My 10 favourite food books for kids to help with picky eating

By Penelope Henderson, MSc, RNutr/ 03/29/2023
little girl reading a food book

Food books for kids are a great way for young kids to learn about new foods. Whether this is through fun stories, how foods are grown or cookery books to inspire making them.

I have come up with 10 of my best food books for kids that I have tried and tested on my own kids as well as preschoolers when I have done nutrition and cookery sessions. They are great for all kids but especially those that may struggle with new foods and this helps with that!

Why are food books for kids so important?

You may or may not have heard me talk about the importance of exposure for kids to learn about new foods. If you have a fussy eater then exposing your child to foods in lots of different ways can help them to feel more comfortable about new foods. 

It can help to learn about where they come from, what they look like, how they may taste or feel without the overwhelming smell or look of foods for some children. 

They start to build familiarity and comfort in knowing more about foods before any further interaction takes place. It may also build curiosity which will encourage kids to want to grow or then shop for these foods.

why food books for kids help fussy eaters

Exposure to new foods

Books create exposure to new foods in a visual way. There are six major steps to eating and this can also be broken down further to 32 steps. If your child has trouble tolerating new foods even by looking at them then you may want to consider books as a form of exposure before bringing the foods into the house. 

Books allow a visual step before even getting anywhere near eating a food. Once they are comfortable with certain foods then you can start to introduce the real food and see if they can tolerate it. 

If you would like to more about the steps to eating then there is blog you may like to check out called 6 steps to eating nutritious healthy meals and ways to make it fun.

How to choose food books for kids

Be guided by your child’s interests for example if they expressed some interest about growing vegetables then a book about this may engage them. Or if they are a fussy eater then books about trying new foods could help.

What are the best food books for kids?

1. Eating the alphabet

By Lois Ehlert. It contains a variety of fruits and vegetables using the alphabet A to Z. This is a great way to introduce your child to new fruits and vegetables in a visual form without the potential overwhelm of the smell or other characteristics. They will also learn to remember the names from sight. There are also some facts about each of them at the back of the book.

  • Suitable for pre-school age

2. The tiger who came to tea

By Juidth Kerr. This fiction story introduces some foods via a tiger unexpectedly turning up for tea and eating everything in the kitchen. From a learning perspective children can learn where food is stored in the kitchen as the tiger goes through all the storage to find foods & drinks. A warm and fun read. 

  • Suitable for 2 – 4 yer olds

3. The very hungry caterpillar

By Eric Carle. This is one of my favourite food books for kids. It tells the journey of a little egg to a beautiful butterfly and all the foods it eats in its journey. Beautifully illustrated and a fun way to explore new foods. 

  • Suitable for 1 – 3 year olds

4. I will not ever never eat a tomato

By Lauren child. This book is about fussy eating and how foods have been identified using different names to make them sound more fun to eat. For example tomatoes are called moon squirters and cauliflower cloud fluff! 

  • Suitable for 3 – 5 year olds

5. Peas. Its not easy being peasy

By Andy Cullen and Simon Rickerty. This lovely book is all about the journey of peas from farm to fork. A great book that simply illustrates and explains how peas are grown and reach the table. 

  • Suitable for 3 – 5 year olds

6. Olivers vegetables

By Vivian French. A book about fussy eating. In which this little boy called Oliver plays a game with his grandpa. From learning to grow vegetables he learns to eat vegetables other than chips. 

  • Suitable for children 6 -11 years

7. My first book of smells and colors

By Orianne Lallemand. This scratch and sniff book has 7 fruit scents to recognise. Children can try and guess the fruit before lifting the flap and sniffing the scent. I have used this with pre-schoolers and they love this game helping to recognise different fruits.

  • Suitable for 3 – 6 year olds

Cookbooks for kids

8. Mummy and me cook book

By Annabel Karmel. This cook book is great for little ones from the age of 5 upwards to make some fun and quick recipes with some adult help. It teaches lots of different cookery skills too.

  • Suitable for 5 – 8 year olds

9. Fun food

By Mark Northeast. This book has some great ideas for making food more appealing to young children. Some of the recipes may be too fiddly for kids to do but the ideas could help children to eat/try new foods. 

10. I can cook

By Sally Brown and Kate Morris. This is a great book for healthy and fun recipes that young children can help make. It has over 50 recipes with simple step by step instructions along with some tips.

  • Suitable for 3 – 7 year olds


What are your favourite food books for kids? Please comment below or message me as I would love to update and add these to the blog. 

If you have found these books useful to get your child to try new foods but you are struggling with getting them to eat more variety or maybe you are worried about their nutrition? Then maybe you would like to have a free chat and see if I can help. Click on the button below to get started.



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Author Penelope Henderson

Hi I’m Penelope Henderson RNutr Registered Nutritionist specialising in children’s nutrition and responsive feeding therapy.

I am a mum of 2, with over 15 years of experience in nutrition. I support parents to feel confident in how and what to feed their child. I hope you find my recipes and nutrition posts useful, so you can enjoy stress free cooking and mealtimes.

More about me

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