One of the best ways to introduce the concept of healthy eating to kids is through books that are full of bright and colorful pictures of fruits and vegetables. Picture books provide children with basic information that is easily digestible for their growing brains, everything from the names of each produce to nutrition facts to the importance of eating foods of all colors of the rainbow.
Kids are constantly absorbing information and trying to make sense of it all, so why not open up their minds to food! Plus, introducing them to a variety of foods early on helps raise “good” eaters (a.k.a stops picky-eaters right in their tracks!).
I like my classroom to be a safe place where my students are the drivers in the journey of discovery! When we’re learning about the human body and nutrition, I whip out my picture books about healthy eating, read them aloud, and have a discussion. Then we head to our makeshift kitchen (our desks), and make recipes from Salad People or create smoothies by combining fruits and vegetables we learned about in Eating the Alphabet.
Here is a round-up of seven of my favorite kids books about eating healthy that I’ve shared with my students and hopefully you’ll share with your own children. Books may be just the thing to encourage your child to try a new fruit or vegetable!
ROUND-UP: TOP 7 KIDS BOOKS ABOUT EATING HEALTHY
- Eat Your Colors by Amanda Miller, Ages 2-5
This bright and colorful book introduces little to the basics of good nutrition.
- Edible Colors by Jennifer Vogel Bass, Ages 2-5
Full of informative text about the uniqueness of foods and a rainbow of colors, this book teaches young readers that not all foods have to look the same way. A banana can be red, broccoli can be purple, and cherries can be yellow and still taste just as delicious.
- Eating the Alphabet by Lois Elhert, ages 4-7
A picture book that introduces young readers to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, starting with the letter Aa (artichoke) and ending with the letter Zz (zucchini). Elhert uses vibrant pictures and simplistic idea of introducing young readers to healthy eating.
- Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Elhert, ages 4-7
Intensely colored graphics capture the complete growing process from seed to cooking pot, with the focus on plants. The unseen narrator describes the process of growing vegetable soup, from preparing the tools and digging holes for the seeds to weeding plants; picking vegetables; washing, chopping, and cooking them, and finally enjoying the homemade soup while planning to grow more next year. It’s a fresh presentation of the gardening cycle with a joyful conclusion, and the added attraction of an easy and tasty recipe for vegetable soup on the flyleaf. A book to help nourish healthy readers.
- The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons, ages 5-8
Gibbons matches concise, simple text with cheerful watercolor-and-ink artwork as an informative introduction to teach vegetables. With information in text boxes placed within the pictures, the facts range from basic to advanced, such as a definition of hydroponics. Gibbons shows both small and large-scale production of vegetables – scenes in the garden, on the farm and at the supermarket. A final page adds more fun veggie trivia. (Gibbons also has a sequel, The Fruits We Eat.)
This is an illustrated cookbook for preschoolers and up. Research suggests that home cooking is a main ingredient for a healthier diet. And when children cook themselves, they’re more willing to try new fruits and vegetables. (Hello Picky Eaters!) Salad People provides a plethora of delicious and easy recipes that the entire family can enjoy (even when it’s prepared by little ones) such as Salad People, Cool Cucumber Soup, Green Garden Dip, Rainbow-Raisin Coleslaw and many more!
- The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin, ages 4-8
A Chinese-American girl and her mother grow a vegetable garden in a neighborhood where everyone else grows flowers. The girl thinks their plants are ugly compared to flowers, but soon learns that vegetables can make a very delicious soup one that the whole neighborhood wants to try. Soon everyone is growing Chinese vegetables as well as flowers. This picture book teaches about cultural differences and there’s even a recipe for “Ugly Vegetable Soup” to make!
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Meet the Author!
Christine is a wife, mother of three, and teacher. Equipped with an MA in education and a reading specialist credential, she runs, “The Bookworm Club”, a blog about her adventures in the classroom, in life, and through books. She is also a green smoothie lover, a bookworm (of course!), and a crafter. She enjoys eating healthy, staying fit and trying new things. Her favorite moments are spent with her family surfing, snowboarding, adventuring, or just playing Mario Kart.