The 2012 crop of healthy eating books runs the gamut from secrets of the rich and famous to levelheaded lifestyle recommendations and quick-loss programs. Here are a few that crossed our desks.
For celebrity worshippers
* “One Dish at a Time” by Valerie Bertinelli (Rodale Books)
Television actress-turned-Jenny Craig spokeswoman Valerie Bertinelli offers recipes and stories based on her Italian-American upbringing. Dishes such as ribollita, a tomatoey vegetable soup, garlicky linguine and clam sauce and chipotle-spiked bison burgers (from the American side) sound warm and filling enough for a cold winter day. Each recipe offers calorie counts (some of which you’d rather not know — that bison burger will cost you around 600 calories). And for those of you who didn’t catch it, the title riffs on Bertinelli’s claim-to-fame, the 1975 television show “One Day at a Time.” Yes, that’s correct, 1975.
* “Now Eat This! Italian” by Rocco DiSpirito (Grand Central Publishing)
Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito’s latest installment in his “Now Eat This” series conjures more than 90 Italian dishes, such as chicken parmigiana, lasagna Bolognese and whole-wheat pizza margherita, all under 350 calories. And yes, there is still cheese involved. Even desserts make the cut. A fat-free ricotta cheesecake boasts just 176 calories, and a cannoli, those cream-filled pastry tubes, 136 calories.
For magazine readers
* “The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook” by the editor’s of Cooking Light magazine (Oxmoor House)
More than 250 recipes from the editors of Cooking Light magazine pair with lifestyle changes and a 12-month plan for carrying them out. A solid how-to for people seeking a healthier lifestyle, the emphasis here is on cooking at home and incorporating more fruits, vegetables and grains into your diet. Cooking techniques and introductions to potentially unfamiliar ingredients, such as edamame (soy beans) and the ancient grain farro, are peppered with recipes for dishes such as oatmeal pancakes.
* “101 Recipes You Can’t Live Without” by Lori Powell (Rodale Books)
The nutrition experts at Prevention magazine build their recipes around 13 essential nutrients, such as magnesium and vitamin D. Vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids arrive in a bowl of spaghetti with sardines and caramelized fennel. Roasted pork tenderloin with edamame succotash brings vitamin C and folate. And dark chocolate pudding (with whipped cream) squeaks by with a quarter of your daily calcium.
For list makers
* “The 7 Day Slim Down” by Alisa Bowman with the editors of Women’s Health magazine (Rodale Books)
“Lose 7 pounds this week!” boasts the cover of this book, which offers what it calls “the Vitamin D diet.” Based on research that suggests vitamin D promotes weight loss, this diet offers lists, lists, lists: a slim-down shopping list, a day-by-day, meal-by-meal menu list for the first week, and charts for “pick this, not that” and other dieting techniques.
* “The Belly Melt Diet” by the editors of Prevention magazine (Rodale Books)
This one’s got the others beat, because apparently you can lose 8 pounds in just 3 days. List lovers will gorge on quizzes (What kind of bird are you, lark or owl? Are you getting enough sleep?), lists of nutrient-rich foods and yes, day-by-day, meal-by-meal guidelines.