How to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthier Foods [Interview][Transcript]

Kathryn_Kemp_Guylay_kids_nutritionGuest: Kathryn Kemp Guylay
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Kathryn Kemp Guylay is Founder of Nurture in Illinois. Kathryn wears many hats for Nurture including Board Chair and Executive Director. Kathryn loves to work directly with participants, applying her bilingual abilities as needed and offering her expertise as a Certified Nutritional Counselor. Kathryn also gives presentations at school assemblies or other group gatherings and is available as a Trainer on the Nurture curricula. Kathryn has a masters degree in business administration (MBA) and was a principal in a management consulting company prior to her entrance into the world of nutrition education.

Segment overview: Kathryn Kemp Guylay, MBA, and Certified Nutritional Counselor, has for health professionals some quick, easy tips to give to frazzled parents who are asking questions about picky eaters and how to encourage kids to eat healthier foods.


Health Professional Radio -Kids Nutrition

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you so much for joining us today. Our guest in studio today is returning to lend us some more of her time, Kathryn Guylay, Speaker, certified Nutritional Counselor, Founder and Executive Director of Nurture – a national non-profit that provides nutritional wellness and education to children and their families. She collaborates through several health initiatives such as our First Lady’s Let’s Move, The Center for Science and the Public Interest and The Wellness Council of America. She’s also an Author, best-selling and award winning Author, her first work, Mountain Mantras: Wellness and Life Lessons from the Slopes and her upcoming book due to be published July of this year as a matter of fact, ‘Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow.’ Good afternoon Kathryn.

Kathryn Guylay: Good afternoon Neal.

N: Thank you so much for returning and lending us some more of your time.

K: Oh it’s a pleasure to be here. What fun.

N: Thank you. We were talking about your book, ‘Mountain Mantras,’ using snow sports as metaphors for success in life and in health. Talk about that first book and why you wrote it.

K: Well I’ll just give you one example in terms of how skiing can be in snow sports can be a metaphor for wellness and life. So what I noticed, when I learned to ski it was not only terrifying and painful but it was somewhat humbling, right? And I would show up at my class and I noticed that the attitudes of the people around me really correlated with how their outcomes manifested. So if somebody showed up and said “I really don’t want to be here, It’s cold, I’m gonna have a terrible day, wah, wah, wah” I noticed that they are getting cold, probably falling, not having fun and not having a smile on their face, right? And so I think that, that is true with how we look at wellness and actually how we look at how our day might unfold but I think it’s very important for health care practitioners to keep things positive at when they are talking to their patients and when they’re trying to help people and inspire people. I don’t like the word ‘diet’ because it’s kind of a four letter word, I much prefer nutritional plan or lifestyle plan, again keeping it positive. I don’t like when things are considered shameful or forbidden because I think that puts people on the defense and it’s very difficult to educate people when they’re on the defense. So I really think that positive psychology is just one of those examples where it’s very applicable whether you’re in sports, whether in your everyday life or whether you’re really trying to improve somebody’s health and wellness.

N: Nutritional education in med school, that’s not something that is part of the course, to use a golf analogy in talking about doctors. Okay, yeah I’ll date myself and be corny for a moment, okay? But when we’re talking about nutrition, our physicians aren’t getting a whole lot of education about the basic nutrition, about how to keep yourself preventatively healthy by the foods that you eat. Now you learned very early in life how the food that you eat directly affects how you feel, your concentration, you’ve got an upcoming book, a children’s book as I said ‘Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow’ where you’re talking to kids and educating them about the importance of a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables. When you’re talking about physicians who haven’t got a lot of education in nutrition, how do you get the conversation started when you think that maybe that something that would apply to you? How do you talk to your physician about it when they may be wanting to say “Hey, let’s do this prescription”?

K: Well what’s interesting and I realized that med school is packed, right? And it’s interesting because growing up in the health followed with my Biochemist dad, it’s interesting he actually taught nutrition at the medical school and I would go and sit in on some of his lectures and they’re mostly about Krebs cycle. They were not about putting three colors of fruits and vegetables on your plate, things that are actionable, how to read a label, how to tell what is a Whole grain versus the processed grain, things like that. So I do think that, that there is this need and I think that’s probably one of the things that attracted me to coming into this field with my different background in business and then growing up in the household of a Biochemist and always having been interested in the field but I went into this area of being a certified Nutritional Counselor because I felt like we all need to complement each other, because physicians do have so much to do, not only in their education but in their day and in that very limited time that they have with their patients. So I think it’s in terms of being able to bring it up, I think patients just need to remember that a physician or a nurse or anyone in the health care field sees so much and that might seem very deep into a specific area, right? If you’re a Cardiologist you have a very deep knowledge in that area but we as everyday humans really just need basic things like how to read a label, how to know the difference between whole grains and processed grains, how to eat like an Olympian and I told kids and parents that they do compete with each other to get the, how many colors can you get on your plate, whoever has the most colors from nature, wins. So it’s really simple things like that. So I think we need to, in our discussions with our health care professionals keep it very simple and the health care professionals listening, they know that red has lycopene, right? It’s great for your heart, it’s great for your mind. We don’t need to get into that, we need just to say “Try to have some more red, things from Mother Nature, fruits and vegetables on your plate.” Yellow and Orange, vitamin C, vitamin A, great for your eyes, great for your skin, great for immunity, we know that as health care practitioners but we might just want to say just those basic things rather than going into the micronutrients, just say “That’s really good for your skin, good for your eyes, good for your immunity.” And you can actually go through each of the colors, green has calcium, good for your bones and teeth, antioxidants are in blue and purple food but really just see they’ll kind of going through that, we know the nitty gritty details, the trick and really changing people’s behavior is making it simple and making it actionable.

N: Now you are the Founder and the Executive Director of Nurture based in Chicago, Illinois here in the United States. Now talk about how you are received by physicians. You’re not a physician, what qualifies you to educate me on how to educate and better serve my patients? Let’s talk about some of the things that a physician can latch onto that lends credence to your research and your information.

K: Right and again I mentioned that time is so precious when you’re talking with your health care provider. We at Nurture do not want to substitute the interaction, the very precious interaction between patients and their health care providers but what we found when we started the organization using the help of PhDs in Nutrition, using the help of Registered Dieticians is that back then there wasn’t a lot of online information that really provided mutual families, so the family unit looking at the child, the parent and maybe even the grandparent and bringing it all together in a way that was fun and again actionable and simple. So we at Nurture really just hope to compliment with already going on in terms of interaction around nutrition with health care providers and their patients but we also have a library of resources that are free and can be downloaded at that we hope that if you’re a physician and you’re tight on time and somebody comes into your office and says “My child is so picky that won’t try anything” and I heard this story before, only eats white foods, things like that. You can go to the Nurture Your Family resources, look up how to deal with picky eaters, how to play games to get your kids to try more foods, just click on that, they’re available in English and Spanish and it’s all free and click, it’s just a pdf file that it can be disseminated widely to help people and really help the health care provider give even more value with the limited time that they have.

N: Now, your works include some recipes if I’m understanding correctly. Who’s testing the food, I mean your kids were involved, who’s basically saying that a recipe is a go or a no go in your household?

K: Oh that’s such a great term the go and no go, I love that coz we try not to call food bad no matter what it is but really the Nurture recipes are vetted. We have a food community and in the very beginning the food committee was tasked with make delicious recipes using what we called the Nurture foods because the new there are very economical yet healthy. So the Nurture foods are whole grains, split peas, lentils, beans and fruits and vegetables. So those are sort of the basis of the Nurture food and we also can make them very quickly using cooking equipment like slow cookers and rice cookers. So the recipe committee would first of all work really hard to come up with unique recipes that were easy and delicious and economical but then we will take them to our classes and…four years would have the participants evaluate them and thumbs up, thumbs down. Sometimes we did it on a scale of 1 to ten, but if the people didn’t like the food then we knew that the class wasn’t going to stick, that we’ve lost our opportunity to educate. So having really good food is extremely important.

N: When do you expect ‘Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow’ to be available?

K: I’m really excited, it should be available this July. We’ve actually started beta testing and if you want to learn more information all about what we’re doing, it’s, we’ve got a really cool kick starter that you can link in through that page and all these neat rewards and incentives… I’m gonna be presenting it actually in Chicago at the Book Expo America and that’s next month in May and then we’ll go to press and get it ready for distribution by July but I’m really excited because it will get kids to be excited to eat their vegetables and an alarming statistic is that 91% of kids don’t get their daily requirements of vegetables.

N: That’s almost all our kids.

K: And that’s because we do have an innate preference for sweets and so we get our fruits, that’s not hard but we talk about the GimmeFive Campaign, have five servings of fruits and vegetables, we’re supposed to be eating three vegetables and two of fruits because vegetables are just more densely nutritionally valuable.

N: Well I tell you what, it’s been great having you here with us today Kathryn. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard and in studio with Kathryn Guylay. She’s a certified Nutritional Counselor and Coach with a Master’s Degree in Business but went from business into nutritional counseling and coaching.

K: Thank you so much for everything.

N: Thank you. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe through our podcast on iTunes.

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