(June 29) The National Watermelon Promotion Board has partnered with Ziploc and Chef Harry Schwartz to launch a nationwide campaign to teach children about the benefits of healthy eating and living.

Schwartz, a regular contributor on NBC’s “Today Show” and a syndicated columnist and author, has worked with the watermelon board since 2003. This summer’s Fitness from the Start national tour takes him across the U.S. on a custom-built 41-foot bus, complete with a full kitchen, to introduce families to dozens of new watermelon recipes.

With offerings such as shrimp and watermelon watercress salad, watermelon pad Thai and watermelon cupcakes, Schwartz will emphasize the versatility and nutritional benefits of watermelon, which he said many consumers only associate with picnics and backyard barbecues.

“I like to make people realize that watermelon is more than just a slice-and-eat product,” he said. “It is flavorful, nutritious and accessible, and part of the satisfaction of the tour for me is making a watermelon recipe that surprises people.”

Schwarz said he also plans on sharing practical eating and lifestyle tips taken from his Fitness from the Start program. The program, aimed at combating childhood obesity, is based on his upcoming book and a television series set to air on PBS.

In the wake of increasing child obesity rates in the U.S., Schwarz said it is important to expose kids to healthy food options and nutritious recipes that they can help prepare.

“This is the first generation of kids with a shorter life expectancy than their parents, and that’s a terrifying statistic,” he said. “At the beginning of each presentation, I always tell kids that we have to be cognizant of what we put in our bodies, especially what we eat.”

Chef Harry serves up watermelon nationwide
Celebrity Chef Harry Schwartz will embark on a national tour of the U.S. in this custom-built bus, complete with a full kitchen, to introduce families to dozens of new watermelon recipes.