I love learning new tricks that help make dishes more healthful, so found the just-released 400 Calories or Less cookbook by Sara Wells and Kate Jones (Shadow Mountain, $21.99) intriguing. “Eating is about satisfying a hungry mind, not just a hungry body,” they write. “We’re programmed to want to feel satisfied after eating food. So our book is not just low-calorie recipes; it’s about providing ingredient alternatives to traditional foods … to trigger the brain and body into a perfectly satisfied feeling.”
The authors, who write the popular blog Our Best Bites, looked for ways to make low-calorie meals that don’t scream deprivation. In a pasta dish, for example, the “trick” is using pasta-size strips of zucchini to cut back on the amount of fettuccine, and mixing fat-free cream cheese with the high-flavor profile of real Parmesan so the sauce does not taste like diet food.
I did not mention the dish was a healthful version of Alfredo when I served it, and no one seemed the wiser.
— Linda Cicero