This is a rather interesting cookbook: the premise is to take the junky food we like (things like pop tarts, cheez its, potato salad though no brand names are used) and with a few simple changes, create healthier alternatives. Author Bauer wisely avoids altering them too much – we’re not talking perfectly healthy here. But this is a case of small changes making a decided difference over time.
The book breaks down as follows: Chapter 1: Better For You Breakfasts; Chapter 2: Delicious Dips and Appetizers; Chapter 3: Scrumptious Soups and Sandwiches; Chapter 4: Slimming Sides, Salads, and Dressings; Chapter 5: Simple Satisfying Suppers; Chapter 6: Palate Pleasing Pizzas and Pastas; Chapter 7: Decadent Desserts; Chapter 8: Creative Cocktails, Mocktails, and Beverages. Conversion charts, index.
The book is beautifully presented with easy to use recipes and bright, colorful photographs. Each recipe has a picture/description of the original ‘less healthy’ version (the ‘junk food’) and then a healthier recipe alternative (the “joy food’). But this is a recipe book based on calories, not necessarily health. E.g., many of the recipes remove egg yolks – which brings the calorie count down but doesn’t, in my opinion, necessarily make the meal healthier. Other recipes just use skim milk products over heavier cheeses and creams. E.g., macaroni and cheese is never going to be healthy – but replacing cream and butter with reduced fat cheese and less butter makes for a better alternative (and takes the calories from 1300 to 400). Nutrition information, serving size, alternatives/twists are also included.
This book is a compromise between a healthy lifestyle and junk food bonanza. On the one hand, you have zucchini replacing pasta and slimmer versions of various meat and dairy products. But on the other hand, recipes call for things like canned marinara sauce (which have a lot of artificial sugars like corn syrup) or ketchup (the same). And any nutritionist will tell you that calorie counting is not the way to determine food health or healthy eating. But the book is very friendly, nicely presented, and there are some great ideas in there for changing eating patterns. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.