In the News: Eat This, Not That for Kids

By , SparkPeople Blogger
As a follow-up to the best-selling "Eat This, Not That," Men's Health editor David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding are back with sequel to help your kids make better choices. "Eat This, Not That for Kids" is out today.

The book, the cover of which is emblazoned with perhaps the two most popular kid foods ever--Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Spaghetti-O's (the better choice, it seems), is full of great info for parents. As it turns out, the kids menu is no longer a refuge for those seeking lower calories and smaller portions. Plenty of entrées for kids top 500 calories, and the fat and sodium contents are sky-high.

In addition to the book, Men's Health Web site offers restaurant report cards for all the big fast food and casual dining chains.

Applebee's, Olive Garden, IHOP, and Red Lobster are among those eateries that get an F—mostly because they provide little to no nutritional info to consumers. On the flip side, Wendy's gets an A-; McDonald's, KFC, Arby's and Panera Bread get a B; and Denny's gets a B-. I found only Chik-fil-A got an A. (Thanks, readers!)

Find out more about the book here, and see what the experts are saying.

How does your family's favorite restaurant weigh in? Will you dine elsewhere next time? Do you check out the menus and nutritional info online before you dig in?

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Don't judge the book by its cover. Many of the comparisons in these books do boil down to the lesser of two evils, but there are some hidden treasures too. I love these books! My husband and I have the entire library and we were fascinated with what we discovered about seemingly healthy foods we always buy (or used to buy!) They are loaded with lots of helpful info about all sorts of foods, including a section called Eat the Rainbow. There are restaurant and vending machine guides, as well as breakdowns of meals we might serve at home. At least visit Borders or B&N and give it a browse...... Report
Very interesting. I want to check it out. Report
I've heard of the 'adult' book, but haven't really checked it out. Now I'll have to take a look at BOTH of them! Thanks for some great info! Report
I am ordering this for my son & grandchildren... although he likes to cook they eat out alot and this book will help them make better choices. ~Debi Report
i just bought this book and it is awesome!!! Report
I skimmed through these books at the store but wasn't sure if they were really worth buying. Some of the info is surprising though. For example, the fact that regular bacon is actually better than turkey bacon was such a shock I had to check it out for myself. I compared both kinds of the same brand and discovered all they do is change the serving sizes. Turkey bacon is one slice per serving, regular is 2, so if you double the turkey bacon info it is NOT any better and has more sodium.

About the restaurants, I think they were being rated for the quality and quantity of nutrion info they provide. And Chick-fil-a is AWESOME as far as that goes. And I can verify that Olive Garden is pretty bad. They have some info on their website, but no protein or fiber info. They claim you can email them to get other info, but when I did they just sent me an email back stating they don't have that information at this time. Report
I love this book. The main reason being that it got me really thinking about what I was allowing my children to eat and it got me looking at nutritional labels more. I am making healthier choices for my children just from reading the book. I don't allow certain things for my girls (HFCS, MSG, etc) so even some of the 'healthier' things in the book aren't a fit for my pantry, but like I said, it got me reading labels more. Report
I think with Our children the most important factor is portion.. If they can get that down then they will grow knowing their boundaries.. Its not what not to it so much as it is how much.. I have a 5 year old type 1 diabetic and he knows portion really helps control his appetite .. Report
I like the "Eat this, not That" series. It is an exceptionally helpful book especially at the supermarket...however you do need to take the authors suggestions with a grain of salt sometimes.

Often foods end up on the "Not That" side for only a couple of grams of sodium difference in comparison to its compeditor on the "Eat This" side. Besides that the nutritional value is really not that different.

As a handy thumb guide to an overall lifestyle change this book series is a good one, but as to the claim on the cover ("No diet way to a slimmer you!") I don't know if I would go that far. Report
I have this book, and think that it's helpful for the most part.

However, most kids are picky, at least to some degree, and there are several items that they suggest in the book that I know that my picky step daughter would never eat in a million years. Some of them I wouldn't even eat! But, like I said, overall I think it is helpful. Report
I Think People Forget what these books are about. They are not claiming that a BK Burger is a healthy food :) The point I think is more aimed to people who already DO make their kids mac and cheese, and let them eat whatever burger or fried chicken they like on the menu, etc. It's just saying 'Hey, if you are going to eat fast food anyway, go for this instead of this, you'll at least save some calories and fat' to that end, it's a good thing, just to make you aware of what IS in the food :)

and about spagheti o' really is pretty decent as far as 'fast home food' goes, it's got some nutrients and is a ton healthier than mac and cheese, or even chef boyardee, etc. It is no where near as healthy as making your own whole wheat pasta and sauce, of course not, but not everyone will cook like that :) So lesser of the evils is a good thing lol. Report
I have the kids one even though I have no kids, just to carry with me in case I had to eat out somewhere. I will probably buy the adult version and now they have a supermarket foods one which could be handy. I will always carry the Calorie King nutritional handbooks with me though. Report
The two food choices on the cover turns me off. It's not only fast food establishments and foods we feed our children at home that should concern us. We really need to check out what kids eat at school. Some schools lunches are catered by companies who run hotels and fast food chains. And who knows what ingredients school cooks are putting in lunches. My daughter wrote this last year when she was 11. It goes to show, kids do care about what they eat and they are concerned.


"Woke up in the morning.
Put on my new plastic glove.
Served some re-heated salsbury steak
With a little slice of love.
Got no clue what the chicken pot pie
Is made of.
Just know everything's doing fine
Down here in Lunch Lady Land."

We started getting alerts about unsafe foods last year. One of them is about fast food strawberry milkshakes, my favorite treat. I was surprised that it had bad chemicals like is in paint thinner and other things. I was also surprised that it had no milk or strawberries. What replaced them was sugar, sweet whey, high-fructose corn syrup, guar gum, monoglycerides and diglycerides, cellulose gum, sodium phosphate, carrageenan, citric acid, E129 and artificial strawberry flavor.

And what does that "artificial strawberry flavour" contain?
Just these few yummy chemicals: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphrenyl- 2-butanone (10% solution in alcohol), ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, undecalactone, vanillin and solvent. Isn't that gross?! :(

In America, one of the richest countries in the world and the one that spends the most on health care,
a baby born in the United States will live an average of 77.9 years. That life expectancy ranks 42nd, down from 11th twenty years.

For the first time in history, children will live shorter lives than their parents.

October is the the month of The Two Angry Moms National School Lunch-In. It will be held at the same time as the School Nutrition Association's (SNA) annual National School Lunch Month. It follows the USDA guideline suggesting "that every parent should go to school and have lunch
with their child."
The Two Angry Moms web site says:
While you're there read more than the menu.
• Ask to see a list of ingredients for every item in the cafeteria.
• Read labels, check out what's in the vending machines.
• Don't be fooled by health claims and "low calorie" branding. How
much of the food being served is real food and how much of it
includes flavorings, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, binders and
unpronounceable ingredients?
• Find out from your child if this is normal fare or if the school is
sprucing things up to make a good impression for your visit.
Ask yourself:
1. Are the foods aglow with colors not found in nature?
If a product is day-glo blue or a similar psychedelic hue, it probably originated in a chemistry lab,
not on a farm.
2. Does it smell like a bad Chinese restaurant? A cafeteria should smell like Grandma’s kitchen on a holiday, not like a fast food chain. Deep fryers have no place in a school cafeteria. End of discussion.
3. Could you have accidentally taken a wrong turn and ended up at a professional
sports arena? School is not a once-a-year outing to a big league sporting event. Your
child doesn’t need to choose among hot dogs, burgers, pizza and nachos every day.
Only one of those items should be available at a time, and not more than once or twice a
month for each.
4. If you melt down the cans from which the food came, will you have enough metal
to build a small submarine? Food doesn’t grow in cans, and shouldn’t be served from
them.Fruits and vegetables should be fresh and, whenever possible, local and
5. Is the chicken masquerading as a dinosaur? Chickens don’t grow in the shape of dinosaurs, hearts or stars. If it's in cute little shapes it could have cheap soy and vegetable fillers, not to mention chemical preservatives, transfats and high fructose corn syrup.
6. Are you sure you’re not in the library? You shouldn't have to be a chemist to understand the ingredients. The longer it takes to read the ingredients the less likely its real food.
7. Do the snack foods for sale remind you of your favorite Super Bowl commercials? Kids eat enough junk food and artificially sweetened and flavored drinks during the week. Schools shouldn’t be tempting kids to spend their lunch money on those items every day in the cafeteria. Fresh fruit and vegetables make perfectly good snacks.
8. Would you be able to see the bread in a blizzard? White is the preferred color
for snow, but not such a great color for bread. Beware, too, of the spongy brown stuff that’s
been colored with molasses and filled with high fructose corn syrup. Bread should be
various shades of tan, and come in different shapes and sizes, with chewy, flavorful
crusts and visible whole grains and seeds.
9. Are colorful toucans and leprechauns running for student body president? Real
food doesn’t come tattooed with cartoon characters. When adorably animated
personalities are promoting products the way pushers peddle drugs, the food industry is
misusing its first amendment rights by exploiting your child.
10. Are the beverages the kind favored by long distance truck drivers, night watchmen and stock exchange floor traders? Kids don’t need a caffeine-induced jolt, boost or buzz to get through their day. They need balanced meals made with fresh, whole foods. Caffeine is addictive. Canned and bottled beverages, coffee and teas should all be caffeine-free. ( )

"Now, all the angry foods
Just leave me alone
And we all live together
In a happy home
Thanks to
Sloppy joe.
Slop, sloppy joe." Lunch Lady Land by Adam Sandler
I do have to give some credit to Burger King, for offering the “apple fries”.
My step-daughter, who loves fast food, almost always picks the apple fries over french fries. We will put the caramel sauce on for her, and she never notices when we use only half the caramel in the package. If only more fast food places, and restaurants, would follow that lead and give healthy options to kids…and then if more parents would help their children make the good choices.
I eat out very seldom, so wouldn't invest in the adult version, especially since much of it doesn't apply to Canada.
I do like the Wendy's Chicken Mandarin salad - I add lots of lettuce, divide the salad into 2 meals, and therefore don't feel so badly about eating the WONDERFUL dressing (can't find a comparable product on the shelf).
For JWright211, please don't put your daughter on a 'diet'. If anything, change the eating habits of the whole family and she will eat what everyone else in the family eats. And increase her exercise. Make it a special treat to do something active with Mom or Dad or grandparents. Enroll her in a 'movement and music' class at your local recreation centre or city recreation program. Have her learn to skate, or learn soccer or some other activity at this young age, before the sports start to divide into competitive and non-competitive.
Children, especially girls, can be very cruel to someone who doesn't match the 'thin is in' standard, even at a young age. Please ensure that she has a healthy self-esteem about other parts of her life.
Good luck to all of you! Report
I haven't seen the book - but have seen this on talk shows - perhaps the author is the guest... Anyway, it is totally - which is the lesser of 2 evils. So eat this over that - not truly "eat this". Much healthier would be to have a homemade healthy balanced, non-processed meal. Report
it's a gift and a curse because kids will inevitably eat out at fast-food places, so at least they can choose wisely (or a LITTLE healthier), but that still doesn't make some of the alternatives HEALTHY in the first place. Report
The whole idea that Americans even need a book like this is crazy! Report
I would love to say that I only give my children whole food, but that's not true. Since I've decided to get healthier, we've definitely eaten out less and I spend more time cooking healthy nutritious meals for my family. That being said, I do have days when a home cooked meal is just not going to happen for us. On those days, I would love to have a book like this that helps me make the best possible choices for my family. Report
This is the first I've heard of this book. I'll have to look into purchasing the one for adults. Many times when I go out to eat I ask if I can get the lunch portion (usually smaller and cheaper) for dinner. I eat like a bird (so my family says) and eat several small meals a day. This is perfect for me. Report
I have the adult version of this and LOVE it. I took it to work and we consult it before going out for lunch. I've used it on dates with my husband and have found some very healthy choices that I may not have otherwise tried. I think I may get the kids version even though we don't have kids yet, just because my husband tends to eat a lot of kid food! Report
I bought the one for adults and LOVE it! Report
When we were growing up and attending school, we actually had cooks in the schools making healthy meals and we also had recess to get the exercise needed to spark energy into our routine. Some where between my school years and my childrens school years, someone got the "so called" great idea to cut out the cooks and the recess time and brought in "fast food", which consisted mostly fried foods and pizza. It's no wonder our children of today are over weight!
I've checked out both of the books, I did find it interesting. I liked being able to compare food choices and being able to pick which is the healthier choice of different foods. It would be nice though if it had a bit more Canadian content, alot of the resturants listed are not in Canada. Report
hey shmoopygirl, i totally agree with you... you rock!!
I would never buy a book that recommends my child eat spaghettios. That is not food. In the same amount of time, I can cook up some whole grain angel hair pasta, top it with a marinara sauce that only contains vegetables and herbs, sprinkle a little fresh parm, and viola! Dinner is served! Real food is so important for growing bodies. Garbage in = garbage out. Report
I know that in the pediatric world, we try not to make kids "diet". Usually we encourage more movement, more good foods, healthy snacks and letting them grow into their weight. They really need food as they are growing so cutting their calories may not be the best choice. I would encourage more healthy eating. Report
Also, I love the fact that the front cover of this book shows that kids SHOULD eat spaghettios which are full of high fructose corn syrup. the mac and cheese is chemical food too but at least it doesn't have HFCS. Report
Just picked up this book at the library last night. I've read the adult version but didn't really find it all that helpful since it listed lots of restaurants that we either don't have around here or that we don't frequent. Also, just a warning for those who might think of going to Chik-fil-A. If you or someone in your family is peanut sensitive you don't want to go there. CFA uses peanut oil for all their frying.
This is really helpfull. I would like more information on an adult version. Report
I think a book like this is a great tool, but certainly not the final word. It can help us make a more informed choice when we are already in a place of deciding between KFC & Taco Bell, Dennys & Applebees, or whatever. In my life those moments happen much more often than I wish and I try to make a good choice but more info to be sure is a good thing. Report
the adult version of this book has been my bible... i have really used it constantly and in fact, my dr has ordered several copies for his office!! I can't wait to get the one for the kids and share it with my grandkids. Awareness is the key and making wise choices while dining out is the key to healthy living and still enjoying food!! Report
wow that is amazing when you actually look at the grades of diff. eateries Report
the thing people seem to forget this blog is met for kids nutrition and that is why applebees got an F. the weight watchers recipes are great for adults but maybe not for some kids. And just because some kids get kind of sick doesnt mean all kids get sick from these establishments. you also have to remember that there are healthier choices now at mcdonalds that you can pick for your kids like apples, and milk, and side salads are also great for kids. you dont have to buy burgers, fries, sodas. buy them the healthier options. Report
I have found the online (adult version) of this book to be very helpful.

For those scratching their heads at why Wendy's gets an A-, if you actually take a look at restaurant nutritional info, you will find that fast food (McDonalds, Wendy's, Subway, et al) is now about the healthiest eating-out option left. Places like Outback, Red Lobster, Macaroni Grill, etc. are outrageously worse than anything you could get on a fast food menu, with very few exceptions. Even the stuff dine-in restaurants market as healthy is decidedly not. Worse, many of these restaurants conceal nutritional info or provide inaccurate info. I can't wait until the New York City law is extended requiring all restaurants to list calorie and fat content on every single menu item. Report
WOW!! I am gonna get this book. I am always trying to get my kids to eat better, even when we eat out. This will be a good tool for me to direct them with. Report
McDonald's - a chain that lures children into a fastfood environment through playlands (a subversive and manipulative strategy) - gets a B? I am equally as shocked by KFC, whose meals are dripping in deep-fry. Trans-fat free or not, it's still deep-fry. My children have only eaten once at each of these establishments and both times, they had diarrhea. When a child's body is rejecting the food not long after consuming it, that does not seem clear rationale for a B. What are our standards?? Report
I cant believe applebees gets an F ! I think they do a good job with their info, they do have the weight watchers items that have the points and calories right on the menu (saw them yesterday). And, when they dont have the calories posted I dont have to hard a time finding their info. Just wanted to stick up for Applebees. Report
I am going to check these books out. But, I did want to say that I looked at the resturant report card and I found an A rating for Chik- Fil-A. I don't know about any others yet but I just thought I'd mention it. Report
What a great idea. I previewed the book and am definately going to order it for my 18 year old son. Report
To be brutally honest, just the cover of the book has me a little worried. Neither choice on the cover is an acceptable option to me. And then looking at the restaurant scores, I'm wondering if this isn't just a vote in the direction of big business and getting more sales for highly rated companies, but I could be wrong. First I'd have to see the book. Report
I wonder if this is written for kids, or teens and not parents. I would be a nice tool to be able to give it to older kids and teens and let them discover it and use it to make their own choices and not impose them as parents. Report
I am happy to see that they are looking at the labels on foods for kids. They eat all the wrong things and it is showing in their weight. The schools have not been serving the best until just recently. They were allowed to eat more junk food than good nutrition Report
I am happy to see that they are looking at the labels on foods for kids. They eat all the wrong things and it is showing in their weight. The schools have not been serving the best until just recently. They were allowed to eat more junk food than good nutrition Report
I have learned to teach my kids, who are 10 and 13, that certain foods aren't necessarily healthy and I point things out like after they eat a Happy meal they are usually hungry within 30 minutes. So I may take them to go eat a Salad and a half of a Panini and they usually stay fuller longer. Report
I need to check this book out. I have a 18 month old and I wonder what the book has to say. I have the one for eating out so... I am very curious. Report
I have been getting e-mails from this guy, and I like the idea of finding healthier choices when you eat out, but some of the recommendations in the book, while better aren't really all that great.

But your mileage may vary... Report

AMIE Report
JWRIGHT211, how much physical exercise is she getting? Also, at 6, it may be a developmental thing. It's possible the doctor is giving it a little time to see if it's a pre-growth spurt type of overweight. If in doubt, ask. Remember, the doctor is often in the position of walking a fine line between helping them keep their weight down and inadvertently making them obsess over it. Report
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