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Eat This, Not That for Kids

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Eat This, Not That for Kids: How It Works continued...

A menu detailing a week’s worth of kid-friendly weeknight meals will enlighten parents about which weeknight standbys should stay and which should go. For example, the book recommends a meal of meatloaf, roasted asparagus, baked sweet potato and Jell-O over one consisting of chicken casserole, baked potato, roasted asparagus and Italian ice. Also included are 10 kid-friendly recipes made healthier, including macaroni and cheese, pepperoni pizza, nachos, fettuccine Alfredo, and chicken strips with honey mustard.

The book also contains reference charts that detail which nutrients kids need each day, divided by age group and including calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium, carbs, fiber, and protein.

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

Eat This, Not That for Kids includes these eight simple rules for healthy eating:

  1. Never skip breakfast.
  2. Snack mindfully on healthy snacks.
  3. Watch your portion sizes.
  4. Drink water and milk, and fewer sweetened beverages.
  5. Eat more whole, less-processed foods.
  6. Eat meals together as a family.
  7. Kick the sugar habit.
  8. Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.

The "Eat This, Not That" food pyramid excludes tortillas, pasta, pancakes, anything with partially hydrogenated oil, and heavily sweetened cereals. Yet the rest of the book includes foods with these ingredients, which is confusing. (It's also probably not realistic to exclude so many kid favorites.) For example, Campbell’s Spaghetti-Os, a pasta dish, is on the cover as the preferred choice over Kraft macaroni and cheese.

The book alerts parents about nutrients often missing in kids' diets, such as calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin E, and fiber, and gives tips on how to fill these nutritional gaps with foods and beverages kids enjoy.

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

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