Foodie Kids Books in the Kitchen

August was Kids Nutrition Month and if you listen to my podcast, I did a couple of episodes in August focusing solely on kids! But I did something even more fun on Instagram…I took some of my favorite kid nutrition/foodie books and highlighted how you can use them to help kids build a health relationship with food.

Coincidently, this can help you build or repair your own relationship with food too!

Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman:

This is such a cute and funny book to introduce vegetables in a kid’s life. Of course, you can do this at mealtimes but if you read this book AND talk about dressing your vegetables up in underwear…I think you’re guaranteed some giggles.

Read this book and enjoy some veggies with a dip such as hummus, ranch or flavored cream cheese. If you have sliced cucumbers, for example, see if your kids can “draw undies” on their veggies! Even if they don’t love vegetables, playing some interactive games with them helps with exposure and they may be more likely to try it down the road. Also, don’t forget that dips are fine and a great way to enjoy vegetables.

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri:

Let’s make taco night more fun! Bring dragons into the picture and if you have any toy dragons let them be on the table too. Let kids pretend them and their dragons get to enjoy taco night. Or let them draw or color in a dragon while enjoying a taco inspired snack like chips, cheese, and salsa. 

Chips and cheese is not a bad food. People scoff at that a lot and sure, nacho cheese is higher in sodium and not as high in protein, so use cheddar. I don’t know why cheese gets such a bad rep! If you want to up the nutrition from your chips, try black bean or a veggie inspire chip. Or make your own whole wheat chips from tortillas cut and baked in the oven.

Yum, Yum, Baby by Rosalee Wren and Illustrated Kat Uno:

This might be one of my favorite foodie kids books of all time. I love them all but here’s why this one really stands out from the rest.

Using only descriptive words (no use of moral values) they give kids and adults TONs of ways to talk about food. From words like slurp, nibble and crunch to warm, soft, sweet and tangy. This can help you go beyond the words “good or bad” for you and instead just talk about the food itself. Is it green? Is it long? Is it stalky? Is it bumpy? Is it creamy? This can spur much more educational and fun conversations instead of, “eat the broccoli, it’s good for you.”

Herb The Vegetarian Dragon, by Jules Bass and Debbie Harter:

This book is a bit longer so might be better for older kids but it has the sweetest message. The community in the book assumes all dragons eat meat (namely people!) but Herb does not. At first, they try to trap him because they don’t believe him but soon learn he won’t cause them harm. 

What this teaches is you cannot look at any BODY and know how that person eats. We’re all humans and eat differently. All dragons eat differently too! You also don’t know someone’s access to food and all of these assumptions…well you know what they do. 

Use this book to start discussing the importance of being non-judgmental especially when it comes to bodies and food preferences.

The Pizza Book, by Stephen Krensky Illustrated by R.W. Alley:

Last one! This pizza book is so fun and educational too. It goes into the history of where the ingredients came from, where pizzas as an idea originated, and gives you a step-by-step recipe to make your own as well.

Ordering pizza out is totally fine but making your own whether with a dough or using naan, English muffins, or tortillas is really fun. Let kids try making their own, offer lots of different toppings and more than just your traditional ones! Kids will try and eat things that might seem “weird” to you but telling a kid they’re weird for putting carrots on their pizza is hurtful. Put out lots of options, let them create or make faces with the toppings and enjoy this nutritious meal and family fun together.

What do you think? 

Books can be such a great way to bring back fun into your meals, gain some inspiration, learn new things, and talk about food without applying judgement or moral value. All foods fit in this kitchen and I hope you’re finding that to be true for yours as well. 

Which book or idea would you try first? Me personally, I’m going to go shop for toy dragons!

See you in the kitchen, Jessi

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