Our Oatmeal Monster: Using Books to Teach Nutrition


I happily discovered Tales for Picky Eaters by Josh Schneider at our local library. It was perfect.

It is as funny as it is realistic in its portrayal of dinnertime battles. Especially when introducing new foods. 

One chapter focuses on lumpy oatmeal. The main character refuses to eat it and his father creates a hilarious story featuring an oatmeal monster that eats everything in sight. At the end of the father’s outlandish tale, the boy says, “can you just make me some oatmeal with less lumps?”  What I loved the most was the attitude of the father: cool as a cucumber. He never whined or begged for him to just try one bite.  

Although it is fiction, Schneider artfully shows how parents and children can dialogue about food. It shouldn’t be stressful. It can even be funny. 

After reading the book, Big P and I made our own oatmeal monsters.


Books can help us teach concepts to our children that we might otherwise stay away from. For example, have you ever thought to use the classic Eric Carle story, The Hungry Caterpillar, to teach about satiety or moderation? That poor caterpillar wouldn’t have a junk food coma if he stoped at just a slice of pie.  

If you have a tween or full fledged teen, check out The Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids: The Secrets Behind What You Eat  by Michael Pollan. That book is guaranteed to get some great dialogue going! 


  • Ages 2 and up: The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Ages 5-8: D.W. The Picky Eater by Marc Brown
  • Ages 6 and up: Tales for Picky Eaters by Josh Schneider
  • Ages 10 and up: The Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids: The Secrets Behind What You Eat  by Michael Pollan


 Here is a list of books compiled by the School Nutrition Association.