Nutrition: Help kids eat better by reading children’s books

Reading entertaining books with a healthy message may persuade your children to eat their veggies.

Can’t get your child to eat peas? Find out why Lola changes her mind about the vegetables she will never not ever eat in the book, “I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato” written by Lauren Child.

Teaching children to make healthy food choices needs to begin early in a child’s life, and while parents can be great role models, there are other ways to get the message across. Reading books with great nutritional messages is certainly more enjoyable than lecturing and bribing! Check out your local library or bookstore, or an on-line source for the following titles:

  • “I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato” by Lauren Child
  • “Eating the Alphabet from A to Z” by Lois Elhert
  • "Oliver’s Milkshake” by Vivian French
  • “Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!” by Candace Fleming and G. Brian Karas
  • “The Runaway Garden” by Jeffery L. Schatzer
  • “Growing Colors” by Bruce McMillan
  • “Let’s Eat” by Ana Zamorano
  • “My Amazing Body; A First Look at Health and Fitness” by Pat Thomas
  • “Oh the THINGS you can DO that are GOOD for you! All About Staying Healthy” by Tish Rabe
  • “It’s a Sandwich” by Rebecca L. Duyff and Patricia C. McKissack
  • “The Vegetables We Eat” by Gail Gibbons
  • “Carlos and the Squash Plant” by Jan Romero Stevens
  • “Chicks and Salsa” by Aaron Reynolds
  • “Feast for Ten” by Cathryn Falwell
  • “Gregory, the Terrible Eater” by Mitchell Sharmat

Reading is a great way to not only introduce a topic you feel is important; but to also reinforce a message you are seeking to give. You may have a “Gregory,” who after reading Mitchell Sharmat’s book, will start to think differently about some of his food choices, and you will have avoided a power struggle with your child.

For a brief description of these books go online to Good Reads.

Contact eXtension.org for research based resources for families on making healthy food choices.

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