"Menu Confidential" by Megan Ogilvie


We all know when we're hitting up the drive thru that what we're about to eat isn't the healthiest choice.  But do we know just how bad it really is for us?  Menu Confidential by Megan Ogilvie gives you everything you want to know and probably some of the things you don't want to know either.

It's difficult to know how many calories and how much sodium is in every bite we take.  Finding out the nutritional information of our take-out food can be a big job.  So it's great to find someone who has done all the research for us.  And it's even better to find someone who has done the research for Canadians, as Ogilvie has done in this book.  That's right, prepare to be shocked at how much sodium you're eating the next time you're at Timmie's.  

This book is perfect to read through then take with you wherever you go.   In addition to teaching the basics about nutrition, it covers the best and worst choices you can make at breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time, the grocery store, the convenience store and at bars and restaurants.  And if you're a lover of poutine like I am, maybe stay away from the Canadian Classics section.

The photography by Christopher Campbell is stunning.  The book has a very glossy feeling, kind of like reading a magazine and it gets straight to the point.  Each menu item that is highlighted gives you the serving size, calories, carbohydrates and sodium.  One of my favourite features is that the amount of sodium is given in both mg and the number of shakes it would take to get that amount from a salt shaker.  That slice of Pizza Pizza pepperoni pizza looks pretty different when you find out it has 40 shakes of salt in it.

There are many features to this book beyond the nutritional information of our favourite foods.  The "Dare to Compare" section puts what you're eating into perspective - for example, 1 order of Jack Astor's Cheese Garlic Pan Bread is the equivalent of eating 5 slices of pepperoni pizza in terms of calories and fat.  The "Take Away" gives you tips on how to make the best choices, how to cut down on the bad stuff, and ways to make the bad foods better.  And the "At A Glance" charts give you a rundown of the same item at different restaurants.

This book has definitely opened my eyes to what I'm eating.  I know that I'm not always making the best choices, but I didn't know some of them were that bad.  The sodium amounts were the biggest surprises to me.  And while I'm not ready to give up my movie popcorn (that's pretty much the reason I go to the movies these days), this book will help me make better food choices on the go in the future.  I recommend all Canadians pick this up.

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