Health + Nutrition Books: Use in the Classroom to teach students about healthy eating

Health + Nutrition Books

Use this list of books about nutrition and food in the classroom or with your children. These hand-picked books and cookbooks can help preschool and elementary students value healthy eating.


Spriggles Motivational Books for Children: Health and Nutrition, by Jeff and Martha Gottlieb (ages 4+)

Fun rhymes teach the importance of balancing meals and build animal vocabulary, “Eat a balanced meal, Seal!” It also touches on good hygiene, “Take a bath, Giraffe!”.


Spriggles Motivational Books for Children: Activity & Exercise, by Jeff and Martha Gottlieb (ages 4+)

Encourages children to "Go for a walk, Hawk," "Play in the park, Shark," "Get out of the house, Mouse," "Ride your bike, Pike," and many more to motivate them in the areas of physical fitness and activity.


What’s on Your Plate? Breakfast, by Ted and Lola Schaefer (ages 6+)

Teaches children about the importance of having a balanced breakfast each morning. Provides ideas on how to include foods from all five food groups in morning meals, suggests ideas for breakfast on the go, and includes quick, tasty recipes to make at home.


The Milk Makers, by Gail Gibbons (ages 5 to 8)

You probably drink milk at almost every meal. But have you ever wondered where it comes from? Cows eat special feed to make good milk. But after the cow is milked, there are still many steps the milk must go through before it reaches you. This book describes them all. And you'll be surprised to find how many other things you eat and drink come from milk, too.


We Like to Eat Well, by Elise April (8+)

Cheerful rhymes remind parents and children to eat fresh and whole foods. Based on the USDA food groups, it promotes a wide variety and a proper balance of healthy foods, including different ways to eat them.


The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food, by Stan and Jan Berenstain (ages 4 to 8)

The Berenstain Bear kids are not taking advantage of all the wonderful healthy foods in Bear County. With the help of Mr. Grizzly’s slide show on how the body works, the Bear family makes a healthful adjustment to their diet and fitness habits.


I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (Charlie and Lola), by Loren Child (ages 4 to 8)

Lola is a picky eater and won’t eat her mashed potatoes until Charlie explains that they’re cloud fluff and peas are rare “green drops” from Greenland and more! Will she end up eating tomatoes?


The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle (ages 1+)

The hungry caterpillar learns the importance of balancing meals and portion control when he devours a growing number of food each day. What will happen to the caterpillar after all this eating? Vibrant illustrations introduce readers to colors, foods and the importance of healthy eating.


Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey (ages 3+)

Little Sal and her mother venture out to Berry Hill to gather blueberries for winter. Similarly, a baby bear and his mama are on the same trip. What will happen when mischievous Sal gets distracted with tasting the yummy berries on their journey? Great introduction to fruit and family activities.


Pumpkin Soup, by Helen Cooper (ages 4+)

Three friends - a squirrel, a cat, and a duck make a delicious pumpkin soup every day. Each friend has a specific job in preparing and cooking the soup until one day when duck decides it would be fun to switch jobs ...


The Ugly Vegetables, by Grace Lin (ages 4+)

It's easy to appreciate a garden exploding with colorful flowers, but what do you do with a patch of ugly vegetables? A tale about a little girl who thinks her mother's Chinese vegetable garden is ugly. Come harvest time she changes her mind after her mother makes a delicious soup from the vegetables. The young girl learns it’s important to try new foods even when they look different. Recipe included!


Ice Cream Larry, by Daniel Pinkwater (ages 4+)

Larry goes to Cohen's Cones, the ice-cream shop, where he complains of overheating and is allowed to sleep in the walk-in freezer. Of course, while he's in there, he eats 250 pounds of ice cream. The next day, Larry's picture is in the Daily World and Mr. I. Berg from Iceberg Ice Cream tracks Larry down for a big marketing campaign. He takes the now famous polar bear away to visit his modern-day ice-cream factory in Maryland, where together they develop the "Larry Bar." It comes in blueberry, bearberry, and even codfish to suit Baffin Bay tastes.


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, by Judi and Ron Barrett (ages 4+)

The tiny town of Chewandswallow was very much like any other tiny town except for its weather which came three times a day, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. But it never rained rain and it never snowed snow and it never blew just wind. It rained things like soup and juice. It snowed things like mashed potatoes. This book talks about family meals, leftovers being used for snacks, and the importance of variety and portion sizes.


Good Enough to Eat: A Kid’s Guide to Food and Nutrition, by Lizzy Rockwell (ages 4 to 9)

This books shows, in a kid-friendly way, the importance of eating a balanced diet, the process of digestion, nutrients and their functions. Plus, it includes a handful of nutritious recipes at the end.


Thanksgiving is Here!, by Diane Goode (ages 5 to 8)

Highlights holiday family meals, there is not much mention of types of foods eaten during the meal. Dessert is mentioned as well and physical activity (walking).


The Tortilla Factory, by Gary Paulsen (ages 5+)

This book covers the cyclical chain of food and can be used to teach students about how food is processed and gets to their table: from the ground to seeds to corn to flour to tortillas to feeding the workers that plant the seeds.


The Popcorn Book, by Tomie de Paola (ages 5+)

When kids get together to pop up some popcorn and we get to hear the story of their adventure. The book provides a mini-lesson on the history of popcorn along with some scientific facts. Students will learn how to prepare and store popcorn and a few recipes are provided at the end. Adults will also learn a few popcorn facts they may not have already known.


The Monster Health Book: A Guide to Healthy Eating, Being Active & Feeling Great for Monsters & Kids!, by Edward Miller (ages 7+)

Covers your basics: readers learn about nutrients, food illnesses and disorders, how to read food labels, how to make time for their breakfast, tips for packing the best lunch, the benefits of having a sit down dinner, and the importance of sleep and exercise.


Pancakes, Pancakes!, by Eric Carle (ages 4 to 8)

Jack wakes up and decides he wants a giant pancake for breakfast. His busy mother says he must first gather the ingredients. Jack discovers where the ingredients come from to make a pancake when he has to locate fresh wheat to make flour, get an egg from a hen, milk a cow for some milk and remove the cream from the top to churn butter. All of this before he can even get started. When will he ever get to eat his pancake?


Fanny at Chez Panisse: A Child’s Restaurant Adventures with 46 Recipes, by Alice Waters (ages 9+)

Cookbook author Alice Walters’s charming book of stories and recipes told from the viewpoint of a little girl whose mother runs a restaurant. Her recipes show how easy and inexpensive it is to make good food with basic ingredients and simple techniques.


Mom and Me Cookbook, by Annabel Karmel (ages 4 to 7)

Mom and Me Cookbook teaches kids cooking basics, first recipes, and tasty and nutritious meal ideas. Children ages three and up can get mixing and preparing food that they will love to eat, ranging from sweet treats to simple family meals.


Williams Sonoma Kids in the Kitchen: Fun Food, by Stephanie Rosenbaum (ages 8+)

This cookbook provides detailed instructions for kids to make 25 different recipes. Youngsters can make a meal for the whole family and learn about cooking along the way. Recipes include: Chicken Noodle Soup, Pad Thai, Stuffed Baked Potatoes, Mac & Cheese, Strawberry Smoothie with purple cow variations (yogurt and grape juice combinations), Hummus, Rosemary Roasted Chicken, etc.


The Kid’s Cookbook: A Great Book for Kids Who Love to Cook!, by Abigail Johnson Dodge (ages 9+)

The Kid's Cookbook has 40 recipes. From cupcakes, Blueberry Muffins to a Classic Turkey Club, from grown-up Fettuccine Alfredo to Brownie and Ice Cream Sandwiches, this book is bursting with imaginative recipes that have tons of kid-appeal!


Kids’ Fun and Healthy Cookbook, by Nicola Graimes (ages 7 to 12)

Encourages kids to consider what they eat and how it affects their bodies. With more than 100 recipes, from yummy interpretations of classics to brand-new ideas--this book can help turn eating into a delicious treat. The recipes have a picture for each step which is very useful to children because many are very visual learners. The “Did You Know” sections throughout the book provide great facts for both parents and children. Categories: breakfasts, light meals, main meals, desserts, and baking.