COOKING UP SOME HEALTHY FUN
I mean, I’m not known as the healthiest of eaters. (My family, friends and housemates will corroborate.) Sometimes I skip meals. Sometimes—especially if I’ve skipped a meal—I stop at a drive-through for a burger. Sometimes I open a can for dinner and call it good. I have a weakness for pie and ice cream. Red wine. Dark chocolate. And I’ve never thought of vegetables as my closest friends.
I lost my father not so many years ago. Maybe my veggie books grew out of thinking about him: remembering the hours he spent in his backyard garden, his reverence for all growing things, the fresh produce he put on our table. Maybe it was the way he coaxed his children into eating the vegetables he grew: letting us play in the corn rows while he gardened, helping him harvest the lettuce and carrots and green beans, watering and weeding our very own pumpkins. Pretending the broccoli on our plate wasn’t a vegetable at all, but munchy, crunchy trees!
It wasn’t my intention that Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli should prompt picky eaters to give broccoli a go. I didn’t plan for Once Upon a Parsnip to lead kids (and their grown-ups, too) to give parsnips a chance. But both, I’m told, are true. Honestly, Once Upon a Parsnip isn’t even about parsnips—it’s just plain fun, a rhyming fairytale mash-up with no conscious agenda. (The truth is, I’d never tried a parsnip myself before I wrote this book. I just liked the word. It’s fun!)
And there’s the key: fun.
A blog dedicated to making healthy foods, healthy cooking and healthy eating fun—for all of us: kids, parents, caregivers, cooks, even Story Queens—now that I can do!
Here’s the plan:
— fun facts about fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods
— tips and activities for making healthy eating fun for kids
— healthy, kid-friendly recipes
— food art and photography (look for classic artwork plus paintings by my fabulous artist friends, including Once Upon a Parsnip illustrator, Ben Mann)
— fruit & veggie coloring pages
— children’s book reviews: think healthy food!
If you share a passion for growing happy, healthy kids, the Story Queen invites you to join her in her royal kitchen. See you here!
Barbara Jean the Story Queen
First, a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a chef. I’m not even a mom. What I know about healthy food and healthy eating I’ve learned by reading and doing, just like you.
What I am is a children’s book author. A Story Queen! My area of expertise is FUN. In the last dozen years, I’ve written a number of entertaining, award-winning picture books–about monsters, cats, Disney princesses–and veggies, of all things.
I’m big on imagination. Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli encourages kids (the way my dad encouraged my siblings and me) to think of broccoli as crunchy, munchy, fun-to-eat trees. Once Upon a Parsnip is a fairytale rematch between Little Red Riding Hood (a vegetarian) and the Big Bad Wolf (NOT a vegetarian). Scary fun!
On the surface, neither of my veggie books is really about healthy eating–they’re just plain fun. But the fun is subversive: both books introduce and normalize the idea of eating healthy, fresh-from-the-garden vegetables. (Never underestimate the power of fun to get your kids to try something new!)
My goal in these pages is to find and share fun ways to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to children and to normalize healthy foods and healthy eating in their experience. My means is to expose them–through you, their parents and caregivers–to food-friendly books, videos, downloadable and printable posters and coloring pages, hands-on activities and kid-friendly recipes. Anything that equates healthy food and FUN!
I’m here for you–to help you make healthy eating feel as natural to your children as breathing.
Because healthy food and healthy fun make healthy kids. And that’s something all of us can get behind.
Barbara Jean Hicks, a.k.a. “The Story Queen”
To purchase signed, personalized copies of my picture books, visit the “Books” page on my website. To contact me about my well regarded young author presentations for schools, or for other enquiries, send an email from the “Contact” page at barbarajeanhicks.com. I look forward to hearing from you!