A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the host of this cooking show emphasizes a healthy diet and lifestyle -- specifically, by making small adjustments to cut down on calories and fat in the foods you prepare. As a weight-loss veteran (she lost 55 pounds and has kept them off for 15 years), Alexander knows the importance of making "diet" food appealing, so all of her recipes are guaranteed to tickle the taste buds. In addition to the preparation process, the show also includes educational information about food content (vitamins, sodium levels, etc.) and a wealth of cooking tips. Tweens and teens who enjoy the culinary arts will like this fun, fast-paced series.
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What's the story?
In HEALTHY DECADENCE WITH DEVIN ALEXANDER, the chef/author demonstrates how easy it is to prepare mouth-watering foods like meatloaf, chicken parmesan, and even chocolate brownies with significantly less fat and calories than their traditional counterparts. She also suggests subtle ways to add fiber and nutrients to your diet -- substituting oats for bread crumbs in meatloaf or tossing sliced fresh vegetables into a noodle dish, for example. In each 30-minute episode, Alexander prepares three themed recipes, explaining how and why she's altered certain recipes to create her own flavorful-but-healthy concoctions; pop-up \"footnotes\" expand on the nutritional content of the foods she uses. When she's finished, she gives a side-by-side comparison of the fat grams and calorie count in the traditional dish and the one prepared the \"Devin\" way -- often with surprising results. In a segment about healthy pot luck dishes, for example, her versions of Thai peanut noodle salad with grilled chicken, imitation crab California rolls, and strawberry angel trifle saved a total of 608 calories and 53 grams of fat.
Is it any good?
Alexander's super-peppy demeanor and obvious enthusiasm for the culinary arts is infectious, and viewers will enjoy and learn from the time they spend in her kitchen. But if you're inclined to take notes on the recipes, be warned that the show's quick pace calls for top-notch stenography skills -- or a visit to the show's Web site.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the media's role in diet, nutrition, and health. Do shows like this make up for all of the TV ads for fast food, snacks, and soda? How much influence does what you watch have over what you eat? What do the current high rates of obesity and disease say about our society's overall health? How can awareness be raised about the importance of good diet and exercise? And why is it important to have a balanced diet, anyway? What can result from a deficiency in vitamins, protein, or calcium? How would it affect your ability to study, work, and play? How does exercise improve your overall health?
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