Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Video: Elmo Visits White House Kitchen, Hears About Healthy School Lunches From Sam Kass

Mr. Sam reassures Elmo that eating lunch at school is now going to be nutritious, delicious, healthy, and very colorful...
UPDATE: The First Lady sent Let's Move! supporters a special e-mail about the video
The White House has just released the best video yet, as America's cutest Sesame Street Muppet, Elmo, visits America's cutest chef and food policy adviser, Sam Kass, in the White House Kitchen.

The trope: As he gets ready to go to school, Elmo is worried that there won't be anything good to eat, but Kass, whom Elmo calls "Mr. Sam," tells him all about President Obama signing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign to end childhood obesity.

"Oh Elmo, there's going to be great food at school and because of this new law that was passed, we’re gonna make sure that all food in school is healthy nutritious and delicious," Kass says.

Kass then produces examples of healthy school lunches as the darling redheaded creature discovers what school lunch foods will be like under the new bill: Loads of fruit and vegetables, whole grain lasagna, a burrito with red peppers, lettuce and rice...and a nice glass of low-fat milk.

"Mr. Sam has the same kind of food they have at school here at the White House?" Elmo quips. "Well that's very convenient!"

The two talk about the fact that eating "lots of colors" is important, and that fruit is an "anytime food." There's even a moment of Elmo-Kass dancing, as Elmo breaks into "The Melon Dance" and Kass joins in. By the end of the video, Kass is cracking up.

"Oh Elmo, I love you!" Kass says.

"Elmo loves you too, Mr. Sam!" Elmo replies.

Above: Elmo has Kass in stitches as he sniffs some healthy food.

Related: The White House released a menu that shows school lunch meals before and after the new legislation. Advocates, politicos, and chefs weigh in on the new legislation. The First Lady celebrated the bill signing with a special reception at the White House, and she also, hilariously, told a group of kids that Santa brought the bill as her Christmas gift.

Mrs. Obama appeared on Sesame Street last year, and the show was a big hit. Mrs. Obama visited with Elmo, the Street kids, and Big Bird, and showed them how to plant a vegetable garden. (At left)

The Muppet messaging is not limited to the White House: USDA and Sesame Street Workshop just launched a new initiative to combat food insecurity, Food For Thought: Eating Well On A Budget. The multi-media, bilingual campaign aims to teach families to cook healthy foods without breaking the bank, a crucial component of Mrs. Obama's Let's Move! campaign. Sesame Street has created a new cast of Muppets, the Superfoods--Broccoli, Cheese, Whole-Grain Roll, and Banana, as well as Super Grover--to anchor the new project.

And then of course there's this Muppet photo of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, which is here for no particular reason except that next to the Kass and Elmo video, it's the best picture ever.

*White House video