Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2016 is a weekly celebration of imaginative children’s nonfiction materials hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.
Title: The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids: 60 Easy Plant-Based Recipes Kids Can Make to Stay Healthy and Save the Earth
Author: Ruby Roth
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: April 2016
My Two Cents: March is National Nutrition Month, so what better time to take a look at a plant-based, kid-focused cookbook? As the author suggests, studies have shown that getting kids involved in the planning and cooking of their meals can help build life-long healthy eating habits.
First off, this is an unapologetically vegan cookbook, so if you’re a hard-line carnivore this might not be the book for you or your family. However, if you’re open to trying a plant-based diet, or are simply interested in adding more fruit and vegetables to your family’s meals, this is a very approachable, beginner-friendly guide to vegan cooking.
The cookbook is just beautifully designed – the photographs are quirky and utterly charming, and the recipes are laid out in unique and nontraditional ways. This is a very kid-friendly cookbook – it’s friendly, cute and light-hearted, and makes cooking a fun, rather than intimidating, experience.
I recently watched a documentary series on food and cooking called Cooked, based on the book by Michael Pollan. The series emphasizes the importance of connecting with our food, getting back to healthy basics, and cooking our own wholesome meals. Regardless of your thoughts on different diets or eating habits (Pollan himself is unsure about the benefits of veganism, and I am a omnivore), I think we can all agree that the Western diet typically contains far too much processed and unhealthy food. By getting into the kitchen with our children, introducing them to cooking and encouraging them to be comfortable with food preparation, we can help our children develop a better understanding of nutrition, and support the development of a healthy relationship with food.
The emphasis on independence is also refreshing – kids are first warned never to go into the kitchen with an adult’s permission, but are encouraged to take control, to be independent and to learn how to fend for themselves. This is all part of setting kids up for success and ensuring that they have the skills and confidence they need to live healthy adult lives.
Talking with kids about food, nutrition, the environment, and what it means to be healthy inside and out is vital to preparing them for life, and sharing cookbooks like this with children can be a part of that experience. Did I mention it’s also really, really cute? 🙂