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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Handstand Kids, Italian Cookbook

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Handstand Kids, Italian Cookbook

Story by Yvette Garfield

Yvette Garfield’s Italian cookbook for kids is a wonderful educational tool for children to learn how to cook traditional Italian cuisine. Each recipe has a catchy title to bring the dish to life, such as “Mamma Mia Minestrone” or “The Leaning Tower of Eggplant.” She even takes a traditional kid favorite (Mac and Cheese) and twists it into a yummy Italian meal with her “Maccheroni e Formaggio.”

The recipes utilize 1-4 garlic cloves to designate the level of difficulty and need for adult supervision. She cultivates children’s healthy eating habits by suggesting healthier modifications for each dish. Some examples include switching out ground beef for ground turkey to reduce saturated fat and using salad as a pizza topping to sneak in extra greens. Each main dish is packed with vegetables to encourage healthy eating.

This creative cookbook provides children both cultural and culinary education. As the children prepare each culturally delicious meal, the reader can follow the recipes, learn about the culture and cook along with them. The book even comes with its own apron to get kids excited about cooking.

After Reading This Book:

  • Ask your kids what their favorite recipes are and why.
  • Choose a recipe with your kids to cook together and visit the supermarket together to buy the ingredients.
  • While cooking, use only the Italian names for each ingredient.
  • Have your kids help you prepare the meal.

Teacher’s Tip: Incorporate this book into a 4-6th grade lesson plan

  • Incorporate different cultures into the lesson plan by asking each child to talk about their culture and how their culture affects their family’s food choices during a traditional dinner or holiday meals.
  • If you have access to a kitchen, read the book to the class, pick a recipe, and assign ingredients for students to bring back to class and prepare together.
  • At the beginning of the book, there are pages filled with pictures of different foods written in English and Italian. Try to have the children use the Italian words when talking about their favorite foods.

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About the Author

Picture of Brooke Horn Dekofsky, MPH, RD, CDE, CLE

Brooke Horn Dekofsky, MPH, RD, CDE, CLE

Brooke is a registered dietitian who holds a Master's Degree in Public Health Nutrition and is certified in Diabetic and Lactation Education. She works in the Los Angeles area, specializing in weight loss, treatment for eating disorders, and chronic disease management.

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