‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’

I just read a very interesting article on how the children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle can be an excellent way to help children learn how to eat healthier and the consequences of eating unhealthily.

Here’s a recap of the story in case you have forgotten: From the moment the caterpillar pops out of his egg in the warm sun, he is propelled by his hunger to look for food. Between Monday and Friday, he eats his way through a great deal of fruit. But on Saturday, he is really hungry, and he eats through a piece of chocolate cake, an ice cream cone, a pickle, a slice of Swiss cheese, some salami, a lollipop, a piece of cherry pie, one sausage, a cupcake, and a slice of watermelon. Following his intake of food from Saturday, he ends up with a stomach ache which resulted the caterpillar to eat one nice green leaf on Sunday to make him feel much better.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has decided that parents can point out a few important messages about healthy eating through this book. Starting last March, more than 17,500 pediatrician’s offices received free copies of this book with CDC growth charts along with a reading guide to help parents use the story to help their young children understand the importance of eating healthier.

Children can view that the caterpillar is consuming very healthy fruits during the week, and can even suggest more for him to eat. I believe this is one very effective way to get younger children involved in healthier eating and realize the importance behind it as well.

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5 thoughts on “‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’

  1. This is a great way to get kids involved. While visiting my friend in France a few years ago, she told me they were having an obesity epidemic (of 10%, which is nothing compared to the US!). What the schools there are doing is teaching kids healthy habits, with the idea that they will go home and share/teach their parents. I think it is an interesting approach.

    • Anna, I also agree with you that having children learning healthy eating habits at a young age is an excellent way for them to develop healthier habits later on in life. I think it makes children excited to learn healthy topics and share them with their friends and family. I appreciate your comment!

  2. I’m glad you take a more positive approach to this children’s book. I’ve read articles about critiques and parents criticizing the story because it shows how much bad food the caterpillar ate. I, too, believe that wonderful teaching can come from the story!

  3. How could I help but LOVE LOVE LOVE this post, when Vinny’s book has 6 stories that are meant to act as bridges to healthy eating discussions among the family. It’s aimed at kids 8-12 (a little older, because Vinny also wants to encourage them to start cooking). There’s a give away on now for a free copy of Vinny’s book in exchange for a published review. You can check out the details on my site, if you’re interested? 🙂 – http://cookupastory.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/win-a-free-copy-of-cook-up-a-story/

  4. Very interesting. My girls and I love “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and I’ve never looked at it at from a healthy/unhealthy point of view until I read your article and other comments. I see it as the the caterpillar eating loads of gorgeous fruits (everyday foods) during the week and then on the Saturday he nibbles though some ‘occasional’ foods (like a child would do if they were going to a party). Then he ends up with a stomach ache from eating too much ‘party’ food. Plus with all the counting, bright colours and life cycle information, this book is full of things to learn and have fun with.

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