The best children’s books about healthy eating

healthy eating

by Adejumoke Ilori |
Published on

As most parents know, there two important things you can't force a child to do: eat and go to sleep. This is particularly common in toddlers, who frequently portray their freedom through independent eating — or not eating the foods you place onto their plates.

Most toddlers reject new foods, the key not to give up offering new flavours. Even the fussiest feeders will eventually end up liking several new foods, veggies etc. Developing eating habits early on helps encourage less fussy eating habits, and so in the first few years of their childhood it is vital that you introduce your little ones to nutritious meals and snacks.

Healthy eating contains vitamins and minerals that little ones require. Introducing your kids to things like fish, beans, nuts (good sources of protein), oranges, broccoli, kiwi, strawberries, mango (high in vitamin c), bell peppers, carrots, peas, spinach, and cucumbers (high in fibre), will keep our kids' diets well balanced.

Best at a glance:

Now, the question is who said, encouraging and introducing your kids to healthy eating had to be boring? We also know it's not easier to encourage a healthy and varied diet, which is why we've picked the best healthy books for children for you to choose from.

From stories to picture books, to humour and pure creativity, we have chosen the best books that will inspire you to help your little ones keep a healthy diet.

Best book for storytelling

I can eat a rainbow book
Price: $11.91

I Can Eat a Rainbow is a brilliant book for young children who are curious in finding out, why it is important to add fruits and vegetables to their diet. With interesting illustrations and bright colours this book will help keep your child fully intrigued and entertained, and it also features a rainbow of fruits and vegetables of their own to colour in. 

One review said: "I bought this book for my 8 month old son Monty and he absolutely loved it. He was mesmerised by all the pictures and he loves me reading it to him again and again."

Pros

  • A colourful book.
  • Enaging and entertaining.

Cons

  • One review said, it does not explain why eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables is good for health.

Best book for fussy eaters

Which food will I choose
Price: $16.15

We’ve all been there when we’re like “Right! No more chips and chicken nuggets” and then you look over your shoulder, and you can see your little one giving you the puppy eyes. But, in this book mum will help you come up with an idea. You will be able to play a game and take your little one to the supermarket to play a game. This clever and humorous picture book will persuade your little fussy eater to look beyond 'chips' and discover a fresh colourful world of food!

One review said: "This book has been ideal for engaging my increasingly picky toddler in a variety of food groups.
The illustrations are clear, the language interesting, and the story short so interest does not waiver. You can couple this book with physical foods or alongside the popular shopping trolley game to create more interaction with the subject matter of food. Highly recommend it, would make a great gift for those who don't necessarily have picky eaters as it also increases learning and dialog regarding counting and colour groups!"

Pros

  • Features a game for children to play in the supermarket.
  • A beautifully illustrated book offering great opportunities to discuss foods with fussy eaters.

Cons

  • Only suitable from 3-8 year olds.

Best book for eating your greens

Eat your greens goldilocks
Price: $15.52
Alternative retailers
Target$9.99View offer
Macy's$19.99View offer

This fascinating and cheerful artwork focuses all the positives of your much-loved characters. In Eat Your Greens, Goldilocks! the three bears welcome a very fussy eater, Goldilocks, who only likes things 'just so', and dislikes tucking into her vegetables! But there is a twist, the bears are strongminded and determined to give her a healthy meal.

One review said: "Bought for my nursery class whilst talking about healthy eating. A funny story about good manners; they really enjoyed it.

Another review said: "Bought this to go along side fussy eating sessions at school . Easy to read and the children enjoy it - just the right length as well."

Pros

  • Great story for kids who are reluctant to eat vegetables.
  • Very informative.

Cons

  • Suitabe from 4-8 year olds.

Best book for being creative at mealtimes

Time to eat
Price: $12.23

Time to Eat is the flawless book that will help put a progressive turn on dinner and snack time. It also features a page of hands-on advice and guidelines for practitioners, carers and parents on fussy eating. With simple and encouraging terms used through the book, your child will find it exciting and enjoyable to read.

One review said: "My grandson loves exploring the pictures in this book and hearing about different foods."

Another review said: "Very colourful book. Good for toddlers. Helps in explaining them about food."

Pros

  • Only suitable from birth to 5 year olds.
  • Great illustrations to match the words.

Cons

  • Selling quite fast.

Best book for bright and fun illustrations

baby lets eat

Rrp: $5.99

Price: $5.39
Alternative retailers
Target$5.39View offer

Come on a journey with this amazing book, full of spectacular rainbows and different colours of tasty foods. This book will have your toddler asking questions like: Can you find a fruit that's red and round? Apple! Can you pick a fruit that is yellow and sweet? Banana! With this book, you will be able to ease your little one into story time.

One review said: "My 6month old loves this book, for chewing on! We've had this for almost 2months, at first she didn't really get it but once she'd learnt to grab things and put them in her mouth she's been loving to grab this to scrunch it and put it in her mouth for a good chew. I love that it doesn't tear, is washable (much needed after all the slobber) and also that it has content, so I can show her the pictures now and when she's older."

Pros

  • A portable and lightweight book.
  • Rip Proof-made of ultra-durable tight-woven material

Cons

  • For newborns to 2 year olds.

Best book for humour

eat your peas daisy
Price: $16.45

We’ve all got that one child who thinks peas is the veggie monster, and in this book Daisy does not like peas, and there is nothing anyone can do. In this witty and clever book mum says she can have an extra pudding or a chocolate factory, but the plan doesn’t work. Daisy Cleverly turns the tables on mum, but what happens next? 

One review said: "The story of the girl who will not eat her peas and the mom that tries every bribe she could think of, started to get a little long... and then ended very cleverly. The daughter tries to make a deal. Ok Mom, you eat your brussel sprouts and I'll eat my peas... and the issue of the girl eating her peas is over. :) Ha! I guess we all have something that we don't want to eat- no matter what. Not sure if I love the idea of introducing my children to the idea of refusing to eat certain foods (we have a "must try everything rule" at our house), but I could also relate. Cute book."

Pros

  • A brilliantly funny book.
  • This wickedly funny story will appeal to cheeky children everywhere.

Cons

  • One reviewer said the book needed to be printed in a bigger format.

Best for introducing your child to fruits

olivers fruit salad
Price: $15.18

In this astonishingly creative and simple storybook, your child will be able to understand the significant message about healthy eating. And its importance. Oliver, star of Oliver's Vegetables, has returned from his healthy week eating vegetables at his grandpa's house. Suddenly, the fruit at home doesn't seem somewhat decent enough for Oliver. What will his mum do about it?  
**
One review said:** "Bought all 3 of Oliver's books - vegetables, fruit salad and milk shake. Simple stories that have themes throughout such as ending with laughter, Oliver not liking things. As a teacher of Y1 they proved to be a great resource for story writing, poetry writing, art work,maths (weighing vegetables, graphs), healthy eating and living and growing topics. Lots of cooking too. All round great cross curricular resource.
Lovely illiustrations too."

Pros

  • Simple illustrations for kids to understand.
  • Straightforward text and dialogue.

Cons

  • Not suitable for toddlers.

Best book for encouragement

I can't eat this stuff

Rrp: $11.99

Price: $10.99

Is your child a fussy eater? Do not panic, this book is here to give you a helping hand. I Can't Eat This Stuff is the picture-perfect book for your child, as it displays the key importance of nutritious eating through inspiration, exciting, and exploration. With this book, your kid will start eating their sprouts like a champion. 

One review said: " wasn’t sure about the story when I read it but it worked. Not only did my daughter try broccoli, but every time she sees it she shows her muscles and eats “Mr. Broc” and is very happy about it."

Another review said: "I have been looking for a book to help encourage my liittle one to eat his veggies! thank you he loved reading it and said he may even try the trees (aka brocolli)."

Pros

  • Teaches the importance of courage and trying something new through the adventures of Louie.
  • Promotes curiosity, confidence, and desire within your child.

Cons

  • Only suitable from 2 - 7 year olds.

Best book for storytime and playtime

Eat your colours
Price: $6.95
Alternative retailers
Target$6.99View offer

These cool and multicoloured photos will familiarise little ones with good and healthy food, while being able to engage in a fun way, during playtime and bedtime. Each book contains story-related tips that support and give a great reading experience and highlight key words.  

One review said: "I really like materials that bring 2 concepts together so well! Between the colors and visuals of a variety of fruits and vegetables, it is enticing and engaging! I got this book to share with my toddler classroom when we were planting seeds to later plant outside. It was a good conversation starter and a good way to demonstrate how fun different foods can be to a very young group!"

Pros

  • Encourages your toddler to read.
  • Simple text and illustrations to match.

Cons

  • Not many varieties of foods.

Best book for interaction and games

I spy with my little eye vegetable
Price: $10.95

Want to have some fun with your toddler? If you are looking for an interactive and communicative book, then I Spy with my little eye vegetables is the perfect for you. This book will have you giggling with its different vegetables theme, but can you spot everything? 

One review said: "A great book that I read with my niece when I had to babysit her. She absolutely loved it and had her eyes glued to the book throughout. A smart way to introduce kids to vegetables, but in a fun and bubbly way."

Pros

  • Allows preschoolers to develop their observational skills.
  • Great for team work.

Cons

  • Suitable from 2 - 5 year olds.

Remember, introducing your child to healthy eating is a process, but you will get there. Sometimes, different coloured dips (Greek yoghurt, or humous) and fun shaped foods are also a great angle to help encourage your kids and boost their confidence.

Bear in mind, children hear everything we say so if your child hears you labelling them as "fussy" or maybe hear you utter the words, "they are terrible when it comes to vegetables," they will accept that as part of their identity. In other words, brag about their eating habits, and let them catch you saying, “Oh my child is very spontaneous and enjoys trying new things". Praise your child for assisting you with the dinner plan and get them involved to help think of new ideas for everyone to give a go, this will help your child in trying new foods. This also makes meal times fun and the focus, and pressure, is then not all about the food.

Mummy to a little girl, Adejumoke Ilori is Commercial Content Writer for Mother&Baby. With a BA hon in Creative Writing, she has worked for digital platforms, where she has empowered women from the inside and out, by sharing real life stories based on relationships, loving yourself and mummyhood.

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