'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 22 August 2010

Review: Healthy Family Happy Family

Title: Healthy Family, Happy Family

Author: Karen Fischer

Publisher: Exisle, $34.99 RRP

Publication Date: August 2010

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781921497445

For ages: Adult

Type: Cookbook

About: Food is a hot topic at the moment. With shows such as Masterchef and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution in our lounge rooms each night, it’s hard to escape this one simple fact: home-cooked meals are one of the best things you can give your family.

Fresh food has taken a back seat in recent years while we all became so busy with our careers, running around and, well, just life in general.

But now it’s back. In a big way.

And Karen Fischer has some advice on how to make it fit in with all the busyness of life.

In the introduction, Fischer explains how she came to write this book. Sick and tired of bribing her children with dessert, cooking special meals for her daughter (at an age when she felt she should have been eating the same as the rest of the family), and dreading the witching hour of five p.m., she decided to take action.

The book begins with ‘five important reasons to dish up healthy food to your family’, an incentive to make healthy food the norm for your family. Clearly explaining the link between fruit, vegetables and wholegrains with the reduced risks of various diseases and other inflictions, one simply can’t argue with the proof (and common sense) involved here.

Moving onto ‘nutrition in a nutshell’, and we are given clear, simple to read information about what to eat more of, what to limit and what to throw straight in the bin. Broken down into each type of food and providing clear tables of how much of each food each age group should eat each day, this makes it almost seem too easy.

Section three is where things become really interesting. Entitled ‘marketing magic’, it goes back to the principle in which humans are programmed to be interested: What’s in it for me? Answer this question, Fischer states, and you’ll have convinced your children to eat their vegetables. She says it’s important to teach your kids about food, what it can do for them – this one helps your jumping legs, this one makes you grow taller, for example – and tailor those answers to your child’s interests and desires.

Other tips here include no nagging, rewards and incentives, education and occasional treats. We are also given advice on how to easily make healthy foods tastier, act as an example, speak positively and make food fun.

The book then continues with some simple, healthy recipes that will appeal to your family, and concludes with some handy resources including tips on shopping lists and meal planning.

As a healthy eating advocate, and someone who avoids giving her child lollies and sugary foods, I have found this book invaluable. The tips and recipes in Healthy Family, Happy Family will make it simpler to continue along this path.

It’s so important for parents to be educated about nutrition – it’s not something that can be escaped and it really is so important for giving our children the best possible start in life.

This book helps us to achieve that in a practical, simple way.

This book is available online