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"One of the Best Books of [the year]"
Real Simple

"A blueprint for how to raise

healthy eaters in a fast-food culture"

New York Times

"Everyone who has kids should read Kid Food.

And everyone who doesn't should read it, too"

Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation

"So good, so well written, and so important

that nothing I can say can do it justice

Marion Nestle, Soda Politics


Kid Food has been featured in:

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praise for Kid Food


“With meticulous research and easy, conversational prose, Siegel makes an irrefutable case for changing the way we think about so-called ‘kid food’—and why we must transform the broken food system that feeds our children.”

—Alice Waters

“Siegel is a leader and a veteran in the movement to feed our kids well, and Kid Food is a primer on what we’ll need to do to get that done.”

- Mark Bittman

“Siegel is thoughtful, practical, and fearless—a combination that should worry the food companies now threatening the health of all Americans.”

- Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation

"I will shamelessly plug this book, which is well-written, well-researched, empathetic and practical, for any parent looking to make some changes."


—Tamar Haspel, Washington Post

“Fascinating and funny… and a must-read for anyone who cares about our children’s future.”

— Karen Le Billon, French Kids Eat Everything

“Fascinating and enlightening. I will never look at a kid’s menu or baby food pouch the same way again—and I'm infinitely grateful for it." 

- Gail Simmons, food expert, Top Chef judge, and author of Bringing It Home

“Gorgeously written, heartfelt, and deeply compelling ... Everyone who cares about kids must read Bettina Siegel’s fabulous Kid Food.”


—Marion Nestle, Soda Politics

Kid Food will help you see how the Food Giants have co-opted our eating habits, and how changing the way kids eat is our best shot at leveling the playing field.”


— Michael Moss, Salt Sugar Fat

“An engaging must-read for anyone frustrated by the challenges of feeding children healthfully. Siegel does more than explain why ‘carnival food’ is now the everyday norm; she lays out the specific ways to approach food more positively at home—and in the larger community—to foster change.”

— Ellie Krieger, cookbook author and host of Ellie's Real Good Food

"Powerful, encouraging advocacy .... Kid Food equips parents with the wisdom and strategies they’ll need to raise—and feed—healthier kids." 


— Foreword Reviews

“Frustrated parents will find motivation and comfort in Siegel’s message”


— Publishers Weekly

"A fascinating look at the industry of children’s food and a practical guide for parents seeking to teach their children how to eat healthfully."


— Library Journal

read unsolicited reader praise for Kid Food here
about Kid Food

about Kid Food

Most parents start out wanting to raise healthy eaters. Then the world intervenes. 


In Kid Food, nationally recognized writer and food advocate Bettina Elias Siegel explores one of the fundamental challenges of modern parenting: trying to raise healthy eaters in a society intent on pushing children in the opposite direction. Siegel dives deep into the many influences that make feeding children healthfully today so difficult—from the prevailing belief that kids will only eat highly processed “kid food” to the near-constant barrage of “special treats.”


Written in the same engaging, relatable voice that made her blog, The Lunch Tray, a trusted resource for almost a decade, Kid Food combines original reporting  with the hard-won experiences of a mom to give parents a deeper understanding of the most common obstacles to feeding children well: 


  • How the notion of “picky eating" undermines kids’ diets from an early age—and how parents’ anxieties about pickiness are stoked and exploited by industry marketing

  • Why school meals can still look like fast food, even after well-publicized federal reforms

  • Fact-twisting nutrition claims on grocery products, including how statements like “made with real fruit” can actually mean a product is less healthy

  • The aggressive marketing of junk food to even the youngest children, often through sophisticated digital techniques meant to bypass parents’ oversight

  • Restaurant children’s menus that teach kids all the wrong lessons about what “their” food looks like

  • The troubling ways adults exploit kids’ love of junk food—including to cover shortfalls in school budgets, control classroom behavior, and secure children’s love


With expert advice, time-tested advocacy tips, and a trove of useful resources, Kid Food gives parents both the knowledge and the tools to navigate their children’s unhealthy food landscape—and change it for the better. 

about Bettina
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about Bettina

Bettina Elias Siegel is a former lawyer, a mom of two, and a nationally recognized writer and advocate on issues relating to children and food policy. Learn more about Bettina here. 

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lunch tray blog

The Lunch Tray 

Bettina blogged about children and food on The Lunch Tray from 2010 to 2020, attracting a dedicated readership of "TLT'ers"—parents, school food professionals, food policy thought leaders, and more. The blog is no longer active, but remains live and fully searchable.

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press and appearances

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Here's what people are saying about Kid Food.  For information on Bettina's book tour and other upcoming appearances, visit her speaking calendar. 

get in touch

get in touch

For interviews, speaking engagements, and other media requests, email bettina [at]

For rights and other literary agent inquiries, contact

Elizabeth Kaplan at elizabethkaplanlit [at] or 212-776-1710.

To receive Bettina's free 50-page e-book, The Lunch Tray's Guide to Getting Junk Food Out of Your Child's Classroom, sign up here.

Bettina's media kit may be found here.

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