Whole Foods Makes Healthy Eating Available to All

Whole Foods Market Northbrook is taking on a new cause: clean and healthy eating for all local consumers, regardless of income.

Through a partnership with the Glenview Farmers Market, Whole Foods Market Northbrook is offering free cooking and nutrition classes exclusively to consumers who shop at the farmer’s market using their Illinois Link Card. These three classes, offered between August and September, will cover basic cooking skills, nutrition information and a balanced diet—all information to help families eat healthy and make quick and easy family-style dinners. By focusing on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, Whole Foods Market hopes to inspire attendees to rethink and reinvigorate their relationships with food.

The purpose of these classes is to make healthy eating accessible, says Sarah Kurysz, Culinary Events Specialist at Whole Foods Market Northbrook. “It doesn’t have to be overwhelming,” she says. “These classes will really be focused on how you can cook meals every day that are budget-friendly, balanced and delicious.”

Kurysz has worked with kitchen equipment companies like Cuisinart and Vitamix to bring the demonstrations and instruction to life, using products like slow cookers and Vitamix’s esteemed blenders for live tutorials and even offering select items as giveaways. Individuals who attend all three classes will be entered in a drawing to win, in the hopes of encouraging continued healthy eating at home.

“It’s going to be so rewarding to show people how easy it is to use seasonal ingredients and cook complete, balanced meals that are also really budget-friendly,” Kurysz says.

To make the classes even more accessible, Kurysz and company have created a whole family experience, including free activities for children to occur simultaneously. By engaging children in activities that hone in on nutrition and healthy eating, Whole Foods Market strives to welcome the whole family. While parents will be in the classroom, learning knife skills, cooking and chopping, children will be entertained with a nutrition bag toss game, a store tour with healthy samples to teach “How to Eat a Rainbow,” and more. Moreover, each family will leave with a meal they can take and recreate at home.

Kurysz, a self-proclaimed self-taught chef and food enthusiast, will lead the classes. “It’s been really fun to think outside the box and put together recipes,” she says. “When you go to the Farmer’s Market, you see all of these things, and you don’t recognize half of them. These are recipes you can take, and plug in what you find at the Farmer’s Market. I’m excited to make it really versatile and totally accessible.”

“For delicious, nutritious food, you don’t need thousands of dollars every day, and you don’t need a fancy degree, and you don’t need hours and hours of time,” Kurysz adds. “You can make an amazing meal on a budget at the end of the workday, and it’ll be just as phenomenal.”

“Here on the North Shore, we do have Link Card users,” she says. “But we also have people who are trying to make steps toward making good choices by shopping at the Farmer’s Market, by eating seasonally, by eating globally.”

Whole Foods Market Northbrook will continue its mission to inject the local food climate with fresh, healthy ingredients with its Farm to Table Dinner event, Sunday, September 14, at historic Wagner Farm in Glenview. Whole Foods Market has paired with local restaurants to create a small-plate event; attendees will have the opportunity to taste a variety of unique dishes from chefs who are sourcing their seasonal ingredients locally.

Ticket sales from the September Farm to Table Dinner will be split between Wagner Farm, home to the Glenview Farmer’s Market, and Whole Foods Market’s own Whole Kids Foundation. The Whole Kids Foundation strives to provide healthy eating to local schools through salad bar installations and educational programming. The foundation additionally provides community gardens, including one at Northbrook Junior High School. To purchase tickets for the event, visit the Eventbrite page. They are expected to sell out.

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