PBS has recently decided it was time their Cookie Monster was sent on a diet. Sesame Street's cookie-loving Muppet icon developed a sudden interest in vegetables, as part of PBS's drive to instill a healthy lifestyle in children.

The blue furry monster's makeover comes as part of a larger plan, introducing additional characters as well. Intended new cast members include talking eggplants and carrots, among others.

According to the Sesame Street Muppet Bios, "This season, Cookie Monster learns a lot about health and nutrition. Hoots the Owl explains in a song that 'A Cookie is a Sometimes Food,' and he joins Wyclef Jean in a rap song, 'Healthy Food'."

Every other day, health will be the focus of the shows. In addition, every other day there will be segments dealing with health/nutrition. There will be a "Health Moment" at the top of every show featuring special guests, celebrities and Sesame Street characters.

The producers of the show insist that they are not asking small children to go on a diet.

"We would never use the word 'diet' with pre-schoolers," a spokeswoman told The New Zealand Herald.