Serve it Up: Book Review

Laura De Simone is a fitness professional with a mission. She’d love for all parents to understand that portion sizes matter. I call her new book, Serve it Up: A Parent’s Guide to Kid Friendly Portions, a baby-step book. You don’t have to radically change anything in your fridge, freezer, or pantry. She never even bugs the reader to give up their family’s favorite doughnut holes, white bread, or barbecue chips. It’s simply a guide to how many doughnut holes are right for your child based on gender, age, and activity level. I almost died writing that last sentence. At my house doughnut holes are never going to be a typical breakfast, especially not alongside a serving of non-fat, fruit-flavored yogurt and apple juice. But Laura De Simone understands that a lot of families are eating this for breakfast. The message of Serve it Up is really this: don’t change what you’re feeding them, just how much.

Laura crunched numbers from the USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference to plan sample meals for kids ages 2 -13. She arranged the meal plans into Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner categories. Each meal has been analyzed for proper ratios of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. There are also suggested bonus foods along the bottom of the page that promote things like baby carrots and swapping for whole grain bread. These bonus foods are subtly tucked away on the bottom of the pages. I wish more fruits and veggies were the star, like I mistakenly assumed when looking at the front cover.

The content is mostly in tables, which gets pretty tedious by the end of reading the dinner menus. But they work fine to reference quickly for one meal plan. I would have loved to see pics showing what these meals look like on a plate. I would have also loved to see a tutorial for how to read nutrition labels.

If you think you you’d like to read through her meal ideas and learn more about portion sizes for kids head over to her website or

Laura has also offered a free copy of Serve it Up: A Parent’s Guide to Kid Friendly Portions to a Don’t Panic Mom community member. Write a comment below with how you’d use the book in order to enter the drawing.

2 Comment

  1. Jill Huffman says:

    I think this book would be most helpful with wide range if ages my kids are. I always struggle with if they’re getting enough “good” stuff.

  2. katie seamons says:

    I struggle with meal plans as it is! I have been slowly vamping up our veggie intake over the last year. (I say slowly, mark says not slow enough) I’m all about cooking. It would be helpful to have a book like this targeted towards children’s eating habits. I would love to teach them right!

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