Favorite Characters Help Kids Learn to Love Healthy Snacks!

Posted by on Sep 7, 2012 in Playtime Live |

Elmo Tray via Hatter and Hare events

A healthy snack is a an essential element of the Playtime Project, but sometimes the kids are apprehensive about a plate full of fresh fruits and veggies. Looking for a new way to get kids to give our delicious healthy snacks a fair chance? Consider bringing in some back-up from a familiar face . . . 

A new study* conducted by researchers at Cornell University found that children ages 8 to 11 were 65%  more likely to add an apple to their lunch when Elmo stickers were placed on the apples than when the apples did not have stickers. This finding did not surprise Elmo’s friends at the Sesame Workshop who found in 2005 that placing an Elmo sticker on a picture of broccoli caused children to report liking broccoli as much as they like chocolate!

In addition to using stickers to enhance the appeal of vegetables and fruit, try the following suggestions for incorporating favorite characters into snack (based on ideas from Sesame Workshop):

1) Have a decorating activity during the night where kids can put stickers and/or draw pictures of their favorite characters on cups & plates – and then they can eat of their creations at snack time!

2) Advertise snack by using character’s names (Mickey Melon & Grover Grapes, anyone?) or list snack on a sign decorated with characters.

3) Arrange fruits & vegetable in the shape of a character – or make an activity out of it & have the kids do the arranging!

Do you have other ideas for making beloved characters a part of snack? Let us know!

*Published this month in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine