At preschool, food can be hard to find.
My older daughter was a great eater for the first two years of her life. She would eat almost anything we gave her (oh, what excellent parents we thought we were). At the age of two, she suddenly had a lot of strong feelings about what she wanted to eat. She didn’t want to try new foods, even if she had loved them for a long time.
It doesn’t matter if your child is a picky eater, likes to cook, or is somewhere in between. You can talk about food with them by reading books. During this time, they don’t have to deal with the stress of having food in front of them. They can talk about trying new foods, where food comes from, and how many different foods there are in the world.
Mrs. Peanuckle’s Vegetable Alphabet
by Mrs. Peanuckle, illustrated by Jessie Ford
This alphabet book, along with Mrs. Peanuckle’s Fruit Alphabet, is a great way to learn about new and different fruits and vegetables. This game can also be made into a treasure hunt when you go shopping next time.
by Eric Carle
In the morning, Jack wants to have a pancake for breakfast. There are a lot of steps to get all the ingredients together. There aren’t any chores to do when I want a pancake for breakfast. After you finish reading the book, you can make your own pancakes with the recipe in the back.
Green Eggs and Ham
by Dr. Seuss
When it comes to books about food for kids, I don’t know which one is more popular. Make some green eggs after reading this one!
The Ugly Vegetables
by Grace Lin
People don’t want to grow ugly vegetables when they could grow flowers instead. They do a great job when it’s time to make soup. This book not only has a recipe for “Ugly Vegetable Soup,” but it also tells you how to say the Chinese names of the vegetables.
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato
by Lauren Child
Lola won’t eat certain foods at all, even if she wants to. When her older brother, Charlie, tells her that her mashed potatoes aren’t actually potatoes, but cloud fluff from the tops of mountains, she doesn’t believe him until he does. There are so many foods that people don’t like until they reach tomatoes.
Bread and Jam for Frances
by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban
This book is for the child who only wants to eat the same foods over and over again. How long do you have to eat bread and jam before you get tired? Frances’s little rhymes are the best thing about her.
Blueberries for Sal
by Robert McCloskey
When Sal and her mother go blueberry picking, Sal and a baby bear end up with the same mother. We didn’t know blueberries could be so distracting, did we?
Dragons Love Tacos
by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
No, I didn’t know that. Love them to death. But what they don’t like is the salsa that is too spicy for them. You can only imagine how hot things get when a dragon eats salsa that is too spicy.
Dragons love tacos, but they don’t like spicy food. This is because dragons are afraid of heat. A little bit of super spicy salsa ends up on the taco table.
It’s a good idea for preschoolers to help make non-spicy salsa. A student can help put things in the food processor or measure and mix ingredients that have already been chopped. Some teachers might be afraid to give small knives to their students. This recipe gets extra points if you can grow all of the ingredients in your classroom garden.
How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? The Story of Food
by Christine Butterworth, illustrated by Lucia Gaggiotti
If your preschooler always asks “why” and “how,” this is the book for you. A basic lunch box starts with a slice of bread and ends with chocolate chips inside a cookie. They came from somewhere.
by Arnold Lobel
By telling a series of stories, a mouse can get away from a hungry weasel. Then, he tells the weasel to go get things from the stories so that the soup can be even more tasty. Is there another way to make mouse soup?
by Tamson Weston
People who read this book want to eat sweet, syrupy pancakes. It’s a good idea to use simple rhymes and fun pictures to get students excited about the food.
In the back of this book, there’s a recipe for Grandma’s Pancakes. So why not make a tasty stack? There is no cooking in school. Stack pancakes high with the Pancake and Waffle Dramatic Play center!
by Linda Sue Park
Bee-bim bop is a Korean dish that has rice and eggs in the middle. From shopping for ingredients at the store to cutting and cooking them, and even cleaning up spills, this story shows how it was made. Students should be taught the phrase before they read the story, so they can say it along with the reader.
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
by Kevin Noble Maillart
This beautiful book could be its own thing. The author talks about how to make and eat the Native American staple in a way that touches all of the senses and more. The illustrations show not only Native American people, but also a wide range of family and friends who join them in their tradition.
There are more detailed explanations for each of the simple ideas in this book that you can read about at the back of the book. For example, “Fry bread is place” talks about how the different tribes spread across the continent and how the fry bread varies from area to area, but is still very recognizable. You can use these ideas if you teach older students or have students of different ages in the same class.