CREDIT: Steve Termine

While the blessed and food-obsessed among us are craftily plotting how to be even more selective about what we eat in 2011, nearly 17 million American children (roughly one in four) are “food insecure,” meaning they do not have access to food that meets basic nutritional needs due to their home’s financial situation.  It’s a sobering thought, especially next to our prattling on about local, organic, seasonal and blah blah blah privilegedcakes.

In response to this challenge, Sesame Workshop – the nonprofit arm behind the classic show – rolled out Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget. This bilingual media outreach is designed to support families with children between the Sesame Street wheelhouse ages of 2 and 8 who have limited access to nutritious and affordable food.

We had the opportunity to speak to Elmo – THE Elmo! Who only needs one name! Like Cher! Or Pele! Suck on THAT Boutros Boutros Ghali! – recently so he could share his tips on helping kids eat well and nutritiously on a budget.  Elmo is much more interesting on the phone than transcribed, so we went all 2003 on your asses and recorded the interview. Behold! Capital Spice’s first podcast-type-thing, in several shorter sections:

Elmo explains the difference between a sometimes food and an anytime food.

So what is a “Super Food,” anyway?

More of our conversation with Elmo after the jump.

The importance of eating together as a family

Art Smith and Elmo at Food For Thought Event

Elmo talks about cooking with Art & Soul’s Chef Art Smith

How kids can help cook.

Baby carrots!!!

And the conclusion, where Elmo totally shuts me down on his Top Chef All-Stars pick.

The Food for Thought program provides parents with educational materials including a video featuring Elmo and four new Muppets, the Super Foods.  The clip first aired on Sesame Street in early December, and it will continue to inspire families to think about creative ways to stretch their food budgets with healthy, nutritious items that can still be cost-conscious.

Here in Washington, we’re fortunate to have several local organizations dedicated to helping those who suffer from hunger and food insecurity.  If you’d like to help combat hunger through a contribution of time, money or talent, check out these and other institutions:

Bread for the City
Capital Area Food Bank
DC Central Kitchen
Martha’s Table
Miriam’s Kitchen
So Others Might Eat