Healthy Sprouts: Creating Healthier Lifestyles One Community at a Time

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 15:07 Written by  Ebony L. Morman

As an adult, I’m sure you equate most of your childhood memories with some type of food. More times than not, family time revolved around dining out at a sit-down restaurant or grabbing a McDonald’s happy meal as a reward. Summer days were filled with many trips to the corner store for all types of junk food: cookies, candy, chips and whatever else your heart desired. During the school year, trips to that same corner store, after school and even sometimes before school, were most likely the highlight of the day. Being able to eat whatever you want has always been a rite of passage for children. After all, all of your “baby teeth” fall out anyway.


Somewhere along the lines, things changed. Today, children still believe that they’re entitled to all types of junk food, but it seems as though the number of overweight children has been bought to our attention quite a bit as of late.

“Children and their obesity have reached epidemic proportion in Illinois,” says Pasha Golliday, creator of Healthy Sprouts. “One in five children is obese, and it’s the worse in the nation.”

Maybe the decrease in physical activity is what separates generations, maybe technology has made it almost impossible for children to be more active, or maybe we can attribute it to the fact that it’s no longer safe to ride your bike or jump rope in your own neighborhood.

We can speculate forever, but Pasha and her Healthy Sprouts initiative are actually trying to address childhood obesity by making it easier for Chicago residents to live a healthier lifestyle.

Healthy Sprouts is about helping young people get a head start by not only making healthier food choices, but also keeping them active all year long, using awards and prized as incentives, Pasha comments.

Healthy Sprouts, which was nominated for the 2010 Chicago Innovation Award, focuses on delivering healthy food to the residents in Chicago who live in food deserts, communities where there isn’t a grocery store that sells healthy food options for miles.

“We have liquor stores and the FDA requires them to sell fruits, vegetables and healthy food options,” Pasha says, “but as we all know, that’s not the case. It’s just not fresh and it’s not organic.”

Realizing that proximity isn’t the only issue, Pasha knows that due to the state of the economy, finance is definitely an issue for the parents as well, she adds.

Oftentimes, it becomes easier to start outside of the home when trying to pinpoint the problem, but inside the home may be a good place to start.  hs

“It’s a parent’s job to teach children moderation,” Pasha says. “AlI of the education really should start at home. It shouldn’t be just the schools job to teach our children.”

However, since children spend a great deal of time at school, what they eat during school is also becoming increasingly important, especially considering in some communities that’s the only meal children receive all day, Pasha adds.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative highlights the importance of improving the quality of school lunches, making small changes at home, making healthy options for accessible and enforcing the importance of psychical activity among children.

“I applaud what she’s doing and I really support what she’s doing,” Pasha comments. “It’s a positive program. That’s just positive stuff that I would like people to know about.”

However, in the meantime, Healthy Sprouts is the answer to creating a healthy, affordable convenient option not only during the school year, but all year long.

Pasha admits that a commitment to a healthier lifestyle is easier said than done.

“When you commit to being healthier and eating healthier, it’s a lot of work,” Pasha says. “We just want to help make it convenient.”

For more information about Healthy Sprouts, visit

Ebony L. Morman

Ebony L. Morman

GMO's Senior Editor Ebony L. Morman received her B.A. in journalism from Northern Illinois University and her master’s in journalism from Columbia College Chicago. The Chicago-native enjoys writing about almost anything, but since she also has a passion for music, writing reviews of albums has become one of her favorite past times. Aside from GMO, Ebony freelances for a variety of publications and volunteers in her community.

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