The Diet Detective: 8 Easy Calorie Bargains

Here are my latest Calorie Bargain findings.

Calorie Bargain: 400 Calorie Fix: Slim Is Simple: 400 Ways to Eat 400 Calorie Meals by Liz Vaccariello (Rodale 2010)

The Why:
This is a very simple concept. You eat three to four 400-calorie meals per day. The book is filled with beautiful color photos and not too much text. In fact, it reminds me of another Rodale book, Eat This, Not That. I like the way the publisher describes it: "The 400 Calorie Fix provides the necessary tools to see food through the '400 Calorie lens' and navigate meals and snacks ranging from Chinese takeout to salad bar selections, vending machines and concession stands, and even party platters and bar beverages." If you browse through this book you will learn about food choices.

The Health Bonus: If you're limited to 1,200 to 1,600 calories per day, you will almost certainly lose weight.

What We Liked Best: It's easy to read the book and understand this diet.

What It Replaces:
Complicated diet books.

The Price: Four monthly installments of $7.99 each.

Where to Buy:

Calorie Bargain: Cooking Light First Foods: Baby Steps to a Lifetime of Healthy Eating (Oxmoor House 2010)

The Why:
Parenting can be hard. Feeding your baby delicious, nutritious food shouldn't be. Cooking Light is a wonderful, healthy living magazine, and the editors also produce wonderful books. This book takes the guesswork out of preparing foods for your child—from veggies at age four months to snacks for your 2-year-old. It's in an easy-to-use spiral-bound format and includes more than 100 precious and helpful photos as well as drawings that simplify important matters such as food allergies and intolerances and food charts for each phase of a baby's growth.

The Health Bonus: The early years are where healthy eating begins—and often continues throughout life. Follow this book and you can give your children a great start.

What We Liked Best: The recipes aredietitian approved and tested in the Cooking Light Test Kitchen. They even had a baby and toddler tasting panel.

The Price: $19.95 retail, but is available for less online.

Where to Buy: Most bookstores, including,

Calorie Bargain: Cedarlane Stuffed Manicotti

The Why:
It is a symphony of spinach and mozzarella, Parmesan and ricotta cheeses stuffed into manicotti pasta and covered with an authentic Italian red sauce. Even your children will love it. It's quick to heat, low in cholesterol, high in protein and, most important, great tasting. One serving has 21 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.
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