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Book Review Eat This Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide

September 22, 2009

Eat This Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide, by
SVP/Editor-in-Chief of Men's Health magazine and Editorial Director of Women's Health magazine, is the author of New York Times bestsellers The Abs Diet and The Abs Diet for Women. Once an overweight child, Zinczenko has become one of the nation's leading experts on health and fitness. He is a regular contributor to the Today show and has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, Primetime Live, 20/20, The Rachael Ray Show, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

With tens of thousands of products crammed into the walls of the neighborhood supermarket, trying to find a reliable snack, pantry product, or frozen dinner can be a serious challenge for the time-strained consumer. The Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide changes all of that, offering discerning shoppers everywhere a simple plan for finding the healthiest foods for them and their families. Beyond homing in on the best and worst in the world of packaged foods, the Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide scours the aisles to help you pick the most nutrient-packed produce, the leanest, tastiest cuts of meat, exotic cheeses that double as healthy snacks, and the best contaminant-free fish the ocean has to offer.
I know, that sounds like a wild claim. And I'm surprised I wrote it.

Since the book is entirely about food at supermarkets, every item on every page is something readily accessible to you. And since every item is captioned with its relevant nutritional information, it's like having the "Nutrition Facts" panel of every major item at your grocery store right there in your purse, in a little book that is so well designed and organized it is remarkably easy to use.

By comparison, the earlier titles had less detailed grocery sections, as well as lots of stuff about fast food chains and table-service franchise restaurants, material that is useful only if you frequent those particular places.

In this book, every page has valuable content for anyone who shops at a supermarket -- so much, in fact, it's tough to determine just what to highlight in this review. Every time I flip through the book I come across useful, surprising information. For example, right now I'll randomly open it a few times and learn why:

1) Fruit Loops are better for you than Apple Cinnamon Cheerios.
2) Regular Cheerios is a better choice than Smart Start.
3) Regular Quick 1 minute Quaker Oats is healthier than Quaker's Simple Harvest Multigrain hot cereal.
4) Dole pineapple cups are more nutritious than Dole mixed fruit cups.

Not all the pages are side-by-side product comparisons. One spread, titled "The Meat Matrix," compares the nutritional value of a variety of meats, everything from pork to ostrich. Another, "The Perfect Refrigerator," displays a perfectly stocked healthy fridge. My daughter was especially interested in a spread titled "The Snack Matrix," which shows which combination of snack items (fruit, peanut butter, cottage cheese) mix well together for both nutrition and taste. Another section discusses how to store fresh fruit and produce and explains why fresh food is better for you.


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