21 April 2010

Chop Chop Kids Magazine - The review

Several people have seemed every bit as interested as I was to know what exactly is in Chop Chop and what their angle is before we made the commitment to a subscription.

I won't start with the cover, which is pretty plain in the picture on the previous post. Inside, there is a letter from the Medical Director on staff. He explains that too often, though pediatricians are very concerned wit kids health, they feel they can offer only medication and advice to families after the fact. He wants families to know that primary to maintaining their health is eating well.

Te first "department" is Great Gear, and this issue discusses how to use a vegetable peeler safely. We don't peel vegetables -- and we certainly wouldn't compost them, we'd put them in stock -- but since the magazine is aimed at a more mainstream family than ours, this is good. A fun toy to add glamour to eating carrots and apples.

The next department is Food Fight. In this issue, the banana and the orange face off to compete for Greatest Nutritional Value. Other than the wrestling metaphor, this is pretty good. In five rounds, they compare the nutritional value of the banana and the orange comparing them both against one another and against that mythic hero "Daily Value". They compare fiber, vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6. I'd imagine they'd use other factors to compare different vegetables. They declare the battle an even split, with both bananas and oranges winning with different strengths.

Next comes a recipe, labeled for difficulty, whether parental supervision is required, how long it takes, and the number of servings. This information is followed by a statement declaring that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The recipe, cheesy scrambled eggs, lists all the equipment you'll need, all the ingredients, and then details instructions, starting with "wash your hands with soap and water". The ingredients call for fresh herbs! Yay! It has a sidebar note about how when you call someone "a big cheese", tat means they are very important, but when you declare something "cheesy" you mean it's not very good."

Next comes the Green Life department, which comments that anything you grow yourself tastes better. Then it coaches them on how to start a small indoor container garden for herbs, lettuce, or flowers. This section contains the only prominent product placement we noticed: the container garden is in a Stonyfield yogurt container.

The next department is Ingredients, in which we get to know our apples. Five varieties are compared for colour, flavour, and best uses. Here we hear all about how wonderful it is that apples are fat free, salt free, high fiber, low calorie, and convenient.

Next department: Tune Ups. Here we have a children's author commenting on her five favorite food smells, and an invitation to go online to share one's own favorite food smells.

Now we have a smoothie recipe in the same format as the previous egg recipe -- and this one has a "No blender? No problem!" alternative for a breakfast banana split using the same ingredients. (Yogurt, berries, and bananas). This calls for orange juice, which we don't use, but Jack is cool with substitutions, and I think it misses out on the option to include greens, carrots, and other yummy stuff -- but it's a good basic recipe for kids. It is followed by a coupon for a large Stonyfield yogurt. OK, fair enough.

Next comes the Chop Chop Food Search -- a food oriented word search.

And a hot chocolate alternative recipe: Hot Honey Vanilla Milk, which suggests non-dairy alternatives for the milk. YES! Sensitivity to food sensitivities!

Which is followed by a recipe for a greens and Cheese Quesadilla using the microwave.

And a recipe for Chinese Congee or Jook, a thick breakfast soup with rice, broth, herbs and vegetables. Makes me wish I could have the rice--it looks yummy!!!

Now we come to the Profile department, in which a young chicken farmer is profiled with a pointer to his blog about his chickens and a list of places to learn more about growing poultry. We also see a bowl of eggs of different colours from which we learn that eggs don't come in only white or brown.

Next comes a recipe for lemon salad dressing and a green salad.

And a side bar discussion about salt. (Plus a tip about getting the oil and vinegar in your salad dressing to emulsify -- stay together.)

Next comes a no supervision required recipe for celery sticks with nut butter and granola. It also suggests a food sensitivity alternative using cream cheese instead of nuts.

In the Good Idea department, we see a few suggestions for "smart swaps", like exchanging whole fruit for juice or homemade dressing for store bought.

Next a recipe for "carrot fries" (roasted carrots) and then a recipe for red beans and rice.

Next we have the Answer Chef department, a kid's question answered by the magazine's founder. In this issue, the discussion is about switching to fat free milk from full fat.

Now, another recipe, this time for "oven fried chicken". And another recipe, for apple-icious oat bars.

Then, we have a Lost and Found maze and food vocabulary "did you know". (I learned two new words!) And finally, our list of sponsors, with logos. The back page is an ad for the next issue.

Throughout, there are "did you know?" items related to the page and "Chop chop tips" for safety.

They are a lot bigger on the whole low fat thing than I wish they were, but that's the current common wisdom. They do emphasize whole foods in this issue, though they do use some processed foods. (bread crumbs, granola, canned beans) They seems to be sensitive to the fact that not everyone can eat everything and they provide alternatives frequently. While they do have some non-vegetarian recipes, many can be adapted (replace chicken stock with vegetable broth) and that leaves only one recipe that's unusable.

All in all, I think Chop Chop is a worthwhile addition to our library, if only to send the message that food is a kids issue, too.


  1. Thanks for posting about this magazine. I'm seriously considering it for KodyGirl. Last week it came to my attention that my youngest never learned how to use a veggie peeler. Poor girl, the teacher just assumed that the kids would all know how to use one. As I watched the kids I could definitely tell which families don't peel their veggies lol.

  2. That magazine does sound good! I'll try ordering it for my kids. I'd like to give them more nutrition information, so maybe this will help.


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