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Mar 7, 2010 04:08 PM

Resource for great low-fat recipes?

I've got a good friend who is self-condemned to a life of dieting, and who for the past two years has been surviving on the (to me) barely edible Jenny Craig diet of prepared frozen and packaged meals. I'm a very good cook, and I've decided to ease her preparing a weekly low-fat meal made with real, fresh, delicious ingredients.

The problem is I have no experience whatsoever with cooking low-fat anything unless it's plain old veggies. I adore fat. Can anyone suggest an internet source that offers really tasty low-fat recipes and menus? Or recommendations for outstanding low-fat cookbooks?

TASTY is what I'm looking for -- sweet, savory, know what I mean.

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    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      lol, ghg-you're at it again.
      Eating Well magazine is a quick online recipe resource
      Mayo Clinic website has a wonderful library of recipes
      Most of the popular food plans (WW, Jenny, SouthB) sites have recipes
      but also check out nutrition charts online.

      1. re: HillJ

        the Eating Well website is my favorite as well. is another good one because it includes the recipes from Cooking Light magazine and Health magazine. just be sure to use the enhanced recipe search and select the dietary considerations, because the site also houses recipes from Southern Living, Real Simple and Sunset, and most of those are NOT low-cal!

      1. re: Linda VH

        My beef with Hungry Girl is that she uses a ton of processed ingredients. If the key here is to get the dieting friend to eat "real" food, then I think HG is too close to the Jenny Craig pre-made meals . . . . few of HG's recipes are made with "real" or "fresh" ingredients.

        I agree about Eating Well and Cooking Light. Everyday Food has some good light recipes as well (although not all light - some can be lightened up for sure). You can use the Epicurious advanced search to find healthier recipes there, and again, many can be adapted. Ellie Krieger's recipes appeal to a lot of people - her stuff is on

        Cooking creative and easy meals from healthful whole ingredients can be challenging at first, but it's fantastic that you're showing her how . . . maybe w/new tools she'll get off the packaged stuff and into the produce aisle!!


        1. re: gansu girl

          gg, i'm glad you said this - i resisted because i didn't want to be the one yet again railing against the use of "fake food"...but i have a big problem with Hungry Girl. her recipes always call for using processed substitutes in place of *real* food, and nine times out of ten those substitutes are loaded with artificial sweeteners and/or unnecessary additives,

        2. The recipes at Cooking Light are definitely worth checking out. A complete nutritional breakdown is given for each recipe, as well as details on what constitutes a serving. We've found a number of surprisingly tasty recipes here.

          1. Many years ago, when we were on a low fat kick (long since past), I happened upon a book called "Lean and Lovin It" by Don Mauer. The book contains really good food with the fat reduced. The best testament to the book is that, notwithstanding that our family is not fat shy, we still use some of the recipes. I was asked by my wife's friends to make his apple cake for their functions (!) . It is that good and we often make his garlic and paprika oven fries. I just Googled his name and see he had a column which is online (but I have never read it). Here is the website:


            Here is the book at Amazon:


            While I still get most recipe ideas off the internet, there are a few treasured and beat up cookbooks in the kitchen including his AND Piano Piano Peino (by Susan McKenna Grant)...for the opposite end of the fat scale (although having attending her cooking school in Chianti I can attest both she and her spouse are thin!)

            5 Replies
            1. re: foodiesnorth

              would you be willing to share the apple cake recipe? it doesn't appear to be on his website, and i'd love to see how it compares to the ones i have.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I will try to do that when I get home...on the road at the moment!

                1. re: foodiesnorth

                  no rush - whenever you can get to it that would be great.

              2. re: foodiesnorth

                FoodiesNorth - I too have that book - bequeathed to me from my sis. It is indeed a treasure trove of recipes. I have to skip the "Butter Buds" recipes because I don't know what those are / can't find them. But that is a good resource. Perhaps the book is available via the library for the OP.

                1. re: JerryMe

                  They are some form of dehydrated butter product which provides a butter flavor and no fat. I did find some years ago and tried them, but I did not like them. The recipes are fine without them or with a bit of butter added. My wife and I did lose a ton of weight cooking his way...I lost 20 pounds from a 190 lb frame without doing anything other than cooking low fat. I did not eat any less or exercise more. Having said that I regained it but nothing more when I went back to full fat. I like food and cooking too much to eat low fat!

                  As the poster below suggests, the best recipes are just modified from good fatty ones...that is exactly what Don Mauer does for you.

              3. Thanks to all for the great rtecs -- I'll be checking them out. And my poor dieting friend thanks you too!