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35 Great Books for Picky Eaters

Updated: Jun 6

How books about food can help kids try new foods

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How do food books for kids help picky eating habits?

Incorporating food-themed books into your child's reading routine encourages them to interact with new or unfamiliar foods in a pressure-free way. This approach can spark their curiosity, ignite their imagination, and help them develop a positive relationship with food, making them more comfortable exploring new foods.


Reading books about food is one of my favorite strategies for engaging selective eaters. It provides a no-pressure method to pique their interest in new foods without the struggle of trying to get the food from the plate to their mouth. You can make it interactive by asking them to describe the color or shape of the food, or to imagine its taste. Is it salty? Crunchy? Sweet? Or sour?


Studies show that infants and young toddlers may need 8-15 exposures to a new food before accepting it and that number may be even higher for older kiddos, where it is common to develop something called food neophobia (the fear of new foods) between the ages of 2-6 yrs old.


However, these exposures don't need to happen only at mealtime. It's crucial to build their understanding and perception of food through varied experiences that engage more than just their taste buds. Here are some effective ways to engage your little ones through books and play:


  1. Describe and Discuss: As you read, ask your child to describe the food in the story. What does it look like? What do they think it might taste like?

  2. Imaginary Tasting: Encourage them to imagine the food’s flavor and texture. Is it crunchy, sweet, or sour?

  3. Play and Pretend: Use play food or draw pictures of the foods to enhance their familiarity and comfort.

  4. Cooking Together: Involve them in simple cooking activities related to the foods in the books.


By using these techniques, you can help your child develop a more adventurous palate and a healthier relationship with food. Not to mention, reading books about food can help accelerate your kiddo's language development and can help them learn about the different ways food can enjoyed and explored without leaving the comfort of their familiar environment.


  • are guided by non-diet culture informed ideas.

  • don't include unhelpful food messaging.

  • decrease stigma around certain foods.

  • are culturally diverse.

  • present a neutral approach to food to kids.

  • are fun, colorful, and exciting to help spark interest.


A collage of children's books about food on a blue background with a title that says "Great Books for Picky Eaters"

Top Children's Books About Food

My favorite food themed books for kids and picky eaters



Bonus: Get cooking with your kids with these recipes!

I've also compiled a list of my 10 favorite cookbooks featuring kid-friendly recipes. These cookbooks are perfect for involving your children in mealtime prep and having fun together in the kitchen!


With your kiddos at your side you can dive into a world of culinary adventures from mindful and inclusive perspectives, making mealtime a joyous and engaging experience for everyone involved!


Favorite Cookbooks for Picky Eating Kids

Involve kids in the kitchen with recipes from these cookbooks



By reading these food related books with your kids, you're not just opening their minds to new flavors and ingredients but also nurturing your child's healthy eating habits. These stories, with their non-diet culture informed approach and neutral food messaging, offer a refreshing perspective on all kinds of foods. These books are not just about food; they're about fun, discovery, and embracing the idea of trying new things.


So, embark on this delicious journey together with your children, one story at a time, and watch as your little one's curiosity blossoms into a love for all things food-related!



 

Need more tips to help your picky eater? Check me out on Instagram where I share tips and tricks for feeding kids and families. And you can also check out my free (yes, FREE!) picky eaters pocket guide:

a graphic of a picky eaters pocket guide

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