'iCarly' star Reed Alexander develops 'Kewl Recipes'
Reed Alexander wants kids to know that healthy eating is "kewl."
Ever since the 15-year-old actor — who plays Nevel Papperman on Nickelodeon's "iCarly" series — took action to deal with his own weight issues, he's been on a mission to teach other tweens and teens about the importance of exercise and a sensible diet. It's how he lost 15 pounds.
Reed's website — www.kewlbites.com -- provides "Kewl at School" tips for eating healthy during the school day, from breakfast to snacks and lunchtime. It includes "Kewl Recipes" that are healthy and easy to make and "Kewl Workouts" with exercise tips for families.
Alexander, who lives in Boca Raton, Fla., recently returned from a trip to France and Italy, where he spent a few days in the kitchen of Le Cordon Bleu Paris culinary arts school, which he calls "the nerve center of some of the finest culinary experiences on the planet."
"I had such a blast," he says. "I'm a major foodie, and I ate everything in sight."
He also picked up new recipes and cooking tips that he plans to share during his cooking demo at Giant Eagle Market District in Robinson this weekend. His presentation is geared to young people. It will include ideas for back-to-school meals and snacks that are nutritious and quick to assemble and toss in a lunchbox or backpack.
Reed has been focusing on his back-to-school theme in recent television appearances on "The Today Show," "Good Morning, America" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," where he demonstrated his own marinara sauce, turkey meatballs and whole-wheat pasta dish.
His journey to a healthier lifestyle began a year ago.
"I've always loved cooking. My grandmother, who lives a mile from me, loves cooking. I'm a huge fan of the Food Network, and I love going out to eat," he says. "But I knew I needed to make a change in how I was feeling. I determined there was a direct correlation between what I ate and how I felt."
After researching weight-loss plans on the Internet and not finding anything aimed specifically at teens, Reed decided to come up with his own plan. He began reading about nutrition and exercise and creating healthy menus.
"I started thinking about eating with common sense. I was experimenting, and it was so much fun," he says. "I started losing weight, sleeping better, looking better and feeling better overall. I was so excited."
Reed's Kewlbites website is his home base for relaying new recipes, fitness tips and news about his crusade to promote good health for teens, and he's also featured on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. He is working on a book that will complement his social-network presence.
"I'm really excited about it," he says. "It captures the Kewlbites message and tells how health really is a big part of my life."
His dream it to have a television show that could connect with schools around the country to teach students about healthy eating. He hopes his message will inspire other young people to get excited about making fitness and healthy eating easy and fun.
"I'm so passionate about cooking," Reed says. "I love it when kids say to me, 'You made me want to get in the kitchen with my younger brother and cook together.' It's so positive and inspiring. It brings families together."
Plan ahead: Plan what you're going to eat and when you're going to exercise. You can do it on a weekend and plan the busy weekdays ahead, on a weekday for the next three, every morning, whenever you want.
Needs vs. wants: We eat for two basic reasons: needs or wants. Needs are food that our bodies require for nutritional purposes. Wants are foods that we really want to eat, whether or not they're needs, too. They're both important, and OK, too.
Moderation: When you eat what you want in moderation, you don't have to give up your favorite foods. You can have anything. The key is managing what you're going to have — not depriving yourself, but not going overboard.
Portion control: Knowing what a serving is can make all the difference. It's essential to know how much we should be eating, and of what foods. Portion control is managing the portions of food, or servings, that we eat. It's knowing how much food is right for you, and it's so easy with a few simple tools and tips.
Eat regularly: Going for a really long time without eating can be a bad approach. Having small, healthy, energizing snacks between meals keeps me from becoming starving, which often leads me to eat more than I should have.
Fitness is a priority: Fitness is vital. Make it a priority. Picking an activity that you like can make fitness fun. You'll look forward to it. Turning fitness into an event you'll love is easy. Bring a friend or pet, or listen to some of your favorite music.
Sleep matters: Getting to bed and getting rest is crucial. I have more energy when I go to bed at a decent hour and wake up early. That feeling lasts throughout the day; I can focus, be more active and do what I need to do.
Write it down: Write down what you eat and exercise after a meal or activity. When you write down what you ate or how you exercised after your meal or fitness session, you can stop and think about what happened. When I'm aware, it's much easier to stay on track.
Don't punish yourself: Don't punish yourself, feel discouraged or become frustrated if you have a slip-up. I used to do it all the time. It doesn't help, and it's a waste of energy. No guilt. Forgive yourself, because it's completely natural to make a small mistake now and then.
Enjoy your life: It's easy to find things that make you happy, and do them. Make your own choices, and be your own person. Getting healthy and fit can vastly change the way you live your life. Inspire yourself. Live to the fullest, because you can do it. You're awesome.
• Canola oil cooking spray (for spraying pan)
• 3/4 cup egg whites
• 1 tablespoon nonfat skim milk
• 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
• 4 slices of 100-percent whole-grain bread
• 1 orange, sliced
• 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon (or 4 teaspoons) maple syrup (for drizzling each serving)
Coat a pan with the canola oil spray. Set over medium heat on the stovetop.
In a bowl, mix together the egg whites, nonfat skim milk, orange zest, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and ground allspice.
Dip each slice of bread on both sides into the egg-white mixture.
Place the slices of bread into the pan and cook for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
Serve with the orange slices and 2 teaspoons maple syrup per serving.
Makes 2 servings.
• 8 bibb lettuce leaves
• 4 grilled boneless chicken breasts
• Garlic powder, to taste
• Salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1 sweet red bell pepper, sliced
• 1 sweet yellow bell pepper, sliced
• 2 cups of bamboo shoots
• 2 cups of bean spouts
• 4 scallions, sliced
• 2 cups of mandarin oranges, drained
• Kewl Light Asian Ginger Dipping Sauce (see recipe )
Wash and dry lettuce leaves.
Season chicken breasts on both sides with garlic powder, salt & black pepper to taste, and grill until chicken breasts are cooked completely through on a grill pan.
Slice grilled chicken breasts into long strips.
Arrange sliced chicken, vegetables, and mandarin oranges in the lettuce leaves.
Wrap up the Kewl Asian Lettuce Wraps and enjoy, or add a Kewl Light Asian Ginger Dipping Sauce.
Makes 4 wraps.
• 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
• 1/3 cup rice vinegar
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
• 2 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot
• 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
In a bowl, thoroughly mix all of the ingredients. Serve with Kewl Asian Lettuce Wraps.
• 4 cups of water
• 3/4 cup of honey
• 1/2 cup of unsweetened natural cocoa powder
• 3/4 teaspoon of almond extract
In a large saucepan, heat the water and honey of high heat, whisking often, until the mixture boils and the honey has dissolved.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and whisk in the unsweetened natural cocoa powder, until it too has dissolved.
Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove top. Pour the mixture into a heatproof mixing bowl, and whisk in the almond extract.
Freeze the mixture for at least twelve hours or overnight in the freezer. When the mixture is completely frozen, remove it from the freezer and, using the tines of a fork or a spoon, scrape it up until the texture is that of a light, fluffy icy.
Serve immediately and enjoy.
Makes 8-10 servings.
• Canola oil cooking spray
• 1 cup whole-wheat flour
• 3/4 cup raw sugar
• 1/3 cup uncooked quick oats
• 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• Pinch of salt
• 1/2 cup egg whites
• 1 tablespoon reduced-calorie butter, melted
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup peeled and chopped fresh, sweet red apples
• 1/3 cup raisins
Heat oven to 350 degrees and coat an 8-inch square baking pan with canola oil spray.
In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.
Combine the contents of both bowls and mix to form a batter.
Stir in the peeled and chopped fresh, sweet red apples and raisins until they are distributed in the batter.
Spread the batter evenly and smoothly in the baking pan.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes, and let cool before cutting into squares.
Makes 9 square bars.
What: Personal appearance and cooking demo by the Nickelodeon star
When: Noon-2:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Giant Eagle Market District, Robinson