Healthy Home Cooking for Kids by Emily Rose Brott

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Ebury Press, Random House Australia, 2013. ISBN 9781742759999.
As the new school year rolls out, media focus on childhood obesity and parents think about school lunchboxes so this is an ideal time to draw attention to a new recipe book by a Melbourne mother of four. Tired of telling her children that they couldn't eat this, that or the other, she focused on creating snacks, main meals and treats which have no added sugar, no white flour and no butter. Her aim was to teach her children that they could still have delicious meals and yummy treats that use healthy ingredients that are high in fibre, low in sugars and fats and don't have lots of preservatives, additives and artificial flavours and colours.
There is a growing realisation that if we want kids to eat healthily, one of the most successful strategies is to have them involved in the preparation of their food and this book is a perfect starting point.
Starting with a pantry list of staples and cooking tips, each recipe is set out in the traditional format with clear, easy to read instructions, perfect for the budding cook, and accompanied by a clear, enticing photograph. There are recipes for things like tuna wrap rolls, hamburgers, vegetable fritters, mango sorbet, strawberry cupcakes, even a birthday cake. Each looks delicious and each easy enough for even a young child to create with some supervision! There's even a sample .
There is scope for a huge range of activities using this book as a focus from looking at nutrition and diet, investigating seasonal foods, understanding 'food miles', following procedures and so on. It's also a way to reach out to parents and taking your library into the community. I'm envisaging a display of fresh fruits and veges and so forth, some photos from the book and a sign, 'You can make these with these!' Maybe if your school has a kitchen garden some of the ingredients could be home-grown, or the products part of the school's canteen menu.
Miss 9 and Mr 7 saw this on my to-review pile at Christmas time and immediately claimed it for their own! Don't expect it to stay on your shelves for long stretches!
Barbara Braxton