What Do Elmo’s Healthy Heroes Eat? Cotton Candy and Snow Cones

From BumbleSweet on Flickr

From Bum­bleSweet via Flickr

This year, as part of their Christ­mas present, we decid­ed to take the boys to Sesame Street Live.  This year’s show is called Elmo’s Healthy Heroes.  The descrip­tion on the Sesame Street web­site says this about the show:

When Super Grover los­es his super­ness, Sesame Street needs a hero! Nev­er fear, Elmo and his team of Healthy Heroes are here. Teach­ing lessons of healthy habits through song and dance, Elmo, Abby Cad­ab­by and your favorite Sesame Street friends will explore exer­cise, nutri­tion, sleep/energy and hygiene – all in a quest to put the “super” back in Super Grover. It’s Elmo’s Healthy Heroes to the res­cue!

It wasn’t my first choice of places to be in the mid­dle of the after­noon on New Year’s Eve, but I did it for the kids, right?  The show itself was fine.  All the “big” char­ac­ters were there.  We had good seats so we were able to see the char­ac­ters well, and at times they came down off the stage and dances in the aisles.  Asa like that.  Kael didn’t.

The gist of the show is that Grover doesn’t take care of him­self, so he isn’t “super” any­more.  This of course isn’t revealed until the end.  How­ev­er, while Grover is look­ing for his super-ness, his friends help solve prob­lems through singing songs about exer­cise, nutri­tion, hygiene, and get­ting enough sleep.

After about 45 min­utes, the char­ac­ters left the stage and the lights came on.  There was an announce­ment that there would be a 15 minute inter­mis­sion.  After all the talk about tak­ing care of our­selves, health, nutri­tion, and mak­ing good choic­es imag­ine my sur­prise when dur­ing the inter­mis­sion, a Sesame Street cart with snow cones and cot­ton can­dy turns on its lights.  Yes, that’s right.  The only two items that Sesame Street had to offer kids and their fam­i­lies to eat at Elmo’s Healthy Heroes were snow cones and cot­ton can­dy.

Tak­en from vis­tic via Flickr

Nei­ther cot­ton can­dy nor snow cones have any real ingre­di­ents!  They are made up of sug­ar, arti­fi­cial col­ors, and chem­i­cals.  That’s the food that Sesame Street chose to sell the chil­dren who came to see Elmo’s Healthy Heroes.  There were no almonds, no pop­corn, no car­rots, heck, they didn’t even have cook­ies!  Cook­ies at least have FOOD in them!  No, the peo­ple behind Elmo’s Healthy Heroes chose to sell chil­dren snacks with no food in them oth­er than sug­ar!

I point­ed this incon­sis­ten­cy out to my hus­band at the per­for­mance, and all he did was shake his head.  He was also in dis­be­lief.  It seemed to me like a per­fect exam­ple of the dif­fer­ence between aware­ness and action.  It seems like every day, we’re hear­ing about some sort of aware­ness cam­paign.  Buy­ing pink prod­ucts, post­ing bra col­ors, par­tic­i­pat­ing in a day of social media silence, chang­ing pic­tures on Face­book to car­toons, etc., etc., etc.  If you want­ed to, you could par­tic­i­pate in an aware­ness cam­paign every day of the week.  But, what are we doing with this aware­ness?  Seem­ing­ly, noth­ing.  How many peo­ple out there don’t know that breast can­cer exists?  Great.  Breast can­cer.  Now, you’re aware, too.  What about action?  What about doing some­thing?  We all know that there are peo­ple out there who expe­ri­ence can­cer, home­less­ness, hunger, obe­si­ty, abuse.

In my opin­ion, this is exact­ly what hap­pened at Elmo’s Healthy Heroes.  They gave great lip ser­vice to being healthy and mak­ing good choic­es.  Kids heard the mes­sage.  Then, they missed their chance to take action.  Instead of offer­ing fun, healthy foods, they went with some­thing that was non-per­ish­able, cheap, chem­i­cal­ly based, and nutri­tion­al­ly worth­less.

I wrote an email to Sesame Street express­ing my frus­tra­tion.  As expect­ed, I haven’t received a reply.


**As a side note, my chil­dren do not eat a per­fect diet.  They eat sug­ar.  They eat arti­fi­cial col­ors and chem­i­cals in some of their foods.  They have eat­en cot­ton can­dy before.  How­ev­er, I did not expect to encounter this type of food as the only food being offered at an event sup­pos­ed­ly ded­i­cat­ed to healthy liv­ing and mak­ing good choic­es regard­ing food and self-care.


  1. How frus­trat­ing. I under­stand that some fam­i­lies treat out­ings as a spe­cial treat, and there­fore eat things that they nor­mal­ly wouldn’t, but shouldn’t we be more mind­ful for a child’s pro­duc­tion? *Espe­cial­ly* one that is empha­siz­ing nutri­tion and healthy food choic­es? I shared on FB and tagged Sesame Street for you 😉

  2. I total­ly get what you’re say­ing, but could it per­haps have been the venue’s fault? Just a thought, but regard­less, they should have real­ized the hypocrisy!

  3. kreeeestamama says:

    Yikes! That real­ly frus­trates me too…

  4. Wow. I’m baf­fled. Not sure why but I am. I mean, let’s talk about being health­i­er and here — have some cot­ton can­dy. Whaaaa????

  5. Thanks, Dion­na!

    @Dionna and @kreeeestamama — The cot­ton can­dy and the snow cones were from a lit­tle ven­dor type cart that was on the floor. It actu­al­ly belonged to the Sesame Street crew. It wasn’t the venue’s con­ces­sion stand. It was a small cart with a big Sesame Street sign over it. I get that the venue wants to make mon­ey and doesn’t have a stake in the mes­sage of the show. To be hon­est, I don’t know what they were sell­ing. I was focused in dis­be­lief on the snow cones.

  6. Gah! That’s not good. Not good at all.

    It’s hard not to be cyn­i­cal about children’s enter­tain­ment. They slap an “edu­ca­tion­al” label on it and fill it with love­ly mes­sages, so that par­ents will approve. And then they use the children’s affec­tion for the char­ac­ters to try to sell them stuff. I remem­ber when my daugh­ter was a tod­dler it was hard to find clothes for her that didn’t have some char­ac­ter or anoth­er on them.

  7. I total­ly agree but think that the food avail­able in hos­pi­tal restau­rants are more of a con­cern. My son has been in hos­pi­tal twice in his life and both times the only food my hus­band and I could find to eat was a very greasy piz­za, fries and choco­late bars. Hos­pi­tals are meant to be about pro­mot­ing good health and help­ing peo­ple improve their health chances. The mes­sage is nev­er going to drip through if the hos­pi­tal them­selves can’t even pro­duce a healthy option menu!!

  8. M’s class went yes­ter­day to the show down­town Min­neapo­lis, and for­tu­nate­ly day­care brings snacks for the kids (snow cones and cot­ton can­dy don’t pass muster with the inspec­tors) so she had school pro­vid­ed snacks.
    I’m not sure if you did this, but I would con­tact them via Twit­ter. They are rea­son­ably respon­sive there. The ben­e­fit is you get a real per­son, not a PR firm. They license their char­ac­ters to a Min­neapo­lis com­pa­ny that does the shows. While I am sure they approve the con­tent, cos­tumes and stuff they sell, I have a sneak­ing sus­pi­cion that they don’t approve the food. If they know about it, they are like­ly to change it.

  9. That’s a good idea. I’ll have to see if I can get a response there. I cer­tain­ly didn’t get one from their web­site.

Speak Your Mind