Pre-K

Now Eat This:
8 Food-tastic Books for Picky Eaters

by Janssen Bradshaw

Photo credit: Lynn Koenig, Moment Collection/ Getty Images

Some kids are picky from the moment they start eating real food. Others start out as rockstar eaters only to morph into picky eaters, either overnight or gradually.

And some kids are just pretend picky (these are my children!) where they tend to like most foods but then resist eating them for their own reasons and take a great deal of convincing to try anything new or eat the things they’ve eaten happily for months or years.

No matter what camp your children fall into, these eight books can help!

  • How to Eat Pizza

    by John Burgerman

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    Listen, your pizza slice thinks you can do better. Eating pizza is disgusting, in fact. There are so many other foods in the world to eat! Like, anything but him. The author of Splat! and Rhyme Crime offers up a wacky character with hilarious jokes for the picky-eater crowd (and everyone else).

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  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    by Eric Carle

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    I love that The Very Hungry Caterpillar not only introduces very young children to a huge variety of foods — from fruits and vegetables to desserts and meats — but also encourages nutritious eating and portion moderation for healthy growth and development. Not to mention, little holes to stick little fingers through. What more could you want?

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  • Picky Nicky

    by Cathy East Dubowski and Mark Dubowski

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    You haven’t met picky until you’ve met Nicky. This sprightly blonde with an iron will absolutely refuses to entertain the possibility that she might ever think about having the smallest bite of what’s on her plate. Getting desperate, her parents concoct a brilliant plan to make picky Nicky just a bit less persnickety.

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  • Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes

    by Mollie Katzen and Ann L. Henderson

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    This kid-tested and parent-approved cookbook gets children excited about cooking wholesome meals. Simple and illustrated recipes are fully accessible for your little one, while the authors are also kind enough to include tips and tricks for parents. Chef-to-chef interactions are laid out clearly from the get-go, so you can work together to get a delicious meal on the table.

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  • Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli

    by Barbara Jean Hicks, illustrated by Sue Hendra

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    Everyone knows monsters don’t eat broccoli! Or do they? This rollicking, rhyme-filled story features a couple of monsters who are downright appalled that their server brought them broccoli. But if they’re willing to change their minds, maybe your picky eater will be, too.

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  • Elmo’s Breakfast Bingo

    by Random House, illustrated by Louis Womble

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    A filling, healthy breakfast is crucial for starting the day off right, and what better way to check all the boxes than playing a little breakfast bingo with Elmo? You’ve got your grains, your fruit, and your protein, too — who can get to bingo first? It’s so fun, they’ll forget they’re finicky (or so we can hope).

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  • Our Food

    by Grace Lin and Ranida T. McKneally, illustrated by Grace Zong

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    But why do we need to eat vegetables? For parents many years removed from health class, the basics of food science might be difficult to recall. Luckily, science writer Ranida T. McKneally and award-winning author Grace Lin teamed up to deliver a science-based approach to nutritional eating. Approved by the Harvard School of Public Health, this comprehensive and pun-laced discussion is ideal for building a strong foundation.

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  • I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato

    by Lauren Child

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    Lola has zero interest in eating any of her vegetables until her clever brother Charlie explains that they aren’t vegetables at all. Instead, mashed potatoes are clouds from a mountaintop and carrot sticks are twigs from another planet. Can he get her to love her most despised food?

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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2019.