Thank you to those that watched my daughter, Hannah’s video debut where she showed her viewers how to make the Tropical Fruit Smoothie recipe on page 30 of The Magic Kitchen Cookbook by Disney in my last blog post, Empowering Kids in the Kitchen. Hannah’s confidence started by taking on the project of leading a recipe instruction, it continued by her mother (me!) encouraging her along the way and it was followed up by all the wonderful comments and positive feedback for Hannah on Facebook, Twitter and on the blog itself. She read them all and it thrilled her. I am observing her interest in cooking and baking go up as a result of the experience. Thank you for being part of building Hannah’s confidence with food! Let it be a reminder to empower all the children in your life to have fun with food.
Now, the book review. The cookbook was actually published in 2007 so many of you may already have this in your library. Our family received the cookbook this past Christmas so it is new to us. I have to say, Disney sure has taken on a big responsibility when using their characters to talk food and nutrition. We all know firsthand how much power Disney characters have in our young one’s lives! If yielded the wrong way, even this mother could raise her “Mama” tail feathers. But I was pleasantly surprised that Disney has seemed to rise up to the balanced nutrition message through this cookbook, through their new line of food products and even in improving the food quality at their theme parks (although I do believe there is more work to do there). In this cookbook in particular, they seemed to cover a lot of the aspects of cooking, baking and working with food. From kitchen basics, culinary lingo, food safety to the fundamentals of nutrition concepts – this cookbook covers it before the first recipe. I absolutely loved that they used The Incredibles to discuss energize and exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle (see our family at Disneyworld posing with The Incredibles in the post, Top 5 Nutrition Tips for Family Vacationing). In the superior Disney fashion, the pictures are very vibrant and the characters are nicely displayed throughout the pages to get your child’s attention. There are wonderful “Food Facts” to teach basic nutrition knowledge and also “Get Moving” suggestions to help keep kids active all throughout the recipes. The book is hardbound and has a fabulous binder spine so it is really easy to keep the cookbook open to any given page.
Now, the most important part – the quality of the recipes. The recipes are good and fairly easy to make. They all are nutrient-rich with emphasis on low-fat, (mostly) whole grain carbohydrates and minimally processed ingredients. There are more “treat” recipes like the Play-Time Peanut Butter Treat recipe on page 98, but even still, they use lower fat ingredients without added sugars. I was impressed by the food variety and the creative ways in which they were presented, which is important for food acceptance.
The last couple pages of the book contains a Get Moving and Fruits and Veggies Log to encourage all family members to keep up both efforts. Overall, I love the cookbook and recommend it to others. I look forward to many more “Mommy & Me” experiences with this book with both of my children. If you get the book, I do encourage you to use the items in the book to educate your children along the way. They might actually listen to you more when you tell them that their favorite Disney character tells them what you say is indeed true!