Book Reviews: Picky Eater Books

We have a new category: Book Reviews!  I have many favorite books that I compiled on our “Book Recommendation” page, but no official book review category, because where would we put the books we don’t recommend? There are so many helpful books out there to  help parents to feed their kids better, that we might as well start talking about them.  Books are difficult for me to read. By 8:00 at night, I’m tired.  If I try to get into bed with a book, I am asleep before I finish the first page. However, I’ve been able to finish about 10 books in the last month because I started listening to them instead!!  I listen to books at the gym, on walks, runs, while I clean, and even while I’m grocery shopping.  I’m totally addicted!  So, if you have a book you want me to read before you buy it, (and especially if it’s on Audible), let me know!

Unfortunately, these two books weren’t on audible.  I had to actually read them, which I did on the stairmaster at the gym.  Hard to fall asleep doing that, right?  But they’ve been on my shelf as possibly helpful for you guys, and I wanted to dive in to see if there was anything helpful in them.

The first one is by nutrition expert, dietitian Kate Samela: Give Peas a Chance.    There are several reasons I like this book.

  1. I like that Kate has a Masters degree of Clinical Nutrition and is a specialist in pediatric nutrition!  I’m a big fan of advanced degrees in the subject written for book authors.
  2. I love that the book is easy to read! It’s full of picky eater stories, lists, and helpful charts for feeding schedules and meal ideas.
  3. This book is not just discussing the problem of picky eating, but literally spends then entire 280+pages proposing solutions.

One practical and easy to implement item of advice is what Kate calls pre-meal exercise.  She states,

It makes a world of difference for kids of all ages to be outside playing before mealtime rather than to be plopped in front of the computer or TV. Kids are much more interested in coming and sitting down at the table if they have not been sitting for the past hour doing nothing. Even for older toddlers, staying active doing an art project will keep their focus on something other than being for snacks before dinner.

I’ve been saying for years that a truly hungry child will eat almost anything.  And exercise or activity before meal time is a great way to work up that hunger!  You know what I mean, because it’s the same for adults.   An apple when your hungry might taste like the best apple in the world, from the sweetest tree. But an apple when your not hungry is just average!  Get those kids hungry!!

Crunchy/Salty Sweet/Squishy Soft Meat/Proteins
Chips: pretzel sticks, pop chips Sweet breads: banana, zucchini, pumpkin Small meatballs cooked in sauce
Dried Cereal: Rice Chex, Honey Kix, Cheerios, LIfe Muffins:  Berry, banana, corn, lemon, poppyseed Strained meat-based soups
Letter cookies Pancakes, crepes Strained pot pies
multigrain crackers French Toast Diced breakfast sausages
mini rice cakes Cereal bars, broken in small pieces beef ravioli

Second thing I agree with in this book, is her similar food list charts.   Kate lists foods that are similar to foods your toddler enjoys that you can substitute in order to introduce new foods.  So, if your child likes pancakes, then something else that is also sweet and squishy from the same column as pancakes might be an acceptable substitute. Here is a sample of one of her charts!

So, anyway, the meal ideas and food suggestions in this book are specifically designed for toddlers.  So, if you have a picky toddler, it’s a great resource to keep on your shelf and refer to when you need to pull out some new ideas.



The second picky eater book is “The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley. Elizabeth is the author of 11 parenting books, not only about eating, but also sleeping and discipline.  My favorite thing about this book is that she spends a lot of time talking about how important it is to feed your kids better.  I love this because I feel like too often, picky eater experts tell you not to worry. Kids grow out of it, and just be patient (which I’m guilty of doing myself). But the truth is, sometimes they DON’T grow out of it! My sister is almost 35 years old and she still won’t eat fruit!  Can you imagine!  She is a self- proclaimed picky eater, at 34!

Elizabeth states:

A well-balanced diet can improve a child’s mood and prevent the tantrums, fussing, and whining that accompany the mood swings, brought about by hunger and lack of nutrients.  In a nutshell, the scientific connection between mood and food is this: The substances we injest bring about changes in our brain function, which directly affects our behavior.

Since that is true, we don’t want to wait for our kids to “grow out of their food jags”!  We need well behaved kids, like yesterday!

So, what are Elizabeth’s solutions?


Having a good attitude toward meal time is essential.  Make sure you are showing a love of healthy food, and pleasure in mealtime rituals.


Kids will naturally choose the best tasting food available (usually the sweetest foods), so make sure you only have available the foods you want them to eat.


You child may not need as much food as you are offering.  She says, “a small toddler needs 3/4ths to one cup of vegetables, 1/4th cup of grains, 3 TBL of meat per DAY, not per meal!”  This is a difficult concept for parents of the ‘clean your plate’ generation!


The recommended rules are – Make family dinner time a routine,  Eat an apple a day, Don’t let your child eat directly from the bag or box, avoid fast food restaurants, and break the rules once in a while. (lol).

But my favorite part about Elizabeth’s book is she has recipes!  We’ve actually tried most of them. She has Autumn Spice pumpkin muffins, Mexican Lasagna, and Garden pancakes.

So, there it is. I would recommend both books as a reference book.  They both aren’t necessary to read cover to cover, as the chapters have bold headlines with each practical approach to ideas and meals that picky eaters have accepted.

Want more book reviews? Let me know in the comments!  *both of these books were sent to me for free.  I’m also willing to purchase books you want me to read as well.

written by
Amy Roskelley

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Jose says:

Healthy Lasagna Ingredients4 tablespoons olive oil, didievd1 red onion, peeled and sliced3 garlic cloves, peeled (1 minced, 2 left whole)2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans tomatoes, crushed1 teaspoon oregano, dried1 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon pepper6 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes1/2 teaspoon thyme, dried1 lb kale9 whole wheat lasagna noodles1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground2 cups mozzarella cheese, didievdDirections1Preheat oven to 400b0F.2In a large pot over medium heat heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Stir in onion and minced garlic (1 clove). Cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.3Stir in tomatoes, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until thick. Set aside.4While the sauce is cooking in a 12 x 15 inch baking pan, place squash and sprinkle with the thyme, remaining olive oil and remaining salt and pepper. Add whole garlic cloves (2) and toss. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until squash is soft. While squash is cooking in a large pot bring 3 quarts of water to a boil.5Reduce oven temperature to 350b0F.6Transfer squash mixture to a food processor and puree.7Tear kale leaves from ribs discard ribs. Boil leaves for 5-10 minutes or until soft. Drain and let cool.8In the same pot bring another 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions (10 minutes); drain and rinse with cold water.9In a bowl mix together the ricotta, nutmeg, 1 cup of mozzarella and the remaining salt and pepper (1/2 tsp each).10In a 9 x 13 inch pan pour in 1/3 of the tomato sauce, lay 3 noodles over and top with squash. Sprinkle 1/2 of the kale over. Arrange 3 more noodles on top and top with ricotta and remaining kale leaves and the noodles. Cover with remaining tomato sauce and remaining mozzarella.11Bake for 30 minutes and let stand 10 minutes before serving. For make ahead directions see description.Enjoy!(:

After reading this post I’ve known about some eating related books such as Give Peas a Chance and The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution. Personally I like the book of “The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution” because I can learn more about how important it is to feed our kids better from this book.

It’s OK Sarah- we all have our faults. lol Blame your mother for yours! 🙂

Sarah Kimmel says:

In my defense… It’s only fruit I won’t eat. I will try just about anything else. And, yes… I’ve TRIED all fruit. It’s the texture I don’t like. I love just about all veggies, even the ones that other people don’t like. 😉

Healthy, Happy Eaters.
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Healthy, Happy Eaters.
Join over 100k + subscribers and get family-friendly recipes, picky-eater strategies, lunch-packing tips and more, delivered each week to your inbox.