In every childhood nutrition conference I have ever attended, one of the main themes is “Get Kids INVOLVED!” In order to teach them about healthy eating habits, we encourage parents to have kids participate in the gardening, grocery shopping, food prepping and of course cooking! They are much more likely to try new foods and eat healthier foods if they prepare them themselves.
My son Ryan, who is 7, loves to cook with me (although he’s quite a picky eater…so much for the “participation theory”). He chops and cracks eggs and sees the food and smells it and always says “Mmmm, that smells SOOOO good,” but when it comes time to actually eating it what I get is “no thanks mom, I’m good.” Oh well, I haven’t given up yet.
I own a nice cookbook collection with over 75 books from around the world, and lately, he has been asking me for his own cookbooks. I did some research and thought I would share some of my favorite cookbooks for your little chefs’s collection:
- Recipe for Adventure Children’s Books Series: This new series just released in September by Food Network Star Giada de Laurentiis, tells the stories of Emilia, 12, and Alfie,11. They get magically transported to different cities around the world (the first two books are titled “Naples!” and “Paris!”) and explore food along the way. And there’s always a happy ending; two recipes for kids in the back of every book! ($7, Grosset and Dunlap). http://www.amazon.com/Naples-Recipe-Adventure-Giada-Laurentiis/dp/0448462567
- Noodlemania, 50 Playful Pasta Recipes: These playful and colorful pasta recipes showcase noodles your kids will go crazy for! Try Super Stuffed Monster Mouths made with jumbo pasta shells, Rapunzel Pasta made with extra-long spaghetti, or Spider Cookies made with crunchy ramen noodles. The book also teaches kids math skills and includes fun trivia. What is the world record for the largest meatball ever made? Kids will have fun in the kitchen while sharpening their cooking skills with Noodlemania! ($15.95, by Melissa Barlow. Find it on amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Noodlemania-50-Playful-Pasta-Recipes/dp/1594746176)
- ChopChop: The Kid’s Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Family: Like its namesake magazine (one of my favorites for kids!), the Chop Chop Food Philosophy believes in the “simple values of cooking together as a family and sharing healthy, delicious meals.” This cookbook includes new and reprinted recipes which focus on healthy eating. Chapters cover main dishes, drinks, and desserts, and include tips and clever ideas along the way. ($19.99 http://www.chopchopmag.org/cookbook).
- Grandpa’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Cookbook: This time your child gets to be the chef in the tiny town of Chewandswallow, known for its edible weather; soup rain, mashed potato snow, and hamburger windstorms. We’re talking Square meatballs. Sunrise mashed potatoes. Lemon blizzard parfaits. This spiral-bound book is filled with fun recipes, clever notes and delicious illustrations. ($17.99, by Judy and Ron Barrett, find it on amazon http://www.amazon.com/Grandpas-Cloudy-Chance-Meatballs-Cookbook/dp/1442444754).
Still time to order for the Holidays and inspire your child’s inner chef with these great picks!