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"Food Sleuth®" Recommended Reading List:
Selections reviewed by Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.

For parents:
"Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," by Richard Louv, (2006, Algonquin Books).
Learn why children need to explore the wonders of nature.

For teachers
"How to Teach Nutrition to Kids," Connie Liakos- Evers, M.S., R.D., (2003, 24 Carrot Press).
Evers, a well-seasoned, compassionate, smart parent and nutritionist promotes positive attitudes about food, fitness and body image. She provides hundreds of fun, hands-on nutrition education activities aimed at children ages 6-12.

Cook Books to promote seasonal foods, with easy, delicious recipes and excellent graphics:

"From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce," Madison Area CommunitySupported Agriculture Coalition, (2004, Jones Books).

"Simply in Season: Recipes that Celebrate Fresh, Local Foods in the Spirit of More-with-Less," Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert (2005, Herald Press).

Cookbooks for kids: Cooking is a lifelong life skill that improves children’s math, reading and science skills. Cooking is a fun, creative, and wholesome alternative to TV. Plus, it gives children a sense of responsibility and accomplishment, and improves their acceptance of new foods and flavors. Try these titles and help the children you love, love the taste of nutritious foods:

“The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook—Food & Fun Around the World,” by Deanna Cook (Williamson Publishing Co., 1995).
An entertaining mix of stories, recipes, facts, customs, and interviews with children from around the globe. Many recipes are quick and easy to prepare.

“Pretend Soup,” “Salad People,” and “Honest Pretzels,” all by Mollie Katzen (Tricycle Press, 2005).
All three books provide how-to-illustrations and step-by-step cooking instructions for delicious meatless meals. The first two titles are written for preschoolers, the third for kids ages 8 and up. In case you’re wondering, “pretend” soup is a mixture of juice and yogurt, poured over pieces of fresh fruit.

Books about food for kids: Want to cure a picky eater? The following titles will whet your children's appetites for delicious, wholesome foods.

1.“Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup,” by Tomie de Paola. In this story, Tomie’s eccentric grandmother wins the heart of her grandson’s friend through huge servings of delicious, old-world cooking. Children love to be read to in different voices, and Tomie’s grandmother lends herself to a thick, Italian accent. After reading this funny, yet tender story invite your children into the kitchen to learn how to make chicken soup, spaghetti, or bread. It’ll be the best they’ve ever tasted, and perfect for a cold winter day.

2. “Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z,” by Lois Ehlert. This book is filled with colorful pictures of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. In the back, a glossary provides short facts about where the food originated, how it grows, and how to enjoy it. 

3. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” by Eric Carle. Children love the simple bright graphics in this book about a caterpillar that eats his way through a week’s worth of food to become a very big caterpillar, then a cocoon, and finally a beautiful butterfly. A great story to help children understand the relationship between hunger and growth, and how smart food choices help us become healthy, strong adults.

4. “Bread, Bread, Bread,” by Ann Morris. Ken Heyman’s photographs enhance this book, showing pictures of children and adults all over the world eating bread in a variety of different forms. The index gives a description of the people, where they live, and the kind of bread they eat. A wonderful illustration of the similarities among the world’s people.

5. “Oliver’s Vegetables,” by Vivian French. When Oliver goes to visit his grandfather, the only vegetable he will eat is French fries. Soon after his arrival, his experiences in Grandpas’ garden result in a whole new world of flavors for Oliver. The book’s beautiful illustrations help encourage children to try new vegetables, and may inspire your own garden plans. Also in the “Oliver” collection are “Oliver’s Fruit Salad,” and “Oliver’s Milkshake.” All stories are designed to win over the picky eater.

6. “I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato,” by Lauren Child. Lola is Charlie’s little sister. Charlie has to give Lola her dinner, but Lola is a picky eater. She refuses to eat peas, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, spaghetti, and never, ever a tomato. But when Charlie gives those foods new, zany names, Lola decides she likes those foods after all. Try this approach at home—it works!

7.”Lunch Boxes,” by Fred Ehrlich. This book is out of print, but if you can find a copy at the library or a garage sale, be sure to pick it up. Elementary school children love this short rhyming story describing the hilarious misbehaviors in a school cafeteria. Food flies, milk spills, and teachers are not happy. The book offers a great opportunity to discuss polite eating habits and food safety over a hearty chuckle.

Resources on the web: The internet provides a wealth of resources. Here are some "Food Sleuth®" favorites:

Alternatives to TV: Want to cut the time your kids watch TV but don’t quite know how to pull the plug peacefully? Check out the TV Turnoff Network for ways to take control of technology so your family can live healthier lives. Find screen-free activities kids and adults will enjoy:

Slow down: Tired of the rat race? Want to buy less stuff, and enjoy more healthful family time?  The Center for a New American Dream offers suggestions for living consciously, buying wisely, and getting more out of life:

Nutrition advice: Wish your children ate better? Registered dietitian, Connie Evers, knows how to make eating well fun. Her free “Feeding Kids” newsletters are packed with ideas to bring to your dinner table, lunch box, or classroom:

The Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Texas, offers an excellent, free newsletter on line, titled: "Nutrition & Your Child:"