Up to 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese, Jon says. Unhealthy weight gain simply from poor diet and lack of exercise causes over 300,000 deaths every single year, costing society an estimated approximation $100 billion.
"These are scary numbers and scary times for our younger generation," Jon says. "When I visit schools and see children headed in this unhealthy direction, it affects me on a personal level because I have been down that road, therefore feel a strong need to take proactive action in bringing about change. We know the facts and figures, we know the dangers our children face – so do you think together, we can really try do something about it? "
Top toasted English muffin halves with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce and slices of Cabot Cheddar Cheese; broil until the cheese is melted and top with a silly vegetable face! A whole-grain muffin is a good choice, topped with nutritious cheese and good-for-you tomato sauce, which contains the protective anti-oxidant lycopene.
(Curried Turkey Lunchtime Wraps from www.jonashton.com)
1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
4 spinach tortillas
1 cup grated Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Omega-3 DHA Cheddar
6 ounces sliced turkey breast
1 cup raw baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup grated carrots
1. In small bowl, stir together yogurt, raisins and curry powder. Spread mixture over tortillas to within 1/2 inch of edge.
2. Sprinkle each with one fourth of cheese, followed by turkey breast, spinach leaves and carrots.
3. Roll tortillas up tightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. (For appetizer, slice wraps crosswise into pinwheels.)
Thread skewers with alternating chunks of Cabot Cheddar Cheese and fruits like whole strawberries and grapes or chunks of pineapple or banana; for a veggie version, use red and yellow cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas.
NOTE FROM JON ASHTON: Kid-pleasing cheese is a great way to get children into the habit of including 2 to 4 servings of fruits and 3 to 5 servings of vegetables in their daily diet.
ABOUT JON ASHTON
Jon Ashton began his story in the cold, gray port city of Liverpool, which earned its spot on the world map thanks to the Beatles. As a young boy, he learned about the joy of cooking through his grandmother's warm, cottage kitchen. Creating recipes with Granny Ashton opened the door to home economic classes at school where Jon became further intrigued by the art of cooking. Although schoolmates bullied him for being one of the few boys in class, he persisted and quickly realized cooking was his passion.
In 1994 Jon graduated from St. Helens College in Great Britain and worked in several noted restaurants including the Derby Lodge Hotel's French restaurant and as Sous Chef at The Kirkfield Hotel's restaurant. Jon's success and flair in the kitchen soon gave way to appearances on British cooking shows including the nationally syndicated "TV Dinners" where audiences fell in love with his wit, charisma and genuine love of food. Soon, America discovered him and Jon was featured in publications from New York to California. America was calling and Jon knew he had to answer. So, with $2,000 in his pocket he left everything he knew and traveled to America, eventually landing in Florida.
Jon quickly began producing and starring in his own local access TV show, which aired in Disney's town of Celebration. Soon after, Jon took a position as the regular mid-day chef at Orlando's FOX affiliate station and found himself appearing on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" a short year later. His telegenic persona earns regular appearances on the "TODAY Show". He is currently the food correspondent of the nationally syndicated Morning Show "The Daily Buzz", seen in over 160 stations. He is also the in-house Chef for Relish Magazine, with over 12 million readers.
No matter what Jon does he remembers his grandmother's wise words; to share with others. Jon loves working with kids and is committed to improving the eating choices of young people in America. As an obese child himself, he fully understands the struggles and challenges of being overweight. In 2007 alone, Jon had the opportunity to impact the lives of 50,000 children across the nation. It's his way of thanking America for opening their doors to him.
Jon has had the honor of working with many A-list celebrities and culinary icons including, Vince Vaughn, Seth Green, Andy Garcia, Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, Emeril Lagasse, Martha Stewart and Giada De Laurentis..