CROWN POINT | When Seattle Sutton came into town recently, she touted some local ties.

She welcomed her daughter, Ruth Egofske, and Egofske’s husband Dave, both of Crown Point, to her table when she appeared at the Crown Point Rotary Club  luncheon at Youche Country Club.

Egofske plays a key role in Sutton’s healthy eating outreach, having run the company for the past five years. Her mother continues interacting with the public and serves as the face of Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating.

“It’s a team effort,” said Egofske, referring to her mother, and her two sisters and two brothers, who work with her. “We’re all very proud of (the company, and) we all work so well together. We all believe in our mission.”

The luncheon menu got Sutton’s nod of approval. “Chef Tim did a beautiful job,” said Sutton in opening remarks to an overflow crowd.

As guests dined on chicken breast, baked sweet potatoes, vegetables and fresh fruit, Sutton reminisced about the early days of her company and shared her secrets of success.

Sutton, 83, is founder of Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating, based out of Illinois with a nationwide presence. The company employs 80 at its headquarters, serves 200,000 meals weekly and grossed $25 million last year.

Distribution includes stores in Merrillville and Valparaiso, and the distributor, Amy Moore, introduced guests to local residents who’ve had a healthy weight loss while following a Seattle Sutton meal plan.

“It always gets me on a cloud, the thousands and thousands of testimonials we get almost daily,” said Sutton. She proclaimed her product unique in that it comes to the client fresh and unfrozen, and contains no artificial sugars, dyes or high fructose corn syrup. Meals are also low in sodium and fat.

Sutton, a registered nurse, spent the early part of her adult life helping in her husband’s medical practice and raising five children. But at 53, her life changed when her husband asked her to talk to a man who needed to change his diet. The man told her, “If you’d do it for me, I know I’d do really well.”

“A light bulb went off,” she said. With her husband’s support, Sutton opened a business with $1,000 and three employees in space rented from a caterer. Today, her family-run business includes her three daughters, who are also nurses, and her two sons, who serve as consultants, and grandchildren.

Sutton provided a copy of her new book, “No Gimmicks,” to each guest and said good eating habits need to start in the family.

If children are overweight or have developed poor eating habits “then it’s your fault,” she said to parents. “We need to go back” to when parents strongly guided their children’s eating habits, she added.

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