Let's Move with the Muppets: Cookie Monster becomes persona non grata as new Muppets, the Superfoods, steal the limelight to teach kids about healthy, affordable eating...Videos, below
First Lady Michelle Obama appeared on Sesame Street last year, planting a garden and talking healthy eating with Elmo, Big Bird, and some cute kids. Sesame Street Workshop has built out on the success of Mrs. Obama's appearance, creating a new initiative, Food For Thought: Eating Well On A Budget. The campaign aims to combat food insecurity by teaching 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. (Top: The Superfoods and Super Grover; inset, Mrs. Obama gardening with the Muppets)
Today in DC, USDA's Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon will join Sesame Workshop at an event to formally unveil the initiative. Celeb chef--and frequent White House guest chef--Art Smith will give a cooking demonstration.
According to USDA, today Concannon will discuss Obama administration priorities "for improving the health and nutrition of all Americans" and "the critical role USDA’s 15 nutrition assistance programs play in combating hunger" during the event, which will be at the Capital Area Food Bank. The Superfoods characters will debut on the network television episode of Sesame Street tomorrow - check your local listings. (Above: Sec. Vilsack is a big Muppets fan; the USDA-Sesame Street partnership started last year. Vilsack may want to avoid being photographed with the new Cheese Muppet...)
The Superfoods Muppet videos promote the importance of family meals, healthy snacks, and trying new foods, all of which are key concepts in the Let's Move! campaign. The Sesame Street workshop and USDA have joined funding partners United Healthcare and the Merck Company Foundation, as well as partner groups like National WIC association, Feeding America, Head Start and Meals on Wheels, to distribute 400,000 Superfoods bilingual educational outreach kits nationwide to families experiencing food insecurity.
Federal breakfast programs got a nice expansion in the just-approved child nutrition legislation, and the Superfoods Muppets promote the importance of breakfast in The Most Important Meal video:
In Eat Together, the Superfoods explain the importance of eating as a family, another big plank in the First Lady's campaign. "Not another song!" Super Grover says as the Superfoods Muppets show up, which may well be parents' response, too.
Chef Smith has already made a video for Sesame Street Workshop, and he shows how to shop at a farmers market. None of the Super Foods characters appear, however. The recipes in the video are available on SesameStreet.org/food.
*Top photo courtesy Eater; Vilsack photo from USDA