MPB’s “Ed Said,” makes eating and learning about fruits and vegetables fun!
Getting young children to eat their fruits and vegetables can be a challenge, at best, and a battle at worst. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the same child who slurped down your homemade baby applesauce and delighted in learning to pick up and munch on their first green beans, is the stubborn five or six-year-old who now refuses to try anything that doesn’t come in a package as part of a kid’s meal. You have to ask yourself where you went wrong.
The truth is, as children grow from infancy to toddlers and beyond their tastes in foods change as a part of normal development. Part of it is a natural function of evolving from simple early foods that required less chewing (or gumming) to foods with new textures and flavors that may or may not appeal to them at first bite. But of course, a huge part of the problem is environment…Once they have tried sugary snacks and drinks or salty, greasy foods (think sodas, French fries, chicken fingers and pizza) it can be difficult to get them back on a daily diet of fresh and healthy foods. We all know the media is filled with commercials pushing the world of unhealthy choices, but where is the kid-friendly spokesperson for healthy eating? Enter Ed Said.
Ed, the creation of Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Cathy Joe (CJ) Burks, is a puppet with a powerful message for kids that gets their feet moving and puts fruits and veggies at center stage (literally) through his raps and rhymes. In 2010 MPB unveiled “Ed Said”– a children’s “edutainment” project that inspires children to eat well and exercise.
Ms. Burks wrote scripts for the original episodes, as well as the lyrics to Ed’s songs, based on a curriculum written by Corinth, Mississippi elementary school teacher Kay Strickland. Working with the “Ed Said” creative team, Scott Colwell, Director of Production at MPB, Taiwo Gaynor, Director of Audio and Keri Horn, Closed Caption Supervisor for MPB and resident puppeteer. Burks supplied background vocals and assisted in producing Ed’s music. Although she is no longer with MPB, her ideas and passion for the project remain and continue to gain momentum through Ed’s social media, new technologies, appearances, and statewide tours.
“MPB had been concentrating on the issues of health and the problems of obesity in Mississippi when CJ and Ed Said entered the picture,” recalls Scott Colwell, who has been with MPB for over 17 years, and has spent the majority of his career focusing on children’s programming and documentaries, including serving as editor and coordinating producer for the last 6 seasons of the beloved children’s show “Between the Lions.”
“We wanted to create a program that focused on healthy eating and being active, that not only appealed to kids (it targets children from kindergarten through 2nd grade) but that would be enjoyed by parents as well,” Colwell continued. “We hoped that kids and adults alike would find themselves singing along and enjoying the message that being healthy can be fun.”
Known for his love of raps and rhymes, Ed uses his skills to incorporate fruit and vegetable facts into songs that children enjoy. Every song is accompanied by a dance for kids to learn, motivating them to participate and exercise.
Ed not only is an accomplished entertainer, he is tech savvy as well. His home base is www.EdSaid.org, where children, parents and educators can view webisodes, music videos, download ring tones, and read Ed’s blog, which includes healthy kid-tested recipes. “Ed Said” also has its own mobile website that includes interactive games centered on Ed’s healthy eating message. Formatted specifically for tablets and smartphones, the site includes an interactive quiz, mazes and coloring sheets as well as Ed’s music videos and information on fruits and vegetables. The mobile website is available at EdSaid.org and works on most mobile platforms including Android and iOS devices.
Beside Ed’s online presence, “Ed Said” goes on the road each spring and fall to take his message to elementary schools across Mississippi. Since launching the first “Moving with Fruits and Vegetables” tour, the “Ed Said” road show has entertained thousands of Mississippi children, and stirred up excitement about being active and healthy eating. Students are treated to a live puppet performance filled with music, dancing, videos and an appearance from a life-size, walk-around version of Ed at the end of each show.
“For parents and teachers who are struggling to get across the important message of healthy eating and staying active, “Ed Said” reaches kids on a level that can have a lasting impact because it engages them through music and dance and makes learning fun,” adds Colwell. “We believe Ed Said is just getting started with what he can teach us all. There is much more in the works so you’ll have to stay tuned!” Mississippi Public Broadcasting is working to change the high rates of childhood obesity that are plaguing our state. Through educational yet entertaining programs like Ed Said, MPB strives to teach children that living a healthy lifestyle can be fun.
See What Ed Said
In case you haven’t met Ed, Well-Being would like to introduce you. Ed is a kid who loves to rhyme and make up songs about the fruits and veggies that can help us stay healthy.
See how much you know. Can you answer’s Ed’s questions below. To find the answers to these questions and follow Ed’s blog, check out www.EdSaid.org.
1. Which FRUIT comes in varieties such as McIntosh, Rome, Gala, and Red Delicious? Hint: They’re 25% air!
2. Can you fill in the blank? A banana’s cousin is the __________; have a _________, there’s so much to gain!
3. This vegetable is a root vegetable and helps you SEE. What is it?
4. How many cups of GREEN BEANS equal 1 serving?
5. From this fruit we get RAISINS – what is it?
6. What fruit turns RED when it’s ripe, and is covered in 200 tiny seeds?
7. Where do potatoes grow?
8. How many kernels are on 1 ear of corn?
9. Which fruit is high in Vitamin C, and has a skin called a PEEL or RIND?
10. This leafy green vegetable is often found in salads, and is a good source of calcium, iron and vitamins. What is it?
What’s cooking? Ed Said has teamed up with Chef Rob Stinson of MPB’s “Fit to Eat” to create lots of kid-approved healthy snacks! Find this recipe and more on Ed’s blog at EdSaid.org!
Ed Said’s Healthy Banana Wraps
1 whole grain wrap
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 banana, peeled
Directions: On a small plate, spread peanut butter on the whole grain wrap, covering it completely. Place the peeled banana on the wrap and roll it until the wrap covers the banana. Cut the banana wrap into 1-inch slices, then slide toothpicks through each piece to hold it together. Serve cold or warmed in microwave for 30 seconds.