Coming in at $20 presale ($34 at the door), Fit and Fun as a Family at Jungle Island is one of the most affordable events at South Beach Wine & Food Festival designed to raise awareness about fitness and healthy eating amongst Miami's youngsters. On top of that, the event is a great way to see your favorite celebs up close and personal -- big names like Giada De Laurentis, Andrew Zimmerman and Rocco DiSpirito were in attendance and we totally saw Ana Quincoces from Real Housewives of Miami. Fair warning though, if you are coming to see these celeb demos, come early. The lines are long to get into the seminars and start forming up to an hour before the show starts. Parking also filled up fast and by 11:30 a.m., cars were being routed to Miami Children's Museum and event attendees were being shuttled back to the festivities. If you're willing to fork over some cash, you can park in the marina lot just south of Jungle Island for $10 and change.
The good news is, there are lots of other great activities for kids above and beyond the celebrity cooking demos. Cabbot was out there teaching kids where milk comes from, buddy fruits delivered fruits to little ones via trendy food pouches, and Badia raffled off kid-friendly tours of their spice farms. Urban Oasis Project shared its mission to make fresh, healthy and local food available to all with an interactive edible garden display where children excitedly made the connection that yes -- there are strawberries growing on that bush!
Over at the Whole Foods Food Lab, kids got to interact with their grub while celebs taught groups of 75+ kids how to cook healthy bites to instill a habits and skills that will last a lifetime. Short Order got a chance to sit down with one such celeb, teenager Reed Alexander, who shared with us his story and journey to healthy eating.
While Alexander was working long hours on the set of iCarly, he noticed he was starting to become overweight and had less energy. We've never been but we're going to assume that low energy is not OK on the set of Nickelodeon. Instead of sitting idly by, he decided to do something about it and turned to the internet in search of lifestyle changes he could make as opposed to quick fix diets. What he found was endless information about how to lose weight and diet -- for adults. Being the proactive kinda guy he is, he delved deep into info on nutrition, health, recipes, calories, fat and exercise while experimenting with his food looking for ways to make classics like apple pie healthier. Slowly but surely, the weight came off and his energy returned.
"I lost 15 pounds, people noticed," said Alexander. "Everyone wanted to know how I made the change." To answer their questions and fill the void of kid friendly healthy eating information available on the web, Alexander started kewlbites.com, an interactive website that shares 'what worked' for Alexander and recipes that makes healthy food approachable and desirable to kids.
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As if that's not enough, Alexander went on work with the Bill Clinton's Healthy Eating Alliance to transform school lunches for over 30,000 kids and works with Michelle Obama on her Let's Move campaign. With regular appearances on the Today Show and Good Morning America, this teen really has it going on and is quite the role model for the next generation. From what we saw at Fun and Fit as Family this year -- including kids lining up for bananas like candy -- we're hopeful health will be a big part of delicious food for years to come.