C is for Collard Greens?

Cookie Monster, everybody’s favorite addict, is going Nutrient Rich. He’s returning for the show’s 36 Season this week calling cookies “sometimes foods” and teaching kids to “eat your colors,” presumably referring to fruits and vegetables and not Keebler Chips Deluxe with M&Ms.

A couple of comments:

First, this is just one more sign of the reach of the Nutrient Rich Revolution. I mean, Cookie Monster cutting down to the occasional oatmeal raisin after a veggie wrap is like George Hamilton becoming a spokesman for the Melanoma Foundation. Talk about leverage!

Second, this is going to cause a backlash among some people who think that there’s nothing wrong with a funny character who belongs in Overeaters Anonymous. I watched Sesame Street from its first year, 1969, when I was four – and somehow I never got the message that Cookie Monster, loveable as he was, was the one I was supposed to choose as a role model. (Just as I never had the urge to live in a garbage can, despite the allure of Oscar’s lifestyle.)

Let’s make sure we spread the message without becoming preachy and tedious. Remember, food is not about morality. Broccoli is not morally superior to cake. It just has a predictably more healthful effect on our bodies. That’s the whole story.

Third – and this is most important – it’s a big mistake to characterize cookies as “sometimes food” without understanding the quality of the cookie. Nutrient Rich is not about yes to some types of food and no to others – it’s about raising the standards of all types of food.

I make cookies for my kids every other morning for breakfast. They are Nutrient Rich, much better for them than packets of oatmeal with the added sugars and flavorings, and they take 5 minutes to mix and 10 minutes to bake. I got the recipe from Alan Goldhamer’s Health Promoting Cookbook. It’s also featured in the Nutrient Rich Recipe Database, which is included with The Nutrient Rich Revolution: Eat Better, Not Less!

My kids love the cookies, and we don’t have to have a meaningless discussion about whether cookies are good or bad for you. And the payoff – today at a friend’s birthday party, my son decided how much cake he was going to eat, and then took one bite and decided not to eat any. It just tasted too sweet and rich for him.

So maybe cookie monster will actually like his fruits and vegetables, and his lifestyle changes will be driven by desire, not deprivation.

Next season, expect Oscar to take a Dale Carnegie course and become a
professional organizer.

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