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Eat This!

How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (And How to Fight Back)

by Andrea Curtis
illustrated by Peggy Collins

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diet & nutrition
list price: $16.95
also available: eBook
published: 2018
publisher: Red Deer Press

A provocative follow-up to the bestselling What's for Lunch?, Eat This! zooms in on fast food marketing to children — an immense industry worth billions of dollars.

Andrea Curtis shows how fast food companies push their unhealthy food and beverages by embedding their sales pitches in everything from Snapchat filters to movies, from videogames to school curriculum. An exploration of media literacy and food literacy, Eat this! looks at what exactly marketing is and touches on the latest strategies aimed at kids, including product placement, advergames, cartoon and celebrity endorsements and school fundraising.

On each page spread, Andrea Curtis provides research-based insights into all aspects of the fast food industry and, perhaps most importantly, offers kids examples and ideas about how they can push back — taking charge of their own health and well-being.

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Contributor notes

Andrea Curtis
writer and editor, has written about everything from women's health to neighborhood change, from personalities in the literary world to those in the urban forest. She is the author of the acclaimed What's for Lunch: How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World for younger readers. Her critically acclaimed Into the Blue: Family Secrets and The Search for a Great Lakes Shipwreck won the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. Her writing has also appeared in Toronto Life, Chatelaine, Canadian Geographic, Explore, Utne Reader, The Globe & Mail, Today's Parent, cbc.ca/arts and others.

A graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Andrea now lives in Toronto with her husband and two sons, and volunteers for the Toronto non-profit, Word-Play.

Peggy Collins,
author and illustrator lives in Eastern Ontario with her family beside a windy river in a crooked little house. She loves growing and cooking food at home and is always busy with a bunch of projects and/or kids. She also illustrated Hungry for Math, by Kari-Lynn Winters.

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Editorial Reviews

"Eat This!: How Fast-Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and how to fight back) is a well researched, hard hitting juvenile book about striking back at destructive marketing tactics for unhealthy fast foods, especially targeted at children. . . Countering the definition chapter pages are sections outlined in yellow titled DO THIS! These sections offer creative alternatives to kids and others concerned about junk food promotion and its unhealthy consequences, including, retiring spokescharacters, standing up for junk free checkouts, drawing attention to healthy, sustainable foods such as fruits and vegetables, kids speaking out against junk food, and cracking down on kidvertising. The importance of environmental sustainability and healthy family mealtimes together is emphasized. Illustrated with colorful cartoons and characters, Eat This! is sure to be a big splash in the field of intelligent consumerism for juveniles and adults."
Midwest Book Review

"A comprehensive compilation of fast-food marketing practices aimed at youth and ways kids can recognize and combat them. . . Collins' snappy designs depict youth of many ethnicities and share space with clear, well-chosen stock photographs. Copious kid-friendly information on a vitally important topic, stylishly presented, makes this book essential. Knowledge is power."
Kirkus Reviews

"This, amazingly, is a 36-page toolkit for fighting marketing to kids, with endorsements from Mark Bittman and Jamie Oliver, among others.

As I read it, it's a manual for teaching food literacy to kids—teaching them how to think critically about all the different ways food and beverage companies try to get kids to buy their products or pester their parents to do so.

The "fighting back" part takes up just two pages, but it suggests plenty of projects that kids can do:

  • Do taste tests of fast food and the same thing home made. Which one is more delicious, more expensive, more healthy? Which creates the least amount of waste?
  • Watch your favorite show. Mark down how many times you see product placement.
  • Quick: think of all the fast-food mascots you know by name. Who are the mascots aimed at?

The illustrations are kid-friendly as is the text. I'm guessing this could be used easily with kids from age 8 on."
Marion Nestle  Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University

"A good book to add to your collection for healthy living instruction, or even as an example of persuasive writing techniques.
School Library Connection

"By clearly identifying and defining the tools used by companies to sell unhealthy food to kids, and by suggesting ways to fight back, Eat This will arm readers with the knowledge needed to resist targeted marketing and make a change."
Rating: E - Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!
Resource Links

"Offering a diverse and global perspective, Eat This! encourages media literacy and critical thinking while empowering young readers to find positive ways to challenge the fast-food culture in their own communities and schools. An important addition to bookshelves everywhere!"
Booknews Magazine

"Kids need to know the truth about junk food, and understand the millions of ways it's pushed on them — everyday. Andrea's fun and accessible book gives them the tools to fight back!"
Jamie Oliver, MBE, world-renowned chef and food campaigner

"The title says it all. This is the first and only children's book to tell the awful truth about the way our kids are assaulted by rapacious marketers. But, most importantly, Andrea manages to tell the story to the kids themselves."
Mark Bittman, best-selling author of How to Cook Everything

"Eat this! is a well-conceived, well-researched and empowering resource that helps students, parents and educators decode the marketing speak and arm themselves against the powerful techniques used by junk food and beverage marketers. This important book raises essential questions about why and how these foods and drinks are destroying our kid's future health and well being. Eat this! is an essential tool to help build real food communities and better inform kid consumers to become empowered citizens."
Lulu Cohen-Farnell, Founder, Real Food for Real Kids

"Andrea has created a book that will resonate with both kids and parents at a time when kids (and parents) need to be more media savvy then ever. Eat This! is filled with fun facts, clear explanations and concrete ideas about how kids can fight the fast-food system. This book will have your kids questioning what they see and eat in a way that is actually good for them — and the planet."
Emma Waverman, parenting and food writer, columnist, CBC Radio and The Globe & Mail

"Restricting food and beverage marketing to children is an important public health issue. Andrea has presented it in a compelling way and we hope her book will motivate Canadians to support making the healthy choices the easy choices."
Mary Lewis, Vice President of Research, Advocacy and Health Promotion, Heart & Stroke

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About the Authors

Andrea Curtis

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Peggy Collins

Peggy Collins is an award-winning children’s book author-illustrator with more than 35 titles to her name, including Hungry for Math: Poems to Munch On, In the Snow, and In the Garden. She has also written and illustrated for animated apps teaching math, Indigenous history, and education. Peggy lives in Newburgh, Ontario with her two children.

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