Is Jell-O the secret to your family picnic?

Americans are eating together less often today than in the past, a study by Harris Interactive found. Most Americans actually have family dinners less than five times a week, according to the study.

But there are benefits to eating together, like increasing the quality of the food you consume and giving yourself a break from the hustle and bustle of the American labor force.

Healthier food seems to be an ongoing trend in America, too. Kids’ waistlines are holding steady, new research found, indicating that America’s youths aren't getting fatter. And Jell-O — made primarily from gelatin — has been known to have health benefits.

Research has found that it can support hair and skin growth, help improve your joints and be an excellent source of protein. Cutting up food and creating smaller portions has been proven to help kids behave better as well, a new Cornell study found.

And what’s easier to cut up than Jell-O?

In spirit of the summer — when Jell-O is a national staple, as it has been throughout the last century — we’d like to show you 11 different ways to use Jell-O that you and your family might enjoy.

The Fruity Pebble

This cookie is part Jell-O pudding and part Fruity Pebble cereal. Put these two elements together and you get one flavorful and fruity cookie for you and your kids.

The salad

Salads are a cool summer meal. So is Jell-O. So why not mix them together? That’s what this blogger did, using the Jell-O salad as a side dish on multiple occasions.

“Shortly after I got married, I was planning a Sunday dinner for my husband and I and when he read the menu, he couldn't believe that I was serving Jell-O as a side dish,” the blogger wrote. “He thought I was so weird! No worries — he has now come around and loves it as much as I do!”

That's also the case with the strawberry pretzel salad. Talk about a nice mix of sweet and savory.

The cupcake

Not all Jell-O comes in block form. Cupcakes can be created, too. Take this blogger’s Orange Cream Cupcakes, a beautiful fusing of Jell-O and pastry delight, for example.

“The Jell-O pudding makes these cupcakes super soft and the orange soda gives them a sweet kick,” the blogger wrote. “These would be super fun for a summer or Halloween party!”

The PB and cheesecake

Prepare to be smacked by something rich and sweet. These peanut butter cheesecake pudding cookies combine all the deliciousness of a peanut butter cookie with a chocolate cookie that’ll have your kids bouncing off the walls on a sugar rave.

The popcorn

Going to an outdoor movie? Or are you watching a movie during your camping trip? Well, this Jell-O pudding popcorn is perfect for you.

“Because Jell-O comes in so many different flavors and colors, it makes for a great way to flavor popcorn for just about any holiday or celebration!” wrote one writer.

The luck of the Irish

Feeling lucky? This layered Jell-O dessert is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, if you’re just celebrating your Irish heritage or if you’re just really in love with the color green.

The worm

If you and your kids love gummy worms, then this is the Jell-O recipe for you. By simply pouring Jell-O into a set of straws, you get lovably delicious worms of sugary goodness.

The cloud

No, this isn’t the cloud that holds your Internet data. This is blue Jell-O and whipped cream swirled together to paint its glass container much like the beautiful summer sky.

The cereal

Why wait for dessert to snack on Jell-O? Apparently you can make it a part of your breakfast meal too by sprinkling it into your cereal, as this blogger notes.

The ice cream

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The sun’s beating down, the temperature is rising and all you want is some ice cream. Luckily, you can make it out of Jell-O. Here’s a recipe for ice cream Jell-O simple enough for your kids to even try.

The bowl of mush

Caution: This one may look less appetizing than it probably is. This blogger offers a recipe that has Jell-O, cream and fruit mashed and mushed together to create one splendid bowl of sugary goodness that’s sure to make your taste buds dance to the hits of the summer.

Email:, Twitter: @herbscribner

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