One of the nicest perks of writing this blog is being contacted by authors to read and review their books. I can’t always get to everyone’s book — my nightstand stack is about to fall over! — but I do love sharing what I’ve read with you here.
Today I want to tell you about two new books to help you navigate today’s tricky food environment, both for yourself and your kids.
The first is Bite This! Your Family Can Escape the Junk Food Jungle and Obesity Epidemic. This eBook was written by three New York City parents, one of whom, Katherine Weber, I had the pleasure of meeting at last month’s Family Dinner Conference.
The authors’ description of the book — “If Vicki Iovine’s Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy had a one night stand with Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, this would be their love child.” – is spot on. It’s a funny, irreverent and entirely practical guide to feeding kids well even when the world seems intent on thwarting this goal. You’ll find solid advice on navigating the supermarket, easy ideas for meals and snacks, and strategies for dealing with all those well meaning people (grandparents, teachers, sports coaches and more) who offer our kids junk food.
I was particularly taken with the section entitled “Our House Sucks,” which addresses kids’ embarrassment when other kids come over and are looking for junk food. This is a real problem I and other health-conscious parents have experienced, but not one I’ve seen addressed in other advice books. A typically humorous excerpt:
“WE’RE FREAKED OUT NO ONE WANTS TO COME TO OUR HOUSE FOR PLAY DATES ‘CAUSE THE FOOD SUCKS.”
It was nothing any of our children ever came out and said. Worse, it was the looks in their eyes as their hearts dropped to their toes every time a friend was over and they had to open the pantry or fridge only to display whole-wheat crackers, raisins, and spelt pretzels. How they squirmed when they saw their guests’ eyes as they searched endlessly and uselessly for a bag of Doritos or a box of Oreos. No. Our children remained silent. But we saw those looks exchanged, and each of us, in our own way, knew we had to deal with it. Each of us looked down the dark abyss of the future we saw for our kids: no sleepovers at our house, no being invited to birthday parties because what if our gifts were as lame as our snacks … it was a small leap from there to dateless prom nights.
Bite This! assumes you’re a bit of a novice when it comes to feeding kids well, so some of the advice (e.g., scrutinizing product labels) may be familiar to TLT readers. But for a mere $2.99, I think every parent will find many useful tidbits to make their lives a little easier. You can find the eBook for the Kindle here and for the Nook here.
The second book I wanted to tell you about is The Pantry Principle from Mira Dessy, the Certified Nutrition Educator and real food advocate behind the blog Grains and More. Mira has written a very comprehensive guide to understanding food labels and the often-mysterious ingredients one finds on them.
I actually regard this book as a perfect companion piece to Melanie Warner’s Pandora’s Lunchbox (my recent interview with Melanie Warner here.) Whereas Warner gives readers an in-depth understanding of why and how food additives are used, Mira Dessy tells readers whether one should eat particular additives and/or why they should be avoided. You’ll learn about fats, sweeteners, food dyes, GMOs, preservatives and more. But Dessy doesn’t just tell you what not to eat; she also provides tips on stocking a healthful pantry and many recipes for additive-free versions of your favorite foods.
You can buy The Pantry Principle on Amazon here.
Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join almost 6,000 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered fresh daily, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also follow TLT on Twitter, check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post.