March is National Nutrition and Reading Month. A great way to celebrate with children is by building healthy eating habits and reading skills at the same time.
Here is a list of my 10 favorite books and corresponding healthy snacks to help get you started!
1. Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana written by James Dean – A short and silly book. Perfect for the beginning reader or to hold the attention of a toddler. Pete enjoys his bananas in many ways but not rotten! We tried banana roll-ups. A soft tortilla spread with peanut butter, a pinch of cinnamon, drizzle of honey and of course the banana! I have heard these are pretty good grilled too.
2. Oliver’s Milkshake written by Vivian French – Oliver is all out of Orange juice so his aunt takes him on an adventure to get all the ingredients to try a new delicious drink. This is a great book to help start the conversation about where milk comes from. Let the kids choose their own ingredients for a fruity frothy milkshake of their own. For a healthier twist, skip the ice cream and blend frozen fruit with milk instead.
3. If You Give A Moose A Muffin written by Laura Numeroff – This is a great option for the busy mom! You can find a few different versions of this story being read on YouTube so hand off the tablet and enjoy 2 minutes of “me time”. Don’t worry about the snack either. Grab a “just add water” muffin mix, throw in a few blueberries and you will have a quick eat in minutes.
4. I will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato written by Lauren Child – Lola is a fussy eater but her big brother Charlie finds creative ways to get her to try new foods even the food she despises, Tomatoes! Read this classic tale based on the TV show and then enjoy your very own lunch of ocean nibbles, cloud fluff, orange twiglets, and moonsquirters!
5. The Tortilla Factory written by Gary Paulsen – Amazing paintings accompany a beautiful poem that describes the food cycle from seed to plant to tortilla. Tacos are a must! Just be sure to give hard shells a try because this tale is all about corn tortillas!
6. Pancakes, Pancakes! written by Eric Carle – Jack wants pancakes for breakfast but first, his mom needs flour from the mill, an egg from the hen and milk from the cow. Pancakes are a tasty treat. Help your little one make a fresh batch from scratch too! Use whole wheat flour and some fresh strawberry topping for added health benefits.
7. The Popcorn Book written by Tomie dePaola – Twins, Tony, and Tiny, love popcorn and all the interesting facts about it. This fact-filled book is perfect for the young inquisitive child. Popcorn is a delicious healthy whole grain snack, just ditch the butter and salt, and try a new topping instead i.e. cinnamon, parmesan cheese, pepper, Italian seasoning, taco seasoning, or add nuts and raisins for a trail mix.
8. The Gigantic Sweet Potato written by Diane De Las Casas – Ma Farmer recruits the help of Pa and all the farm animals to pull a giant sweet potato from the ground so she can make her delicious sweet potato pie. This recipe for disaster promotes teamwork and includes it’s very own recipe for sweet potato pie. Another great treat to try is sweet potato fries. Simply slice the sweet potato into wedges, toss in some oil, sprinkle with seasonings such as pepper and paprika and bake! Voila!
9. Go, Go, Grapes! A Fruit Chant written by April Pulley Sayre – A sweet rhyming book celebrating the joys of healthy eating. The bright display of photos will have your mouth watering for fruit salad. Which new fruit will you try? Pomegranate? Dragon fruit? Lychee?
10. Little Red Hen Makes A Pizza written by Philemon Sturges – With no help from her Friends, Little Red Hen decides to make a pizza. Follow along in this step by step tale and then make your very own pizza. Mini pizzas made with bagel thins, ranch dip, and diced veggies is a fun and healthy twist to a tasty snack.