400 Calories or Less With Our Best Bites by Sara Wells and Kate Jones

400 Calories or Less is a beautifully presented cookbook featuring low calorie, portion-controlled meals. The emphasis is on a general description of healthy rather than a specific diet tailored toward low carb, no grains, paleo, or any other specialization. As such white bread, sugar, salt, and other less healthy ingredients are used sparingly but always in smaller quantities. In truth, the book is about portion control for health and weight loss.

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The book breaks down as follows: Breakfast Anytime; Soups; Snacks; Salads; Snacks; Pasta; Poultry; Beef; Pork; Seafood; Meatless; Desserts, index, ingredients.  Each section has about 7-8 recipes on average so the breadth of the book is fairly narrow. Examples of meals include halibut au gratin, mini cheesecakes, grilled steak gyro plate, spicy turkey lettuce wraps, pad thai, spinach artichoke omelet, chipotle chicken corn chowder, and greek chicken salad pitas.

Each recipe is beautifully presented with a high quality photograph. Directions/ingredients are color coordinated and different fonts are used to help differentiate the sections. Directions are numbered in small paragraphs and storage information is given as well at the end. Each recipe has nutrition info, add on options, alternatives, rollover ingredient(s), and authors’ note. An introduction prefaces each recipe as well.

Although there were few recipes I hadn’t seen in other books, this was so beautifully presented that they are inviting to try. Because these are very small portions (e.g., a small soup bowl), you’ll definitely want to take advantage of the storage/freezer options for the extras. And it might feel a bit frustrating to use 20+ ingredients and 8 steps of cooking for a small bowl of soup. But the taste is there and these are healthy.

In all, very pleased with the book – it is one of the nicest presentations I’ve seen in a cookbook in a long time.  Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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