One Handed Cooks book review – top 5 reasons why I love this book!

Good morning! Well you already know my readers that I am a fan of the One Handed Cooks blog and when a little birdie told me last year that they were writing a book I had to get my hands on this hot number! Well it’s now published and on the top 3 best sellers on booktopia for the month of August! Does it live up to expectations?

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Definitely! Here are my top 5 reasons why I love this book.

REASON 1 – it’s not “just another cookbook”…it’s a practical feeding book with yummy recipes

The chapters are not like any normal recipe book, it’s based on the feeding stages that you as a parent will go through. It starts with the basics of starting solids with tips on spoon feeding, positioning and how much to feed children. The book then moves on to stages that all parents find themselves in – how to offer variety in food, how to deal with meal refusal and how to schedule meals and snacks. It’s like the 101 of feeding your child. Love it!

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REASON 2 – it gives families ideas on how to cook the one meal and adapt it so it works for all the members in their family – adults and children alike

Every chapter starts with a feeding topic summary and then includes the most delicious child friendly (but still adult tasty) recipes. But here is why this is reason 2 – this book teaches you to adapt a meal to a baby, toddler and a family. It reminds you as parents that you don’t need to make a separate meal for your baby, just adapt what you are eating. I love their early finger food ideas – as a Speech Pathologist, I’m a big advocate for offering children finger food options to help with self-feeding and developing chewing skills.

Their tips are practical and easy and most of all, the book is covered with clear bright food pictures – which always helps sleep deprived and time poor parents (and Amen to that!).

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REASON 3 – it presents consistent up to date and evidence based feeding advice

The advice in this book is based on common sense and research. The ladies from the One Handed Cook team cite research from Occupational therapists, Clinical Psychologists and Speech pathologists. So as a Speech Pathologist myself, this appeals to me. When helping families, we need to work together and be consistent in our advice. And these girls do exactly that in their book, I have met Jessica Beaton, Paediatric Dietitian at some of these feeding conferences and she has obviously taken tips and advice from feeding gurus in the field and put them in a parent friendly format for you. I absolutely love their step by step ideas for creating a mealtime ritual for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and school aged children. Super clear and practical!

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Buckwheat and spelt pancakes for Father’s day breakfast – recipe on page 154

REASON 4 – It acknowledges “sometimes” food

Here is the thing – when your babies are young you can keep them away from all the sugar and junk of party food but as they get older, they are going to want this. The OHC book talks about a healthy balance and most importantly emphasises not to put guilt and judgement on “sometimes” food. I’m a healthy food focused mum but I always know that giving my children a balance will ensure that they don’t gorge the “sometimes” food every time they see it. This healthy balance means that now my boys will eat their “sometimes” food (such as ice cream) and then walk away (leaving a half-eaten bowl) because they are full. They don’t gorge themselves because they know they will be offered it again and therefore there is no need for overindulging. This is important to me so yes as they get older, you find more and more lollies and chocolate at our parties but they have a healthy relationship with their “sometimes” food so I know they will be fine. The OHC discuss how to have this discussion with your child in their book.

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And yes I agree; having healthier versions of party food also helps keep little bellies full for longer and adults like eating them too! So the again the OHC team have come to the party and given you delicious party food recipes like beef and lentil sausage rolls and jam drop biscuits with healthier additions in their recipe book. With all the recipes in the book, they also include allergy and intolerance changes which make their recipes perfect for all.

REASON 5 – This book isn’t just for your children; it includes you and your relationship around food as well.

This is my favourite sentence in the book – “your child’s relationship with food is influenced by your own feelings and attitude towards eating”. The last chapter talks about food as a family unit – the importance of eating together, the importance of role modelling and finally – setting clear messages.

I will tell you a little secret – last year, I started one of those weight loss milkshake programs – I lasted 4 days and gave up. Why? It went against everything I stood for with food – I was drinking chocolate/vanilla milkshakes for breakfast and lunch and my children were eating real food at the family table. My actions around food were not matching my words or beliefs and it was those mixed messages around real food and healthy eating (and healthy weight and body image views) that resulted in me drawing the line in the sand and stopping my milkshake diet program – 4 days – well at least I got my money back! Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a breakfast smoothie on days when I’m late to work but it’s a quick healthy option the kids can enjoy too, and fits better with my ideas around setting clear messages – healthy and tasty smoothies we can all enjoy together.

This last chapter touches on the “touchy” food topic and can I ask that you sit quietly in your room when you get to this chapter and ask yourselves the questions the OHC team poses – how is your relationship with food? and how is it influencing your child? Every parent want their children to grow up with a positive relationship around food and eating – but remember that you are their role model – right from the day they are born. It’s a big chapter but an important one.

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Jolly good lunchbox biscuits that my kids really enjoyed this weekend – recipe on page 189 of the book.

Phew – I squeezed it into 5 reasons, but I’m going to be cheeky (and add reason 6) by telling all the school aged mums that there are recipes for lunchboxes and after school snacks here too – I’m always struggling with ideas on what to put into my son’s lunchbox and can’t wait to try their recipes this week. I’m sure Mr 7 is going to love them!

So BUY A COPY for you – your sister, best friend and any mum expecting a baby – this book will help with new mums with babies starting solids, mums struggling with fussy eating kids, mums struggling to get their kids to the family table and mums who just need some ideas to get them out of their cooking slump (please insert ‘dad’ into all of the previous sentences as well!) I know I will be buying a copy for my friends today and if you hurry, you can get their 30% discount on the booktopia website.

Until next time,

Happy mealtimes


In the interest of being upfront, know that this book was gifted to me but only because I approached the OHC girls with the intent of buying it from them. I have worked with the OHC team in the past with their magazine editions and they very kindly sent me their book as thanks. Thank you Allie, Jess and Sarah, I absolutely love your work – you have done an amazing job with your new book, thank you for my copy xox

Paediatric Feeding Speech Pathologist @ Let’s Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology

This website and information on this blog post is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant or intended to replace Speech Pathology assessment and management nor medical or nutritional care for a child. It is recommended that you discuss any concerns or questions you might have with your Speech Pathologist and managing Doctor and develop an individualised team plan specifically for your child.

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About the author of this blog post

Valerie Gent is an Australian based Speech Pathologist with 13 years experience in Paediatric Feeding. She has recently opened a private practice called ‘Let’s Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology’ that caters for Newcastle based babies and children with feeding difficulties. Valerie is passionate about working in the area of paediatric feeding and special needs and has been involved in the teaching and training of Australian Speech Pathology University students and allied health professionals. You can find out more about Valerie Gent and ‘Let’s Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology’ via her website and Facebook page SpeechPathology or email her on