18 Best Children’s Books About Health & Nutrition

Contributing writer, former long-term care admissions counselor and social worker

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Reading and healthy habits — they’re two important things to teach kids at a young age. Why not knock out both at the same time with books that tackle both exercise and nutrition? 

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Here’s a collection of books children can read that will familiarize them with these important topics.  

Best Children’s Books About Exercise

As new technology is released and more and more kids stay parked on the couch, it’s that much more important to introduce exercise in a fun way. 

1. The Busy Body Book by Lizzy Rockwell 

This children’s book is full of colorful illustrations of children who move from head to toe. The book shows how kids can use their bones and muscles to jump and run. 

2. Get Up and Go by Nancy Carlson

This book is perfect for three- to five-year-olds. It explains all the reasons to exercise, no matter who you are and what you look like.

It’s a quick read and explains that it’s good to get up and go! 

3. The Yoga Zoo Adventure: Animal Poses and Games for Little Kids by Helen Purperhart

This clever book uses animals to create yoga poses. Use this book to introduce your young child to yoga.

The book is separated into different parts, each teaching a different aspect of yoga and some getting the kids moving. 

4. Shake a Leg! by Constance Allen 

This Sesame Street book gets preschoolers excited about moving their bodies. It encourages kiddos to jiggle and wiggle and definitely makes them giggle with funny prompts like moving their ears. It’s a great way for toddlers and adults to play together.

5. Move! by Lolly Hopwood and YoYo Kusters 

This book’s handles and vibrant colors invite play and creativity. Kids can hold it up to their faces to make scary jaws or hold the sides like the wheel of a ship.

This book doesn’t just encourage exercise — it forces it. 

6. My Active Imagination: A Book of Imagination about Fitness, Rhyme and Family Time! by Karlyn Rubeniuk 

This book is a great way to introduce exercise to kids. It’s the book that keeps on giving, with great illustrations, fun rhyming, and a whimsical storyline.

It also includes a hidden snickerdoodle in every scene. Kids will learn the “why” of exercise through this book by the end. 

Best Children’s Books About Mental Health

It’s important for kids to start understanding the importance of mental health at a young age. Start the conversation — topics like anxiety, stress, and bullying opens the door for kids to feel safe and helps them process feelings and situations they encounter as they grow up. 

7. ABC Mindful Me by Christiane Engel 

As children master the alphabet in this book, they’ll also learn words like “awareness,” “compassion,” and “zen.”

The more words children learn, the more aware they can be of their own mental health. 

8. It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr

Mental health is fragile and can be easily harmed and your mental health might suffer when you compare yourself to others.

This book simply and to the point shows that it’s okay to be different.  

9. The Feelings Book by Todd Parr 

Another crucial topic in childhood is addressing feelings, and this book does a great job doing that.

The book is similar to It’s Okay to Be Different — the vibrant colors and simple, short text gets to the point and makes children feel seen and validated. 

10. Don’t Feed the Worry Bug by Andi Green 

This book is a longer read, but it’s worth it for the worried child in your life. The book is about a worry monster whose worries make the monster grow bigger and bigger.

One heartfelt review on Amazon says, “This book has made it so we can joke more about it… ‘don’t feed the worry bug!’”

11. Am I a Bully? by Mrs. Hope Gilchrist

Bullying shouldn’t only be addressed in school assemblies. It should be discussed around the dinner table, in the media, and in storybooks.

This book offers the bully’s viewpoint and how to stop bullying so everyone feels better.

12. Tough Guys Have Feelings Too by Keith Negley 

The kids in your life might not feel comfortable with their feelings, and that’s okay. Sometimes it takes a role model to show them it’s okay to feel a certain way. This book does just that.

This beautifully illustrated book shares that various “tough guys” like ninjas, wrestlers, and daddies all cry and have feelings! 

Best Children’s Books About Nutrition

If kids had their choice, they would probably eat candy and snack food for every meal. That’s why adults need to step in and explain that healthier alternatives can be just as tasty and why it’s important to make those choices. 

Here’s a compilation of books that feature recipes, stories, learning the food groups and when to say no. 

13. Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows, and Purples by DK Children

We have a kid-friendly cookbook full of more than 20 vegetarian recipes to kick off the nutrition books round-up.

This book is written in a positive tone and pages are full of colorful veggies that make up its recipe pages. 

14. See What We Eat! A First Book of Healthy Eating by Scot Ritchie 

This book follows a group of kids as they tour a farm and learn along the way. They learn the importance of balanced, local farm-to-table meals.

This colorful book explains food groups and discusses topics that might not be found elsewhere. 

15. Good Enough To Eat: A Kid’s Guide To Good and Nutrition by Lizzy Rockwell 

This book is a resource and tool for the whole family to tackle nutrition. It teaches food groups and even includes recipes.

It’s a great way for kids to learn how to expertly help themselves and find nutrition answers.

16. Healthy Heather and Her Magic Fruits and Vegetables by Dr. Kristen Poe 

This story is about the main character, Heather, and her friends, and teaches children about nutrition and food groups. Heather gets picked on in the book but sticks to healthy choices. 

17. Cami Kangaroo Has Too Many Sweets by Stacy C. Bauer 

Nutrition is not only about eating nutritious foods, it’s also about not overdoing sweets and fatty foods.

This book is a funny story about Cami the kangaroo, who needs to learn to listen and regulate how she eats when nobody is around to tell her what (not) to do. 

18. Sneaky Spinach by Alexis Schulze 

This silly book is about sneaky spinach! Children usually don’t eat their vegetables without some coaxing, so this can be a familiar story. 

Get Ahead of Health

Children soak up knowledge and absorb the information they’re given. Teach them the importance of exercise, eating well and caring for mental health at a young age. Reading is also a great healthy habit to start. 

If you're looking for more books to help your children understand their health, read our guides on the best children's books about death and the best children's books about cancer.

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