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updated: 3/30/2012 2:40 PM

Gail Borden joins Provena to offer family food program

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Pineapple orange slushies, French toast fingers, yogurt and granola berry parfaits and a snack called "creepy spiders" are on the menu for 10 Elgin families about to start an eight-week nutrition program at the Gail Borden Public Library.

Jackie Caul, a dietitian at Provena St. Joseph Hospital, said the program -- I'm Reducing Obesity in Children -- will keep kids ages 5 to 10 busy making healthy foods while parents soak up educational workshops about healthy cooking and eating strategies.

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But parents will get to sample their kids' cooking experiments as well.

"We're trying to incorporate fruits and vegetables in a way kids and families may not be aware of," Caul said.

When they make vegetable pizza, the focus will be more on the veggies than on the cheese. All the meals will be low in fat and geared toward increasing the number of fruit and vegetable servings families get each day.

A local health assessment by the Kane County Health Department and county hospitals showed fewer than 11 percent of people in northern Kane County eat as many servings of fruits and vegetables as they should with two out of three adults overweight or obese. In both statistics, the county ranks worse than state and national averages.

Tina Viglucci, Hispanic outreach coordinator at the library, said the program follows 2, one-day workshops where parents and kids cooked healthy snacks at different stations. The programs were offered bilingually and very well-attended, Viglucci said.

"Having the whole family participate makes it fun, makes it convenient and the education works really well," Viglucci said. "You're getting everyone involved in planning a meal."

I'm Reducing Obesity in Children is funded through a grant awarded to Provena Mercy Medical Center. Both the Aurora and Elgin locations are offering four workshops throughout the year. Caul said a daytime program will be offered from June 14 through Aug. 9 and another in the evenings in the fall. Viglucci said the fall program likely will be offered in Spanish.

The health-focused programs fit right in with the library's summer reading program theme, Reading is so Delicious. A host of food-centered programs are on tap in coming months. Visit gailborden.info for details.

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