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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

EAT THIS! NOT THAT! for Kids! by David Zinczenko. Rodale, HB Fenn, 2008. $21.95 ages 12 and up

"One of the biggest mistakes we make when we think about 'watching our weight' is to assume that our first goal is to eat less. In fact, what we really need to concentrate on is eating more - not more food or calories, but more nutrients. Because while our consumption of calories is way up, our consumption of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and fiber, is actually down. That's right. We're eating more food, but we're eating less nutrition."

The author then goes on to give us 8 simple rules that give our kids a chance to expand their palette and improve their present and future health:

1. Never skip breakfast. Ever.
2. Snack with purpose.
3. Beware of portion distortion.
4. Drink responsibly.
5 Eat more whole foods and fewer science experiments.
6. Set the table.
7. Kick the sugar habit.
8. Eat the rainbow.

Pretty easy, but it takes some relearning. This book is filled with powerful information and scary, too. Yes, it is written by an American with American statistics; but we cannot poopoo the advice given as we are not doing so well ourselves in Canada. Note the rise in childhood obesity in the past twenty didn't just happen. There are many reasons and David Zinczenko discusses them. Then, he goes on to look at the foods that we order and consume in restaurants and from grocery stores. His suggestions are based on nutrition and calorie counts and he shares some astounding facts about those comparisons. ('The Baskin Robbins Heath Shake has 73 ingredients - and, by the way, a whopping 3,210 calories and more than three days' worth of saturated fat!')

Once he looks at restaurants (many we have in Canada), and helps us make healthier choices when we are eating out, he continues with a menu decoder that helps each of choose more healthy options. When he's done with that, he leads us to the grocery store and provides tips on all those foods that so entice us. Three of the best pieces of advice for me were to stick to the edge where most of the 'real' food is, buy fruits frozen if they are not in season, and snack BEFORE shopping. You know what happens when you stop to pick up something on your way home from are tired, hungry and not inclined to spend the time needed to make the best choices.

Finally, he gives his readers ideas for family and holiday meals, a candy scorecard, suggestions for nutrition filled smoothies, and encouragement to make fitness a part of your child's life. There is much to think about, and many changes that are pretty easy to make!

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