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The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids Paperback – January 3, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S, R.D., is a freelance writer and nutrition consultant in the Boston area. She is the author or co-author of Healthy Foods, Healthy Kids; Pregnancy Nutrition: Good Health for You and Your Baby, and the forthcoming The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Feeding Your Baby and Toddler. Ward writes for several publications, including Prevention, Men’s Fitness, Fit Pregnancy, American Baby, Boston Globe, Parents, and Parenting.


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Product Details

  • Series: The Pocket Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha (January 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592574920
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592574926
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,554,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am a mother, author, and registered dietitian. My passion is nutrition, especially when it comes to helping women (and men!) prepare to have the healthiest babies well before they conceive, and to coaching moms about how to feed their growing families while nurturing themselves, too. As a mother, I know that most of us act as the "gate keepers," of the household (my apologies to the dads out there who do the same), deciding what foods to buy and to prepare. Our job is one of the most important of all because we're setting the stage for our child's health, in the short-term and the long run. Like most working moms, I'm busy, and I am always looking for great tips and simple solutions for feeding my family the most nutritious foods, and that's the stuff of all of my books, including my latest, Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy. If you're looking for tasty and delicious recipes, Expect the Best has 50 of them that the entire family will love. And, check out my blog at for a new family-friendly recipe every week.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Taub-Dix on March 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
Book Review:

The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids

By Elizabeth M. Ward, MS,RD

Alpha, 2005


The long awaited food pyramid was released earlier this year along with a lot of sage advice, and for some, a lot of questions. Although the new icon, appearing everywhere from T-shirts to table tops, seems simple, this structure has many layers which are peeled away and clarified in The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids.

The book starts out by explaining the solid foundation upon which MyPyramid was built and the differences between the old and new versions. "The Least you Need to Know" section appears at the end of each chapter providing a succinct summary of its previous pages. Although the text is easy to comprehend, this summary helps to provide sound bites, so to speak, for the reader, reiterating essential points.

Laced through the chapters are sidebars delineated as: Pyramid Speak - definitions of important terms; Fun FAQs - answers to frequently asked questions about eating and exercise; Pitfalls - warnings about what might derail your efforts to eat better ad exercise more; and Power Point - tips and tidbits to make healthy eating easier. These highlighted areas could lead the reader to do further research on a related topic or provide practical tips and information to add flavor to the subject matter.

Liz Ward's voice is heard throughout the text, guiding readers to make MyPyramid their own. Although many health professionals may `already know' what the pyramid represents, it's helpful to have this guide as a resource, particularly with reference to the sample menus in varying calorie levels.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By H. Grove (errantdreams) TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
The old food pyramid might not make a whole lot of sense given recent advances in nutritional understanding, but at least it was self-contained. You could glance over it and figure it out, no problem; not so with the new one. That's where "The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids," by Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is meant to come in. It's a relatively small, non-threatening guide to deciphering that new picture. The idea that we should need an entire book to explain it sort of goes against the whole concept of creating a simple image that conveys a basic idea of nutrition, but on the other hand, it's probably unrealistic to expect such a thing to be possible in the first place. These days it takes a book to explain what we know about nutrition and the human body.

There's a surprising amount of clear, simple detail in this book on calorie-counting, food groups, serving sizes, and so on. It explains how to customize the pyramid plan to your age, gender, activity level, and weight needs, and it also explains how you can get the most out of your food nutritionally.

Overall I think this is a very handy book. I'm a little wary of calorie-counting as a means to weight loss. I also think there was some tension between the desire to keep the book limited to a simple explanation of the food pyramid vs. providing a detailed breakdown of nutritional needs that might have erred on the limited side. However, the book provides the lowdown on nutrition and how it relates to the wide array of foods out there in a largely detailed, easy-to-understand manner, and that certainly makes it worth reading.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen M. Zelman on March 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
The 'Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids' by Elizabeth Ward is a life saver to help consumers understand the latest advice from the government. Her insightful tips, advice and guidance are easy to understand, practical and fun. She turns the dietary guidelines into workable solutions that we can easily incorporate into our every day lives. Eating right and getting regular exercise can be really difficult but this guide makes it so simple and easy to follow Uncle Sam's advice.
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Format: Paperback
In my experience, most people are aware of the government's My Pyramid ( outlining guidelines for healthy eating, but most can't seem to figure out how to incorporate it's advice their daily lives (or get overwhelmed by everything it has to offer!). "The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids" presents a pared down plan for making My Pyramid's resources work for you, no matter what your goal, age or stage of life. It cuts to the chase on how to use the Pyramid eating plans to lose, maintain, or gain weight, as well as how to modify it if your pregnant or breastfeeding. Because it also includes information on the Kids My Pyramid, the book is appropriate for both children and adults. The book's simple descriptions of the Pyramid's resources demystifies a guide that many feel is complicated to negotiate (or unavailable to them if they don't have a PC at home), and is so much easier to use than the government's web site. It also provides tons of easy tips for including healthy foods in the diet without sacrificing all your "favorites." As a nutritionist who counsels both adults and children, I'm thrilled to be able to refer my clients to a resource that will make their transition to healthy eating easier and less confusing.
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