Thumbs Up
Kid Cookbooks

Following is a list of kid cookbooks that get my dietitian thumbs up.

The best way to get kids to eat healthy food is to expose them to it at a young age and give them the opportunity to prepare it themselves!

Kid Cookbooks for Children 4-8 years old

Keep on Rollin' Meatballs and Other Delicious Dinners by Nick Fauchald

This kids cookbook teaches children how to cook delicious, healthy, and easy recipes from scratch. All recipes are simple to prepare and highlight the ingredients which fit into the food pyramid. Most recipes are lowfat, but note that not all are.

"From cheesy peas and carrots penne to keep on rollin' baked meatballs, these recipes are sure to serve up a smile."

Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up by Mollie Katzen (author of the Moosewood Cookbook)

This is often considered one of the classic kid cookbooks. It's purpose is "to enable very young children to cook as independently as possible under the gentle guidance of an adult partner."

This "just for kids cookbook" contains 17 recipes presented in 2 different formats:

  • words (written instructions and suggestions for adults)
  • full color easy to follow pictures (for the young cook)
It gets good reviews from critics and moms alike. A great first kids cookbook!

Healthy Kids Cookbooks for
Children 9-12 years old

Kids' Fun and Healthy Cookbook
by Nicola Graimes

100 recipes with easy to follow, step-by-step instructions.

I love this kids cookbook because it teaches why healthy eating is important. Of all the kids cookbooks I've reviewed, this one stands out.

Your child will learn to think about what he/she is eating and the effect it has on the body (something adults could benefit from too!).

Recipes include healthy versions of kid favorites:

  • pizza
  • burgers
  • fish sticks
  • cookies
And a few new ideas too:
  • tofu kebabs
  • seafood salad
  • roasted vegetable pasta

Filled with fun facts about food, nutrition, and cooking techniques, this healthy kids cookbook is a "must have."

The Healthy Body Cookbook: Over 50 Fun Activities and Delicious Recipes for Kids by Joan D'Amico and Karen Eich Drummond

This kids cookbook combines lessons in both cooking and science.

56 healthy recipes are arranged according to parts of the human body they benefit: heart, blood, muscles, bones, teeth, skin, hair, nails, nerves, and the digestive system.

For each body part/system, there is an activity/experiment and some recipes that are good for that particular body part.

Vegetarian Kid Cookbooks

Salad People and More Real Recipes: A New Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up
by Molly Katzen

Reading level: Age 4-8

20 pre-schooler tested and approved recipes

This kids cookbook gets my dietitian thumbs up because it promotes real food that's low in fat and low in sugar. "No hot dogs, tubs of frosting or packages of Kool-Aid to be found among these dishes!"

Honest Pretzels: And 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Cooks Ages 8 & Up
by Mollie Katzen

Reading level: Ages 8-12

65 vegetarian recipes:

  • breakfast
  • soups
  • sandwiches
  • salads
  • main dishes
  • desserts
  • baked goods
  • snacks
  • drinks

"Every recipe is introduced with a list of ingredients, the amount of time it's going to take, a list of tools, and a note about where a child might want to ask an adult for help.

The author's intent is that children participate in the cooking process, enjoy their accomplishments, and learn bits of math, science, and something about cooperation along the way."

Just for Kids Cookbooks: Edible Art

Cooking Art: Easy Edible Art for Young Children by MaryAnn Kohl

Reading Level: Ages 3-8

This kids cookbooks is great for beginning cooks.

Healthy, nutritious, yummy art projects to make and eat:

  • 89 activities require no baking
  • 64 activities use 5 ingredients or less
  • 25 activities require only 10-15 minutes to prepare

Snactivities by MaryAnn Kohl

Reading level: Ages 4-8

This kids cookbooks get my dietitian thumbs up too because instead of disguising healthy food with cheese sauce or syrups, children learn that eating foods that are good for their bodies can be an enjoyable and creative activity.

Who wouldn't want to eat tomato towers, alphabet sandwiches, or dinosaur eggs?!

Each activity is rated by level of simplicity and estimated time to complete.


Preparing food with your kids is not only an opportunity to spend time together, but it helps them learn how to handle foods in a safe, healthful way. Consider these guidelines from the American Dietetic Association for kitchen success:

  • Choose foods and recipes from kid cookbooks that match your child’s abilities. For young cooks, use illustrated children’s cookbooks that show pictures of the foods, measurements and steps along the way.
  • Ask your child to suggest foods he or she would like to make and shop for the ingredients together.
  • Go over safety and sanitation tips, beginning with hand washing. Sing two choruses of "Happy Birthday" while you lather up — cleaning your hands for 20 seconds.
  • Supervise children as they learn to work with knives, the stove and other potentially dangerous appliances and tools.
  • Have your child help you store food properly for food safety.

For Picky Eaters

Get your kids to eat healthy foods with Sneaky Chef recipes. The Sneaky Chef rocks!

Good general nutrition books for picky eaters:

Information About This List of Kid Cookbooks

  • My favorite cookbooks for kids are listed here.
  • If you have favorites you'd like to see added to the list, contact me.
  • See Amazon search results for kid cookbooks

More of my professional advice you may find helpful:

Nutrition Books for Kids

Fast Kid Friendly Meals

Nutrition for Kids

Personal Nutrition Guide Home Page