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Eat This, Not That for Kids

Eat This, Not That for Kids: What It Is

Eat This, Not That for Kids is not a diet book, but a wake-up call to parents to start feeding their kids healthier foods. After the wildly popular Eat This, Not That book, aimed at helping adults make smarter food choices, authors David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding followed with this sequel.

One of the book's most shocking revelations is just how much fat, calories, sodium, and sugar are lurking in many favorite kids' dishes. Did you know, for example, that the average kid's meal at Outback Steakhouse has 93 grams of fat, or that the healthy-sounding turkey minis and fries kids' meal at Ruby Tuesday’s has 893 calories and 47 grams of fat?

Editor's Note: Food Pyramid Replaced

In June 2011, the USDA replaced the food pyramid with a new plate icon.

The basic idea behind Eat This, Not That for Kids is that by making simple substitutions for their children's favorite foods, parents can improve their kids' diets. For example:

  • Instead of a Cosi’s Kids pepperoni pizza (911 calories and 43 grams of fat), choose two slices of Papa John’s pepperoni pizza (440 calories) or a grilled cheese sandwich (357 calories).
  • Instead of McDonald's Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips (400 calories, 23 grams fat), order their 8-piece Chicken McNuggets with Apple Dippers and caramel dip (355 calories, 15.5 g fat).
  • Instead of Krispy Kreme's Powdered Cake Donut (290 calories, 14 g fat), opt for four Original Glazed donut holes (200 calories, 11 g fat).
  • Instead of 16 Wheat Thins (140 calories, 6 g fat), give your kids 6 Triscuits (120 calories, 4.5 g. fat).

Eat This, Not That for Kids: How It Works

The heart of Eat This, Not That for Kids is the comparisons for foods commonly found in restaurants, at the grocery store, vending machine, and school cafeteria. Foods on the left side of the page (the "Eat This" side) are recommended over similar foods on the right side (the "Not That" side).

But don’t be misled into thinking that all foods labeled "Not That" should be avoided, or that all the foods on the "Eat This" side are the best choices. The recommendations are often based on what might be called the lesser of two evils. At first glance, this can be confusing -- especially when you see healthy foods like Horizon organic fat-free vanilla yogurt on the "Not That" side of the page.

"We tried to compare apples to apples, so not everything on the 'Eat This' side is meant to beat out everything on the 'Not That' side. So, for example, in the yogurt section, our comparisons are for like yogurts, so we chose the best and worst example of strawberry yogurts," explains co-author Goulding, a former chef and a Men’s Health health and nutrition editor.

In the section on sauces, for example, Classico roasted red pepper Alfredo sauce (120 calories and 10 g fat per 1/2 cup portion) is among the choices on the "Eat This" side; Ragu Light Parmesan Alfredo (280 calories, 20 g fat) is among those on the "Not That" side. Although one sauce is better than the other, neither of these two would likely be recommended by most nutrition professionals.

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