Making healthy foods fun with ‘Eat to Roar’
May 2017…It can often seem like an uphill battle to convince kids that healthy food can be tasty too. For children’s author Gloria Barone Rosanio, half of the husband and wife team who recently visited two elementary schools in the Healthy NewsWorks network, the solution was Eat to Roar, a dinosaur-centered cookbook.
“I honestly don’t even know where I came up with this idea. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be fun to create healthy recipes for kids?” Ms. Barone Rosanio said. “It just flashed in my mind that this dinosaur could be a connoisseur.”
She and her husband recently discussed their work as an author and illustrator team with first and second graders at Whitehall and Cole Manor Elementary Schools in the Norristown Area School District. The special lessons are part of Healthy NewsWorks’ outreach initiative in schools where the student media program operates.
Ms. Barone Rosanio is a long-time author and public relations expert. Her husband, James Rosanio, is an illustrator who runs his own advertising firm called Imagicians. Together, they have written and illustrated three educational children’s books in the past few years. On Eat to Roar, the duo also collaborated with nutritionist and friend Katrina Pearse LaMalfa to write original but easy-to-make recipes.
Ms. Barone Rosanio explained that her interest in educational books for children came from her experience as a parent and grandparent and wanting her children and grandchildren to “be lifelong learners.” She said that she thinks of children’s books as a way to address and improve health literacy.
With Eat to Roar, “the fact that it’s a friendly, colorful, enjoyable book and set of characters is a way to get the healthy-eating message out without being preachy about it,” Ms. Barone Rosanio said. The idea, she said, is for families and children to make the recipes together and have healthy eating be fun for kids. The book should encourage kids to eat nutritious foods “because it’s fun, not necessarily because it’s good for them,” she said.
The title of the book is no accident either. “The name Eat to Roar was actually very deliberate,” Barone Rosanio said. “Most of this [cookbook] is plant-based and so the idea was that most of the dinosaurs grew to be that large on plants” and kids can grow up to be “big, healthy and strong on plants.”
—By Zubin Hill