11 Books That'll Have Toddlers Reaching for their Veggies

Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli cover

Got a toddler who's turning her nose up at the healthy stuff? Rare is the kid who will eat everything on his plate, yet we all know how important it is to establish healthy eating habits early on.

And it might not help if parents are the only ones preaching about healthy foods. But what about some fun storybook characters? These 11 clever picture books, with their colorful drawings and entertaining stories, might just make good, wholesome food more appealing for your kid.


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  • I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child

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    This sweet story will have imaginative toddlers looking at their plates in a whole new way. Little Lola is one seriously picky eater. She won’t eat peas (“too small and too green”) and thinks carrots are for rabbits. Tomato? Don’t even think about it -- until her big sister Charlie is tasked with feeding her dinner. Charlie’s wildly creative descriptions of Lola’s meal suddenly make her food more appealing. Those peas are “green drops from Greenland that fall from the sky,” and mashed potatoes are “cloud fluffs from the pointiest peak of Mt. Fiji.” The story is captivating and funny and encourages kids to try new foods. 

  • Gregory, the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat

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    Kids will crack up at this funny tale of a goat who won’t eat the foods his parents have deemed acceptable. Instead of regular goat fare -- old shoes, shirts, boxes, and tires -- he eats “junk” like fruit, salads, eggs, and fish. His parents try everything to get him to eat like a goat. Eventually their efforts pay off and Gregory learns about a balanced diet. 

  • Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli by Barbara Jean Hicks

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    Because of its bouncy rhyming text and fun illustrations, toddlers can’t get enough of this book. The monsters love snacking on tractors, rocket ships, and cars, but don’t ask them to eat veggies. They cringe when faced with a plate piled high with green vegetables. “Monsters don’t eat broccoli!” The monsters do, however, eat giant redwoods and maple trees. Could it be a trick? You just may get your own little monster to gobble up a few redwoods.

    More from CafeMom: Stop Food Battles & Make Family Meals Fun by Stealing These Moms' Ideas

  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

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    No list of healthy-eating books for kids would be complete without this classic. The main character is absolutely sure he doesn't like green eggs and ham, but that Sam-I-Am is very persistent. He eventually tries them and, as it turns out, green eggs and ham are delicious! As always, Dr. Seuss's whimsically fun world comes with an important message: Try new things. 

  • One Bean by Anne Rockwell and Megan Halsey

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    This book gives a simple, toddler-friendly description of how our food grows. A perfect intro to gardening, it shows how one little bean can grow into an entire bean plant. It's a great book to read before starting your own vegetable garden. 

  • We're Going to the Farmers' Market by Stefan Page

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    Bright and colorful graphics take the reader on a trip to the farmer's market. They'll pick up eggs, milk, bread, fruit, and vegetables and then head home to prepare a healthy meal. The bold graphics are captivating and the message is simple: Real food is a joy.  

    More from CafeMom: 9 Deceivingly Healthy Recipes That Fool Kids into Eating Their Veggies

  • The Boy Who Loved Broccoli by Sarah A. Creighton

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    Unlike most children's books about veggies, the broccoli in this book isn't something to be suspiciously tasted and tolerated for good health. The main character, Baxter, loves broccoli. He soon learns that the green stuff is giving him superpowers and he uses his new powers to help people. Kids will feel lucky to have broccoli on their plate after reading this fun book. 

  • Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert

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    Bright and beautiful watercolor collages adorn the pages of Eating the Alphabet. With every letter of the alphabet covered, this book includes some exotic fruits and vegetables your child may not have tried. You just may discover a new favorite. 

  • How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?: The Story of Food by Chris Butterworth and Lucia Gaggiotti

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    This book gives easy-to-understand descriptions of how our food gets from the farm to our tables (or, in this case, into our lunchboxes). It includes a healthy eating guide and a brief description of basic food groups. 

    More from CafeMom: Genius Ways to Make Your Toddler's Favorite Junk Foods Healthier

  • Sylvia's Spinach by Katherine Pryor and Anna Raff

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    Sylvia really doesn't like spinach. Then one day her teacher assigns her with the task of growing her own spinach in the school garden. Caring for her plant gives her a new appreciation of the leafy green, and eventually she's willing to give it another try.

  • I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems

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    If your child is a fan of the Elephant and Piggie series (and who isn't?) they'll love this sweet and silly twist on trying new foods. Gerald (the elephant) is pretty sure he won't like Piggie's favorite meal. He agrees to try it and it turns out he wasn't wrong. It's a nice reminder that kids won't love every new food they try, but sometimes it's worth a shot anyway. 

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