VERONA, Wis. (WMTV) – When she sits down to eat with her two children, Jill Woodward tries to release the pressure.
“One of the approaches I use is to offer continuously,” Woodward said of introducing new fruits or vegetables. “It doesn’t matter if they eat it. They don’t even have to try it, but it’s always on their plate.
She says she struggled to get her eldest son Tucker to eat new foods.
“It’s always a challenge for the kids because they’re unfamiliar and a little nervous,” Woodward said.
As a dietitian, Woodward did research and found that exposing children to different foods through picture books led to greater acceptance of those foods.
“It’s more about exposure and familiarity than anything,” Woodward said. “What I found was that when I introduced this food later at the table for the first time, their acceptance, even just on their plate, increased dramatically.”
Woodward says there weren’t many books on vegetables aimed at her son’s specific interests, diggers, so she decided to write her own.
“There wasn’t a book over there on a truck talking about food,” Woodward said. “I wanted a character he would bond with immediately and want to come back to again and again.”
She says writing the book was her pandemic project. Last year, she hooked up with an illustrator and was able to self-publish the book last fall.
Woodward says her ultimate goal isn’t to profit from book sales, but to help parents connect kids to new foods on their plates.
“If this story can help parents make their children more curious about food, then I’ve succeeded,” she said.
You can find Little Digger’s Big Garden at Regal Find in Middleton and Mystery to Me Books on Monroe Street. There are also copies available through the Madison Public Library system.
It is also available for purchase via Amazon.
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