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26 Food Focused Books for Children

Books are a great way to expose children to different healthy foods, without the pressure of having to eat them. Long term, this can help to increase familiarity and comfort around these foods and increase a child’s willingness to try them. Books showing children performing healthy behaviors, such as trying a new food, can also positively influence behaviors in children. This, in turn, will reduce mealtime struggles for parents and caregivers. Here are 26 food focused books for children that may help parents and caregivers with mealtime struggles. This is by no means a comprehensive list, just a few favorites.

Visual Books for Young Readers

Rah, Rah, Radishes!, Let’s Go Nuts!, and Go, go, Grapes! by April Pulley Sayre and Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert are perfect for your littlest readers. Sayre’s books are filled with colorful, real images that help expose young children to all sorts of foods. This visual exposure can help increase familiarity and reduce meal time struggles with picky eaters. Her whimsical chants are incredibly fun to read with your little ones, but the colorful images will keep them engaged if they are looking through the book on their own. Ehlert’s classic intertwines alphabet recognition and healthy foods. Her captivating images are great for young children.

Learn more about these books and/or purchase them here:

Books to Encourage Trying New Foods

Getting children to try bites of new foods at mealtimes is a VERY common struggle in most households. While being a role model yourself is incredibly important, you can also read stories of characters who were at first reluctant to try new foods and then decided to be brave. Children are very social creatures and can be influenced by peers, families, and even stories of other children or characters exhibiting healthy behaviors. From monsters and goats, to familiar characters such as Daniel Tiger, these are some of my favorite stories to help your little one be brave at meal time.

Learn more about these books and/or purchase them here:

Stories and Informational Books Regarding the Origins of Food

To continue our list of food focused books for children, let’s talk about where our foods come from. There is often a gap in understanding regarding how our food gets to our plates. While children often go to the store with parents and caregivers to buy foods, they may not know how those foods made it to the store. This collection includes fun stories centered around how foods are grown and also more informational type books regarding where are foods come from and how they are made.

Learn more about these books and/or purchase them here:

Food and Community

Last and certainly not least on our list of food focused books for children are books involving food and community. Eating meals should be a socially engaging event, whether you are at home with family or out with friends. These books include sweet stories that discuss ways we work together as a community to to bring food to the table.

Learn more about these books and/or purchase them here:

As I mentioned before, this list is by no means comprehensive. There are MANY nutrition and food focused books for children available to you. These are just a handful of my favorites. I hope you and your children enjoy them as much as my own kids have!

Jessica Barnes, PhD, RDN, LD

Dr. Jessica Barnes received her PhD in nutrition from Texas Woman's University. Her research focused on food preference development and creating materials to help preschoolers become familiar with healthy foods. She has worked with families and communities as a clinical and community Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.


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