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gourmet low-fat cookbook recommendations?

Hi Hounds:

I'm hoping some of you can help me ... my mother was just diagnosed with pancreatitis, which means she's now looking at a lifetime of extremely low-fat eating. (We're talking a daily limit of three teaspoons of any kind of fat -- butter, olive oil or what have you; coconut oil is banned outright.) While of course staying healthy is the most important thing, i'm hoping for her sake that she doesn't have to exist on poached chicken breasts and plain rice forever.

I would like to cook her a delicious, pleasure-filled dinner worthy of a gourmand but all the low-fat cookbooks I see are ... well, kind of cheesy. My favorite recent cookbooks were "Chocolate & Zucchini" and Nancy Silverton's "A Twist of the Wrist"; I just read "Julie and Julia" and was considering trying some classic French cooking, but that's definitely out. I'm not really down with Sandra Lee, Betty Crocker or packaged/processed foods.

Any favorite low-fat recipes or cookbook suggestions out there? Any ideas are much appreciated.

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  1. Though not specifically geared to this issue, you and she might find some good recipes in some of the Eating Well cookbooks (Healthy in a Hurry is a crowd favorite here) or the magazine - emphasis on healthy whole foods and cooking from scratch.

    Good luck!

    1. Some (though not all) of the books recommended on this thread might fit the bill:


      1. Although it sounds singularly unpromising based on the title, if you can find an old copy give The Reader's Digest Live Longer Cookbook a look. I'm sure not all the recipes would qualify for you, but the book has a surprisingly high percentage of winners.

        1. in addition to the other recs, you can sometimes find good recipes on the web if you know where to look...


          1. i was just given the "all new Cooking Light cookbook"... i haven't cooked from it yet, but i have looked through it and it looks pretty good.

            1. I also like Cooking Light very much. You can buy "The Best of Cooking Light" which offers "the greatest hits", so to speak. The recipes use excellent ingredients with a lower fat emphasis. Go to their web site and try the Spinach and Artichoke Dip as an example. It's fabulous and made with less fat than other recipes.

              1. You might want to look at A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider. She is definitely "gourmet" and that book focuses on low-fat without feeling like you're sacrificing. She does it with wine, and spices and technique. No artificial anything. She doesn't have nutritional information for each recipe, but I think you will be able to tell what will work fpr your mother by looking at the fat contents of each recipe.

                1 Reply
                1. re: karykat

                  all of these books: CL, eating well, sally schneider, etc., are mentioned in the linked thread posted by jjones above. it's a pretty thorough discussion - better to just check it out.

                2. Jane Brody or the LowFat Moosewood.

                  For easy recipes, get some Weight Watchers cookbooks. They are usually simple and you can always get them at used bookstores.

                  I got Juan Carlos Cruz's book (He used to be Calorie Commando in FN) book and I really liked it.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: stellamystar

                    To build on Stella's comments--We have a whole discussion of Weight Watchers cookbooks and WW-friendly recipes going on in this thread, FYI. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/473398 I don't know if I'd call the Weight Watchers cookbooks "gourmet," except perhaps the older ones that WW teamed up with Williams Sonoma and the CIA to write, but, the others are pretty good low fat "every day" (e.g., busy weeknight) kinds of cookbooks. The current weight watchers plans require people to have a minimum of 2 tsp of "healthy fats" per day (healthy=olive oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil). Any more than that requires you to use extra "points" so from a fat perspective, they should meet your Mom's needs nicely.

                    EDIT: I haven't been following this thread much, so forgive me if it's already been mentioned, but the Mayo Clinic (ie., the world-renowned research hospital in Rochester, MN, and not in any way associated with "Dr. Mayo" of the Mayo Diet or whatever it was called from the 70's) has a lovely cookbook out. It doesn't have as many recipes as I wish, but the ones that are there are nice and the focus is truly on healthy eating, including watching your fat intake.

                    EDIT AGAIN: I forgot to mention that the New Mayo Clinic Cookbook won a James Beard award for Best Focus on Health Cookbook in 2005, the year it came out. http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2005-mc...


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I forgot to mention--Mayo Clinic has a lot of healthy recipes on its website--here's a link to the "low fat" recipes section of their website.


                      I don't know if this would be of interest, but they are having a deal that if you buy the cookbook and their "healthy weight" for everybody book, you get their "healthy fitness for everybody" book, plus a bunch of their pamphlets, free. I really have found the "healthy weight" book to be informative, though all of the recipes there are from the "new mayo clinic cookbook," so there are no "new" recipes in it. http://bookstore.mayoclinic.com/healt...

                      Good luck to your mom!


                  2. I would get a copy of the Mayo Clinic Cookbook ASAP. I also have found great things in the Enchanted Broccoi Forest (M. Katzen) and Katzen's other books. We are not trying to live a low fat or veg diet but my husband works with bariatric patients and trust me, that will change your perspective on food.

                    1. I have a few of Steven Raichlen's low fat cookbooks; Vegetarian, Italian, Mexican. The titles start with High Flavor, low fat ...It seems that most are out of print now. I use them quite a bit as they are definitely gourmet (in the "low fat" vein).