This will probably come as no surprise if you’re also a parent, but since the birth of my daughter, I’ve been devouring all sorts of parenting books. And child nutrition books have been pretty high up on my list.
Although few of the kid nutrition books I’ve come across are specifically aimed at vegan parents, there’s still loads of knowledge to be gained from them.
As a busy parent, I really dislike starting a new book only to find out, a few chapters in, that it doesn’t really meet my expectations. To prevent this from happening, I usually seek book recommendations from experts in their field.
To return the favor, I thought I’d use this article to share 5 of my favorite child nutrition books. Although none of these are specifically written for vegan parents, they share useful tips that are applicable to vegan and non-vegan families alike.
A vegan dietitian’s 5 favorite child nutrition books
Here’s a video summary of everything you need to know about my five favorite nutrition books. So if you’d rather watch than read, the info you seek is one click away!
If reading is your preference, then feel free to scroll on!
1. Born To Eat, by Leslie Schilling and Wendy Jo Peterson
This book is written by two registered dietitians. This is a criteria I tend to look for when picking nutrition books. I find that doing so greatly increases the odds that the book will be based on science, rather than the latest nutrition fad.
This one is specific to kids between 6 and 36 months, and puts an emphasis on a self-feeding approach — also known as baby-led weaning.
Baby-led weaning is a way to introduce solids without purées.
Instead, a parent offers their baby finger foods in appropriate sizes and textures from the get-go.
Baby-led weaning is the feeding approach I mostly relied on when introducing solids to my daughter.
So if you’re considering doing the same, you may find this book as helpful as I have.
I love that this book is split up in sections, based on your baby’s age. Each section focusses solely on the most important points to remember for that age group. This made it particularly easy to avoid information overload.
This book also answers common parent questions, such as “How many meals should a baby get at first?” or “Should I introduce only one food at time?”
It also shares concrete examples of appropriate food combinations to use when feeding your child, as well as recipes.
Not all food suggestions are vegan, but you can definitely pick and choose from the vegan options to make appropriate combinations of your own.
Or if you want to save yourself some work, simply download a free copy of the list of vegan starter food combinations below.
Finally, the chapters in this book are short. This made it easy to get a little reading done without having to commit my whole evening to reading a chapter.
2. The Parent’s Guide to Baby-Led Weaning, by Jennifer House
This book is another must-read for parents interested in baby-led weaning. It’s actually the first book I read on this topic, and I really enjoyed it.
It’s written by a registered dietitian and covers everything you need to know about this self-feeding approach.
You’ll learn how to check if your child is ready for finger foods and how to minimize the risk of choking.
You’ll also be able to review the main risks and benefits linked to this food introduction approach.
This book also shows you how to properly introduce allergenic foods and minimize picky eating behaviors.
Most importantly, you’ll learn how to ensure that a baby-led weaning diet meets your baby’s nutrition needs.
This book also answers the most commonly asked questions about baby-led weaning and shows you how to troubleshoot common difficulties.
It also provides meal plans adapted to different age groups. Plus, it shares plenty of tips on how to adapt family meals to make them suitable for your vegan baby.
Finally, the whole second part of this book is used to share baby-led weaning-appropriate recipes. Most aren’t vegan, but many can be easily veganized.
3. Fearless Feeding, by Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobsen
This is another book written by registered dietitians discussing how to raise healthy eaters. It covers nutrition from infancy all the way through high school, making it the most comprehensive of the bunch.
It’s organized by age group and each section discusses the biggest nutrition focus for that age.
Each section also gives you a heads up about the challenges most likely to arise, and provides tips to easily tackle them.
It’s an easy-to-read book, that’s loaded with meal plan templates you can follow when feeding your child.
For the baby stage, these templates include both purées and finger foods. This makes them suitable regardless of the food introduction approach you choose to follow.
I’ve particularly enjoyed the real-life examples sprinkled throughout the book. Both dietitians have seen many clients over the years. Reading about their experience is entertaining and also makes it easier to see how to put the theory into practice.
The book is also loaded with useful tables. For example, one table outlines the most important nutrients for your child, daily requirements per age group and which foods are richest in each.
I also really appreciated the section about how to improve your own relationship with food.
As parents, our attitudes regarding food are very likely to have long-lasting effects on the way our children view foods. That’s why I think it’s important to make sure our own relationship with food remains as healthy as possible.
4. Helping Your Child With Extreme Picky Eating, Katja Rowell and Jenny McGlothlin
Thankfully, my daughter is not an extreme picky eater by any means. But I’ve found the information and tips presented in this book to be useful nonetheless.
This book is written by a family doctor and a certified speech-language pathologist specializing in child feeding disorders.
It discusses the physical and mental reasons which may be causing your child’s picky eating behavior.
It’s loaded with tips to help your child expand their palate, with as little stress as possible.
Their tactics require no pressure, bribes, negotiations, rewards or punishments. Plus, they won’t have you cooking two different meals every night.
The authors also discuss the feeding strategies best suited for picky eaters, as well as the counterproductive ones to avoid.
This book is an easy read, but the chapters are a bit on the long side. I personally dislike having to put a book down mid-chapter. So I found this book a little less convenient to read when short on time.
That said, the information shared in it is very helpful. Therefore, I found it well worth the effort.
5. Child Of Mine, by Ellyn Satter.
This book came highly recommended by my fellow dietitian colleagues, especially the ones specializing in pediatrics.
It discusses feeding newborns to preschoolers and is written by the registered dietitian which first introduced the division of responsibility approach to feeding.
This is the approach that various feeding experts, many dietitians included, commonly rely on when advising parents.
So this book can be viewed as somewhat of the OG of child nutrition books.
I find this approach to feeding to be very low-stress, which is one of the main reasons why I personally love it.
It’s known to help prevent power struggles around meals. It can also help a child retain their natural ability to follow their signals of hunger and satiety when eating — an ability many adults have lost over time.
This book covers a range of additional nutrition topics, including realistic expectations about mealtime etiquette, how to make mealtimes pleasant, and how to manage desserts and other treats.
The only downside is that it’s very text-rich, so reads somewhat like a textbook. That said, the information shared in it is pure gold, so it’s definitely worth a read.
To sum it all up
Feeding children isn’t always the easiest of tasks. But having the right book on hand can make navigating this complex topic a little bit easier.
The five expert-written child nutrition books above are some of my favorites, and worthy reads for both vegan and non-vegan parents alike.
What are your favorite child nutrition books? Please share them below so that I (and other readers) can check them out!