by Michael Hixon, The Beach Reporter
The Beach Cities Health District and the Blue Zones Project celebrates its participating restaurants with more than 20 beach cities eateries Sunday, March 5, at the Manhattan Beach Civic Plaza, located at 1400 Highland Ave., from 2 to 5 p.m.
The inaugural “Taste of Blue Zones” features food tastings, live entertainment, a silent auction, and a free Kids Zone, provided by AdventurePlex, with crafts and activities. All proceeds benefit the Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach educational foundations.
Lauren Nakano, director of the Blue Zones Project, said the event is a way to “highlight restaurants that have done such great work.”
“It's a nice diverse group of restauranteurs who have committed … to offer healthy options to people who want to dine at their restaurants,” Nakano said. “It has been a really exciting movement in the community and we've been very pleasantly surprised with the traction that it has gotten both with the restaurants and community members.”
“It's a chance to sink your teeth into some good food and a good cause all at once,” added Eric Garner, communications manager with the Beach Cities Health District.
Founded by author Dan Buettner, the Blues Zones bandwagon was quickly joined by BCHD in 2010. Buettner set out to work with nonprofits, as well as cities and municipalities, to build programs supporting healthy lifestyles. The “successful health movement,” according to Garner, has only grown since. Currently there are more than 130 restauranteurs in Redondo, Hermosa and Manhattan Beach that participate in Blue Zones.
Blue Zones has also permeated work sites, which are incorporating healthier catering options, and schools, according to Nakano. Redondo Union High School's cafeteria became the first school cafeteria in the country to become a registered Blue Zones restaurant.
“The Redondo Beach Unified School District is committed to healthy school framework through Alliance for a Healthier Generation,” said Nakano of the organization founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation to combat childhood obesity. “They have made very significant changes in their school environment and also in their school cafeterias to offer healthier options for children. But they also have policies now where they encourage parents and teachers to promote healthy fundraisers as oppose to some fundraisers they have done in the past.”
Tickets for “Taste of Blue Zones” are $25 for adults and free for children 11 years old and younger. Children must be pre-registered at the time of adult ticket purchase. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $30.
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