by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding
Rodale Inc, 2009
I like food, I like books about food, and I like to cook. So, when Matt (A Guy's Moleskin Notebook) reviewed Eat This, Not That! late last summer, I knew I'd have to take a closer look. My library hold finally arrived - just in time for the holiday marathon of shopping, decorating, baking, and parties. As we spend more time at the food court, restaurants, and grocery stores, this slick little book aims to provide the information needed to make healthier choices.
Before blogging, I went on a food book binge with Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and, of course, Fast Food Nation by Michael Schlosser. These books are full of general principles and good, practical information. They provided an excellent foundation of "food knowledge".
Eat This, Not That! goes one step further and names names.... lots of them! There are 24 short chapters all titled "The Best (&Worst) ...", each devoted to categories such as Salads, Burgers, Frozen Foods, Mall Foods, "Healthy" Foods, Sushi, and even Beer & Wine. They are full of charts and nutritional information, with photos of best and worst choices appearing side by side.
So, what did I learn? McDonald's Egg McMuffin was named the best breakfast in America with 300 calories, 12 g fat, 820mg sodium, and the extra advantage of protein.
What surprised me? Subway's foot long sweet onion chicken teriyaki was the worst "low-fat" sandwich. "... teriyaki sauce...covers this chicken like a blanket of briny syrup, simultaneously providing a day's worth of sodium and 4 Peanut Butter Twix bars' worth of sugar..."
Under the Best Healthy Food in America, I was happy to find Panera's Asian Sesame Chicken Salad.
Good grades for fast food and chain restaurants went to Subway, Chick-Fil-A, Red Lobster, and several others.
I enjoyed my browse through, but 16 year old Twin A poured over this for hours! She even noted the "worst" choices were photographed to look sloppier, with food often spilling or dripping off the side of a plate.
My recommendation: Save yourself $25 and borrow this from the library, or browse though it at the bookstore while you sip a Tall Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte + Protein (Best Coffee Drink in America).
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