The Best Books To Read With A Picky or ARFID Eater

family reading books

There’s a special kind of magic that happens when you share books with your child. Books spark imaginations, teach valuable lessons, and can even create a love for lifelong passions. But what if that passion could be something as essential, and delightful, as food, playing a crucial role in shaping your child’s diet?

The Power of Planting the Seed: How Books Can Nurture Picky Eaters

For parents of picky eaters, mealtimes can be a battleground. Introducing new foods can be met with resistance and furrowed brows, so it’s important to offer foods that the child likes with each meal. If a child refuses to eat what is offered, avoid making separate meals and instead encourage trying a variety of foods. However, the right books can be a powerful tool in this culinary crusade. Books can introduce children to a vibrant world of flavors, cultures, and the fascinating science behind healthy foods on their plate.

parents reading books to children

A Literary Feast for Every Stage: A Curated Selection of New Releases of Food-Themed Books

The key to using books to encourage a love for food lies in finding the perfect story for your child’s age and interests. Here’s a delicious selection of books, categorized by age group, that will have your little ones hungry for more. Remember to include at least one food that your child usually likes to make the experience even more enjoyable:

  1. Books for Ages 0-3:

    • The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric CarleThis classic tale follows a caterpillar’s journey of discovery as he munches his way through a variety of colorful foods, all in one meal. Bright illustrations and a satisfyingly plump caterpillar at the end make this a favorite for toddlers.
    • Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey A heartwarming story about a young girl and a bear who both enjoy a delicious blueberry bounty. The simple yet captivating illustrations make this a perfect bedtime read.
    • “The Apple Pie Tree” by Zoe Hall This delightful book uses vibrant cut-outs to illustrate the process of making an apple pie, from picking the apples to enjoying a warm slice. It’s a great introduction to the magic of cooking.
    • “The Giant Jam Sandwich” by John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway A whimsical tale about a town that solves a fruit-sharing dispute by creating a giant, delectable sandwich. Fun illustrations and a silly premise make this a surefire giggle-fest.

    Books for Ages 3-5:

    Books for Ages 5-7:

    Books for Ages 7-9:

    • Too Many Tamales” by Gary Soto A heartwarming story about a young boy who helps his family prepare tamales for Christmas, learning valuable lessons about family traditions and cultural heritage.
    • The Giant Carrot” by Jan Peck A silly and engaging story about a giant carrot that disrupts a town, but ultimately brings the community together. It encourages children to think creatively about food.
    • “Kitchen Science Lab for Kids” by Liz Lee Heinecke Another appearance on this list, this book offers more complex science experiments related to food, perfect for curious older children.
    • “Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando” by Andrea Wang A biographical picture book that tells the story of Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen. It introduces children to food innovation and entrepreneurship.
    • Bee-Bim Bop!” by Linda Sue Park A vibrant story about a young Korean girl who learns to make the traditional dish Bibimbap. It’s a great introduction to Korean cuisine and culture.
    • “Yum Yum Dim Sum” by Amy Wilson Sanger A delightful introduction to the world of Dim Sum, a traditional Chinese cuisine featuring small, steamed dishes. It introduces children to new culinary experiences.
    • “The Little Chef’s Kitchen: Easy Recipes to Make with Kids” by Chef Arlena Strode A cookbook specifically designed for children aged 9-12, with step-by-step instructions and recipes that encourage them to take ownership in the kitchen.

    Books for Ages 9-12:

    Books for General Audience (All Ages):

By sharing these delicious stories with your child, you’re not just feeding their imagination, you’re planting the seeds for a lifelong love of food. These books can:

  • Introduce children to new flavors and cultures, expanding their palates and encouraging them to try new things.
  • Spark curiosity about the science and history of food, making mealtimes more engaging and educational.
  • Foster positive associations with food and cooking, creating happy memories that will last a lifetime.
  • Promote healthy eating habits by showcasing the importance of a balanced diet and the joy of preparing nutritious meals.

The Power of Food and Stories

So next time you’re looking for a way to connect with your child, cuddle up with a good food-themed book. You might just discover a new favorite recipe, or a newfound appreciation for the magic that happens in the kitchen.

You might just discover a new favorite recipe, or a newfound appreciation for the magic that happens in the kitchen, especially when introducing solid foods to your little one. This can also be a great opportunity to address picky eating by making mealtime fun and engaging.

Of course, there are books we have as well, but those are really just for the parents!

To learn about our books, click here

If you’re struggling with your picky eater, take our free 2 minute quiz here it will give you a place to start. Of course, our podcast is also available as a great free resource. You can also check out our free parent webinar by clicking here.

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