________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 1 . . . . August 29, 2008

cover Yum: Your Ultimate Manual for Good Nutrition.

Daina Kalnins. Illustrated by Paula Becker.
Montreal, PQ: Lobster Press, 2008.
192 pp., pbk., $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-897073-72-8.

Subject Heading:
Nutrition-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-10 / Ages 10-15.

Review by Lizanne Eastwood.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


Itís all up to you. When it comes to what you eat, you make the decisions. Whether that means saying yes to a high-calorie meal or to a big leafy salad, or saying no to a sugary snack or a serving of tofu, you need to be aware of the food choices as youíre making them. Does this mean that you have to become Captain Serious about nutrition and watch everything you eat like a hawk? Of course not! It just means that now that you know all of this stuff about nutrition, youíve got to go out there and use it.


When I first looked this book over, I didnít think I was going to like it. I didnít like the typeface or the layout. The graphics and illustrations seemed to get in the way of the words and make them difficult to read. However, as a longtime reader of books on food and nutrition, the thought of a nutrition manual for kids intrigued me. Iím glad I looked deeper.

      Yum is quite wonderful. It is chock full of expert advice on all things food related. Beginning with a chapter on macro nutrients, moving onto a chapter on micro nutrients (those things that are on the food labels we are all supposed to be reading), followed by a chapter on how the digestive system works, the science of nutrition is laid out in a simple but thorough manner. I actually think this book should by used as a text for grade 7 and 8 students who are being introduced to food and nutrition studies. The way the information is presented, fast and zippy, thought-provoking and served up with tons of humorous illustrations, makes for a format that would really hold studentsí attention.

      Each chapter contains sidebars with captions such as: Did you know?, Food Facts, Fast Bites, Good ideas, Questions and Answers, How Real Kids Eat and Celebs Say. Tell me what tween or young teen doesnít want to know what Jessica Alba and Zac Efron have to say about their diet and exercise program.

      As a vegetarian, I learned some interesting facts, such as the expense of ďfakeĒ meats compared to real meats. Since I never buy the real stuff, I just didnít realize. Also, the fact that tofu dogs and vegetarian sandwich ďmeatsĒ are just as highly processed as the bologna you buy in the deli section was an eye-opener. My teenage daughter definitely needs to read this book!

      Chapter 4 is called Meals and Snacks to Fuel your Day. It lists seven suggestions for great breakfasts, snacks, lunch ideas, mini-meals for on the go, and dinners. Each suggestion includes serving sizes and the reminder that water should be the drink of choice. The recipes that were included looked really yummy, and I tried making the Jazzed up Hummus, a combination of two of my favourite dips, hummus and guacamole. I served it at a gathering I attended last weekend, and the bowl was quickly emptied.

      Chapter 5 is called Making it Happen Ė Keeping It Up. It discusses how to make healthy choices anywhere including home, school, the grocery store or eating out in restaurants. There was great advice on how to grow your own food, start your own vermicomposting system (thatís worms eating your garbage!), and how to shop at the grocery store without being manipulated by advertising and marketing ploys. I really liked that the book touched on the importance of eating local foods. In these days of climate crisis, I think that young people will really embrace this idea. I also liked the idea that kids should question what is being served in our school cafeterias and that they should petition for healthier choices in vending machines and lunch lines. Jaime Oliver, one of my favourite chefs, is mentioned because of the real difference he was able to make in the lunch programs in England.

      The book concludes with Healthy Eating and Exercise Tools, online resources and a wonderful glossary of food terms. Kids are left with a pledge that they can take when they are finished reading the book and a 6-month challenge to incorporate all their new knowledge into a healthy lifestyle. Right on! Considering that this particular generation of children is the unhealthiest, the heaviest and the most sedentary, a book like this should be required reading by all middle school kids (and their parents).


Lizanne Eastwood is a Community Literacy Coordinator with the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, a library employee and a home schooling parent of two active teenagers in Grand Forks, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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