67
cents per serving.
"We're not food cops," says Juliette Britton, Nurture's staff
dietician and coordinator of its programs for kids. "We're just
here to make people a little bit more aware of how they can make
just a few better choices throughout the day."
For more information, class schedules and more than 30 original
recipes, visit nurtureyourfamily.org.
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