Because We Desperately Need One
If you’re old enough, you’ll remember watching Saturday morning cartoons with Popeye and Olive Oil. When Popeye needed super strength, he’d open a can of spinach with his bare hands and gulp down the contents. For sure, canned spinach is the least nutritious way to eat spinach, but at least he consumed a veggie.
Today, kids’ books, TV programs, and movies almost always emphasize junk foods. Not only do they highlight these foods, but frequently joke about people (usually adults) who eat organic foods or whole foods.
Try & Betty heading for breakfast
The movie, Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler, is a perfect example. This is an enchanting tale about an uncle, who tells inventive bedtime stories to his niece and nephew. His sister, the kids’ mom, is a health nut and her over the top instance on eating flavorless organic food is the butt of his jokes.
Cookbooks for children usually focus on sweets for kids to make. They’re full of recipes for cookies, cakes, and other treats. Even with healthy food, processed items are often on the ingredient list, as well as sugar.
The few storybooks for children, which approach the theme of healthy eating, end up centering on the negative. Picky eating is depicted as funny, albeit a problem to overcome. What’s worse, junk foods end up in competition with whole foods. Of course, kids already know that junk foods taste good.
In my new storybook, The Forest Feast: Baby Bites Mealtime Adventures, best friends Try Rannosaurus®, and Betty Baby Bites® LOVE whole foods, especially veggies! Picky eating and junk foods are never mentioned, because the story is set in prehistoric times. There’s only food—whole food. The characters naturally eat what is good and wholesome: modeling healthy habits for children.
Try is a growing dinosaur with a massive appetite. He’s eager to try any new food (that’s why he’s named Try) and his favorite is the green variety, after all he’s green. Try says, “Green food is yummy!” In The Forest Feast, he’s searching for a special veggie to bring to the weekly supper. At day’s end, everyone is surprised by Try’s contribution.
Betty Baby Bites is the brains behind the dinosaur. She’s a foodie, loving the culinary arts. Betty is an Italian mouse and can be found supervising meals, while offering encouragement. She loves to interject her favorite words of support, fantastico and bravo.
The Forest Feast applies the reading and visual input aspects of multi-sensory learning to healthy eating, explained in my parenting book, Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater. The various foods Try and Betty consume during their escapades encourage children, especially picky eaters, to appreciate veggies. After reading The Forest Feast to your children, you’re kids are sure to agree with Try, “Green food is yummy!”
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