About 10 or so years ago, I was in Books a Million and ran across a book I'd never seen before by an author who was equally unfamiliar to me.

David Zinczenko has written a series of books with the parent title, Eat This Not That. I say "parent title" because subsequent volumes focused on different aspects of our diets. And, yes, I know "diet" is a bad word, but it also simply means what we eat everyday.

The first book combined suggestions about the best items on various restaurant menus AND healthy alternatives we can seek out while in the grocery store.

And right there on the cover, it says "Thousands of simple food swaps that can save you 10, 20, 30 pounds--or more!"

I'll give you an example of how it works. He'd feature a menu item from, I don't know, Subway, let's say, and then he'd give you a much healthier option on the same menu, featuring all the pertinent nutrition facts--fat content, calories, protein content.

In this series, Zinczenko has also published a Supermarket Survival Guide and a Restaurant Survival Guide--splitting up what he did in the first one for a more sharper focus.

Other titles include Drink This, Not That and, I'm telling you, you would not BELIEVE the amount of calories that are in what seem like very harmless beverages. I was shocked.

I also like his Cook This, Not That series--broken down into three volumes respectively subtitled Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals, Skinny Comfort Foods, and Kitchen Survival Guide.

These have been invaluable tools that really helped supplement my weight loss efforts the last couple of times I participated in boot camps.

Listen, we're an on-the-go society, and these guides are great tools we can use to help make healthy decisions when we find ourselves NEEDING to eat out.

You know something? The Skinny Comfort Foods book is the only one I've never seen before.

Hmmm, sounds like good meal prep is in my future.

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