Think medically restricted diets are bland and boring? A grocery bag full of new cookbooks will make you eat your words.
Nutritionists at the National Institutes of Health say a healthful eating plan can help control high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels, diabetes, heart disease and other common conditions and disorders. In the past, special diets meant steamed veggies, rubbery gelatin and dry, grilled chicken breasts.
Not anymore. These creative recipe collections are designed to appeal to discriminating palates with or without dietary limitations.
"The Diabetic Pastry Chef: Because Everyone Deserves Sweets!" (Pelican, $24.95) by Stacey Harris. The author was diagnosed with diabetes while training to be a pastry chef and thought her career and her lifelong love affair with desserts were over. She began experimenting with different combinations of flours and sweeteners, eliminating trans fats and cutting milk carbohydrates, to create new recipes that satisfied her sweet tooth without compromising her health.
Organized by goodie type, her cookbook features recipes for sour cream pound cake, oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, sweet potato pie, strawberry panna cotta and more than 100 other creative desserts.
"Healthy Eating for Your Heart: 100 Mouthwatering Heart-Friendly Recipes From a Leading Chef and Dietician" by Paul Gayler and Jacqui Morrell ($16.95). The book includes diet and lifestyle information and recipes for everything from breakfast and brunch to soups and appetizers.
"The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health: More Than 200 New Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes for Delicious and Nutrient-Rich Dishes" (Simon & Schuster, $24.99). Named one of the 13 most influential restaurants of the 20th century by Bon Appetit magazine, Moosewood in Ithaca, N.Y., is known for sophisticated vegetarian cooking and its line of popular cookbooks.
The latest offering features innovative, easy-to-prepare vegetarian, gluten-free, raw and vegan recipes.
"You Don't Have to Be Diabetic to Love This Cookbook: 250 Amazing Dishes for People With Diabetes and Their Families and Friends" (Workman Publishing Co., $19.95) by chef/restaurateur Tom Valenti. This book turns the burden of following a diabetic regimen into a celebration of food. Valenti, who was diagnosed with diabetes 14 years ago, entices taste buds with such offerings as salmon with leeks and caviar, mushroom and goat cheese turnovers with arugula and beet salad, bananas Foster and mocha pots de creme.
"Symply Too Good to Be True: Over 150 Ways to Tasty, Low-Fat Healthy Recipes" (Symply Too Good Ltd., $19.95) by Annette Sym. Tuna casserole, meat loaf, pizza, tacos and apple pie as health food? This book is a compendium of reformulated comfort food recipes designed to help people manage diabetes and cholesterol levels.