By Rob Larson, CIF Community Life Coordinator
Do you know anyone who wants to eat healthy? Many of us have this desire, but with our busy lifestyles, we find it easier to pick up a burger than buy an apple. When we actually find time to shop for groceries, then there is the daunting task of cooking healthy meals. With cooking comes clean up, and before we know it, eating healthy seems an unattainable goal…we’d rather spend that time watching TV. Obesity has become a national epidemic, and healthy eating habits are a top concern for families of adults with disabilities as they encourage loved ones to live a full life.
This is where Top Box Foods comes into play. Top Box Foods, a nonprofit started by Chris Kennedy, son of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy, has a mission of bringing high-quality, low-cost food to families in the Chicago area and eventually around the country. Kennedy, 49, emphasizes that Top Box is not a charity, but a way to get discounted groceries to families who live in areas that either lack grocery stores or have an abundance of fast food. Customers' payments cover the cost of food and delivery, including a donation to the host distribution site equal to 5 percent of the proceeds.
Jonathon Dohogne, a Center for Independent Futures (CIF) participant, has had a goal to eat healthy and exercise since January; and he has lost 15 pounds! Jonathon worked closely with his CIF Life Skills Tutor to create a meal plan, budget his money appropriately for a weekly trip to the grocery store, and begin the task of cooking healthy meals. As a part of his plan, Jonathon eats a frozen pre-made meal for lunch, and cook larger meals that he puts into portion sizes for dinners.
Most of the options for pre-made meals in the grocery stores are high in preservatives and sodium. Top Box Foods pre-made meals are prepared with fresh ingredients and without the preservatives and sodium. The meals are delicious, and perfect for anyone who doesn't have much time to cook a healthy meal for lunch. Jonathon thinks they’re “Awesome!”
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