Escape the Junk Food Jungle

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father and son cookingE-Book Promises Help for Busy Families By Eileen Ecklund

In a culture awash with sugary sodas, fast food meals, and other junk foods, making sure your kids learn to enjoy good, healthy, real food can seem like an impossible task. Before you throw your hands up in despair, check out "Bite This! Your Family Can Escape the Junk Food Jungle and Obesity Epidemic" a new e-book by Haim Handwerker, Eileen Katz, and Katherine Weber (Bite This Ink, $2.99; available through Amazon and Smashwords). Weber is the New York-based editor of The FruitGuys schools nutrition education program. The authors aren't nutritionists or chefs, just parents who care about good health and good eating – and who know firsthand the daunting challenges faced by busy moms and dads everywhere.

bite this e-book

The book is short (about 60 print pages) and breezy – all the better to fit in between soccer practice and homework help – but packed with practical tips for easy ways to bring real food and good habits to your family’s dinner table.

It's divided into three main sections: the first, on shopping and planning, suggests healthy and convenient kitchen staples, guides you through the complexities of food labels, and gives advice on which foods to avoid or scale back. Part two provides suggestions for quick, satisfying meals, side dishes, desserts, and snacks. Rather than complicated recipes, the authors favor simple equations such as "Spaghetti squash + parmesan + butter = yummy pasta substitute." Part three is chock-full of tips for managing such challenges as school food, restaurant menu choices, and over-indulgent grandparents.

One of the keys to success, the authors say, is to plan ahead and be prepared: Pack snacks like cherry tomatoes and nuts to bring to places where healthy options might be few and far between. Hard-boil a dozen eggs to have on hand for quick, protein-filled snacks. Make crispy chickpeas or kale chips ahead of time so they'll be there when you're tempted to grab a bag of greasy store-bought potato chips. Throw bananas in the freezer with a skewer stuck in them for an easy, fun dessert.

The authors aren’t out to make parents feel guilty for every morsel of Halloween candy their children eat. Instead, their philosophy leans more toward "moderation = sanity." You can't banish all junk food from your kids' lives, they say, and you won't always want to – occasional pizza nights won't kill them (especially if you opt for a pie covered in mushrooms and peppers instead of pepperoni and sausage). Small changes can make a big difference, and they can add up to a lifetime of better habits for your kids.


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Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.