Not so long ago it was believed that low-fat diets were the way to go. It seemed if you could just cut out the fat, you could lose weight and be healthy. But nutrition is science and science changes with the times. Fat is no longer vilified. Though for a while, carbohydrates were the enemy.

Today nutritionists tell us there are “good fats” and “bad fats.” Bad fats are saturated and trans fats and good fats are omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats. And carbohydrates? It turns out there are good carbs too, such as the complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, as well as in many vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

The very concept of dieting has changed too. There is less emphasis on going on diets and more emphasis on changing our diets, changing what and how we eat. So now might be as good a time as any to throw away those old diet cookbooks and consider something new.

The Betty Crocker Cookbook, Heart Health Edition has over 1400 recipes, cooking tips and hints, and an introductory section on heart health. Like other Betty Crocker cookbooks, the recipes do not use Betty Crocker products. Nothing is off limits and there are recipes for dishes like Scrambled Eggs, Lemon Chicken with Grilled Fennel and Onions and Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce. Not all recipes are heart healthy, but moderation is the name of the game and nothing is off limits. Each recipe has a detailed nutritional breakdown and many have suggestions for how to make substitutions to make the dishes healthier.

I was particularly impressed with the number of recipes using whole grains like quinoa, barley and wheat berries. It’s a good all-around basic cookbook with a balanced approach towards nutrition. The book is spiral bound, making it easy to use in the kitchen.

The Weight Watchers All Time Favorites cookbook is also spiral bound and the recipes also have nutritional information. Following the Weight Watchers system, each recipe has “points” assigned to it. There are 200 recipes and they range from Shrimp and Sausage Paella to Warm Chile Spiced Edamame to Pomegranate and Star Anise Poached Grapefruit.

Honestly, I was quite surprised to see how sophisticated many of the recipes are. Missing are any detailed sections on health or cooking tips, and some of the recipes are not exactly gourmet such as Barbecue-sauced Sloppy Joes, also I would have liked more recipes using whole grains, but all in all, the cookbook lives up to it’s name. There are plenty of appealing recipes and they are all healthy to boot.

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