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Eat This, Not That for Kids

Eat This, Not That for Kids: What You Can Eat continued...

In their "report cards" on 43 restaurant chains, the authors generally gave points for healthy meals that had less than 500 calories, less than 20 grams of fat, and 500-800 milligrams of sodium. They deducted points when the choices were limited and unhealthy.

Only 11 chains scored a 'B' or higher, and 6 flunked for their kids' offerings. But even for the restaurants rated "F," the authors offer survival strategies that sometimes include foods from the adult menu.

Chick-fil-A earned the award for America’s healthiest chain restaurant for kids; Subway and Wendy's also got A's. Other winners included:

  • Arby's
  • Boston Market
  • Denny's
  • Jamba Juice
  • Panera Bread
  • McDonald's
  • KFC
  • Fazoli's

Chains that flunked include:

  • Applebee’s
  • IHOP
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Olive Garden
  • Red Lobster
  • TGI Friday’s

Eat This, Not That for Kids: What the Experts Say

Elizabeth Ward, RD, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Feeding Your Baby and Toddler, applauds Eat This, Not That for Kids for providing solid nutrition information, including the shocking nutritional statistics for some kids' foods.

"I wish we didn’t need a book like this," she says, noting that if you need to carry around a book to figure out which meals to choose, chances are you're eating too many fast food meals.

"It’s a snapshot of what most kids are eating, and while not exhaustive, parents can use the nutrition facts to learn more about the nutritional goodness of eating whole foods over processed and fast foods," Ward says.

Ward said she had a few concerns about the "Eat This, Not That" recommendations. For example, the book lists Yobaby peach yogurt as having 13 grams of sugar per 4-ounce portion, but this number includes 6 grams of naturally occurring lactose (milk sugar). Instead, she says, the listing should specify that there are 7 grams of added sugar.

“Lumping lactose with added sugar makes foods like Yobaby peach yogurt look like it is high in sugar, which is confusing to parents and technically incorrect," she says.

Ward also says it's inconsistent for the authors to leave so many common processed foods out of the food pyramid, "and then promote the consumption of processed foods as the lesser of two evils throughout the book."

Ward's own advice to parents looking to feed their kids a healthier diet: Prepare more meals at home, where you control the ingredients.

"It is easy to whip up healthy meals in minutes at home, which can be much more nutritious and less expensive than many fast foods," she says.

Eat This, Not That for Kids: Food for Thought

Eat This Not That for Kids contains a wealth of solid nutrition information -- as long as you read the fine print and don’t just rely on the pictures. The small book is easy to tote around for quick reference at restaurants, vending machines, and the supermarket.

But remember, a better choice does not necessary equal a healthy choice. The only way to get the whole picture is to carefully check the fat, calories, sodium, and sugar numbers for the foods you feed your kids.



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