5 Great Nutrition and Gut Health Books for Kids of All Ages
Since my nutrition practice is about 1/3-1/2 children at any given time, I’ve had to find books that would resonate enough with the kids to get the onboard with healthier eating.
Below are my (and my son’s!) top picks:
1. Buddies in My Belly: A Story About Probiotics by Sarah Morgan & Henry Bell
This story explores the microbiome and the importance of feeding it good foods. The book features cute characters, different probiotic strains personified, with rhymes about their favorite foods and how they promote health and wellbeing. The characters are relatable to kids, and it elicited giggles from my son every time we read it. It features a phytonutrient food behavioral chart for kids to try to eat the rainbow; a comparable one can be found here. This can help kids eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains! Authors also released stuffies to go along with the book.
2. Eat Healthy, Feel Great! by William and Martha Sears
This book teaches kids about “green,” “yellow,” and “red” light foods, how often to eat which, and what impact eating them can have on the body. It also delves into drinking enough water, consuming various vitamins and minerals, and how families can choose and prepare healthy foods together. Finally, it includes a fold out poster as well as a couple recipes. Illustrations are colorful. My son created a green-yellow-red food list game based on the book, categorizing as many as he can. In my opinion, the book offers great points and is very relatable and appropriate for the preschool and elementary school crowds (my son will just pick it up at random and start reading it), however, it goes on a few pages too long.
3. The Incredible Microbiome by Sean & Tori Davies
This book is written for dual audiences, older and younger (early elementary, definitely not preschool), between rhymes for all and text boxes that provide a higher detail of science information for the more advanced set. It’s also neat in that it talks about the different functions the microbiome serves and the byproducts it produces, and how these benefit health. What other kids’ book do you know of that discusses metabolism, genetics, and the enteric nervous system? Finally, it concludes with a list of prebiotic foods and a couple of prebiotic-rich recipes, as well as a reference list. The science information in this book is terrific, however, I struggle with rhymes when they feel forced, and the text here did feel a bit contrived at times.
4. Meet Your Microbiome: Your Superheroes Within by Cheryl Coercion & Chrystal Cordero
This fantasy story about “good” gut microbes protecting their human from invading “bad” microbes is sure to please younger kids. What kid doesn’t love a good battle featuring the superheroes that save the day?! The pictures are fun and colorful, and the teaching is done indirectly as details supporting the overall story. Great for elementary school kids, and even pre-K.
5. Inside Your Insides by Claire Eamer & Marie-Eve Tremblay
A book for late-elementary and middle school kids, this book explores the concept of the microbiome, basic types of microbes, germ theory vs. terrain theory, dysbiosis, and a very basic explanation of immune system function. It extrapolates the concept of microbiome to beyond the gut, and across the entire body. It discusses the role of helpful and harmful bacteria, and the evolution of germs. (Side note: This book is pro-vaccine.) Finally, it shares how to care for the microbiome through diet. Definitely a science text, with fun drawings and colorful renderings based on microscope images, and ending with a glossary and reference list.
6. A Garden in Your Belly by Masha D’Tans
This book is available only on preorder at this time, but looks very promising as another younger-kid option!
What books about the microbiome and gut health do your children enjoy?