What are the best children’s books about food parents should have at home?
This question has come up in a few of my Facebook groups so I’m guessing you might be wondering the same thing. If so, I got you covered in this post!
First it helps to know this…
Kids learn to like foods through play and exploration.
Hence why the digital version of Superpower Foods Placemat has been flying off shelves for the past year! It’s also why parents stay in the Raising Adventurous Eaters CLUB for months and months, because that’s where they are learning how to present foods in a playful way. But if you don’t have the placemat and aren’t in the CLUB, there’s another way we can build curiosity around food.
Opening up and reading children’s books about food with our kids can be really powerful. Why?
Because it’s an opportunity to learn about food without the food being on their plate.
When new foods are sitting on the table our kids quickly assume – “oh no! They expect me to try this food but I don’t want to!”. And in response children push that plate away fast. But when you open a book with pictures of food in front of them, there’s a willingness to stay put (because they not there’s no eating required).
There are also so many books out there that teach kids about food in a much more interesting way than we can come up with ourselves. So let’s tap into these authors to help your child learn about different foods, healthy eating habits, where foods come from, and even how to cook them.
Food Books you Should Read with your Child
I compiled a list of all the wonderful children’s books about food that parents tell me about – from preschool to preteen – that will teach them a lot about food along with other valuable messages.
NOTE: I’ve included links to check them out on Amazon under each of the book descriptions.
Good Enough to Eat: A Kid’s Guide to Food and Nutrition
by Lizzy Rockwell
We love this book because it teaches children all about food groups and their functions, how much of each nutrient a child needs in a day, and how digestion works. It is equally good for children & caregivers who want to explain to their kids how food works.
How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?: The Story of Food
by Chris Butterworth
It shocks me how few children know where food comes from these days. But this type of information is so interesting to kids! they want to see that brussel sprouts grow on a long thick stem, and that carrots are pulled out of the ground. This book teaches children how food is produced and the various steps involved in having ready-to-eat food in their lunchboxes. It opens up a whole new world for kids who are interested in understanding the source of food and the basic food groups.
It all starts with a seed… How food grows
by Emily Bone
Another high five for a book that looks beyond the food that’s on the plate to where it comes from. It explains how almost everything we eat grows from seeds – including flour, rice, carrots and even chocolate. Beautifully illustrated pages show root vegetables snug in the soil, plants with crunchy leaves and lots of different fruits. There is also information on how a seed sprouts, how bees help flowers and how plants grow.
Daniel Tries a New Food
by Becky Friedman
We all just want our kids to try a new food! If only it were easier right?! While I share my 10 proven strategies to help children try new foods faster in this eye-opening Free Webinar, this is a great book that also encourages kids to try new things, especially new foods. If you have a picky eater, this book can help them realize that if they try new foods, they may like actually like them! And have fun doing it.
Green Eggs & Ham
It’s because of this book that my daughter started egging spinach and eggs. We read it while serving her breakfast which at first, she promptly pushed away. But as we flipped through the pages, I could see the wheels turning as she realized something – if he didn’t try the eggs, he never would have known he liked them! But there’s also a lesson for parents here – and that’s not to push too hard.
Mom and Me Cookbook
by Annabel Karmel
You’ve probably heard it before, cook with your kids! Well, if you would like to get your kids involved in the kitchen, this book is for both of you. It includes simple nutritious recipes with illustrations and step-by-step instructions that will make cooking with your children easier and more fun. Here’s one recipe my kids love making with me.
Eating the Alphabet
by Lois Ehlert
This was one of the first “food” books we had in our house. This is a book that introduces fruit and vegetable to children in an artistic way while walking through the alphabet. While some of the images are more difficult to depict, it can make a fun guessing game – “what fruit starts with the letter “C”?”.
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato
by Lauren Child
This is a book I recommended to the members in my Raising Adventurous Eaters CLUB – and they loved it. It’s about Lola, a fussy eater, who won’t eat a lot of things including tomatoes. Her brother, Charlie, tricks her into eating these foods by giving them new names and making up new stories about them. I highly recommend serving some tomatoes after reading this one!
I Love to Eat Fruits and Vegetables
by Shelley Admont
Jimmy, the little bunny, likes to eat candy, but doesn’t even want to taste fruits and vegetables. He sneaks into the kitchen to try to find a bag with candies that was hidden inside the cupboard. What happens right after Jimmy climbs up to reach the bag of candy? You will find out when you read this illustrated children’s book. Since that day, Jimmy starts to develop healthy eating habits and even likes to eat his fruits and vegetables.
On the flip side…
There are books I do not recommend like this:
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food
by Stan Berenstain
While I love the Berenstain Bears and the nostalgia (I read these like crazy as a child) there are a few things wrong with this. First, the title. Those who work with me in my online programs and private coaching know that I don’t like the term “junk food”. If we tell our kids they are eating junk (or bad for you foods), they can associate themselves with these negative descriptions and feel “bad” about enjoying them. In this book Mama & Dr. Grizzly are also urging Papa, Sister, and Brother improve their diets because they are too fat (and Sister has a big bum). So it goes against the positive food messages I’m trying to teach families, in a world where there is so much emotional eating and guilt in enjoying a piece of cake.
I know this list doesn’t stop here, but I’d love to know – what children’s books about food are you reading to your kids?