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The Sparkpeople Cookbook: Love Your Food,…
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The Sparkpeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight (2011)

by Meg Galvin

Other authors: Chris Downie (Introduction), Stepfanie Romine

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I had never heard of SparkPeople.com when I received their cookbook for review. The introduction tells the fascinating story of the origins of SparkPeople, beginning with their first book, The Spark: The 28-Day Breakthrough Plan for Losing Weight, Getting Fit and Transforming Your Life.

That led to SparkPeople.com, helping people lose weight and eat healthier through "10-minute bursts of fitness, small goals set along the way to achieve larger ones, a tight-knit network to offer support, and healthy easy-to-prepare food to fuel an active life."

This led to the The SparkPeople Cookbook, by Meg Galvin, which is really a lifestyle book. Chapters like Satisfying, Sustaining, and Stress-Free Eating, The Science of Satisfaction, and my favorite, The Healthy New Kitchen, which lists necessary the kitchen tools and pantry staples, spell out in easy-to-read terms how to live a healthier lifestyle.

The second part of the book gives recipes that range from simple and unique, Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, to ones that take a little more time like the one I tried, Minestone Soup with Parmesan Crisps, which was hearty and filling, with only 197 calories per serving, 4.6 g of total fat and 9.4 g of dietary fiber.

The soup was very tasty, but it called for "one 4.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes". I frequently use the standard 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, but I have never seen a 4.5 oz. of diced tomatoes, and that seemed like too small an amount, so I used a 14.5 oz. can of tomatoes, and it seemed to work.

It also calls for "one 5.5-ounce can cannelini beans". Again, I have seen 15.5 oz. cans, but not 5.5 oz. cans. Has anyone else tried this recipe, and if so, did you follow it as written? How did it turn out? Has anyone ever seen a 4.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes? I found this confusing, but I didn't see any other odd measurements on any other recipes I perused.

Each recipe has an icon index at the top that tells you such things as whether the recipe has multiple servings of fruit and vegetables, if it freezes well, if it's great for company or kid-friendly. I liked this, it makes it easy to see at a glance if it work for what you need.

It has lots of photos, again something I like, and the appendix is filled with useful information, such a table on how long fresh fruits and vegetables should last and how to store them, a comparison chart for oils, and a two week menu cycle. (I would have liked to have seen a three or four cycle; two weeks seems like you could get bored more easily.)

The SparkPeople Cookbook is a good book for someone who wants to make a healthy change in their life. It has so much great information in addition to the recipes, it is an invaluable tool for every cook's bookshelf. ( )
  bookchickdi | Mar 22, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Meg Galvinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Downie, ChrisIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Romine, Stepfaniesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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"From the team that brought you SparkPeople.com, America's #1 weight-loss and fitness site, and the New York Times bestseller The Spark, comes The SparkPeople Love Your Food, Lose the Weight Cookbook. This practical yet inspirational guide, which is based on the same easy, real-world principles as the SparkPeople program, takes the guesswork out of making delicious, healthy meals and losing weight--once and for all. Award-winning chef Meg Galvin and SparkRecipes editor Stepfanie Romine have paired up to create this collection of more than 160 satisfying, sustaining, and stress-free recipes that streamline your healthy-eating efforts. With a focus on real food, generous portions, and great flavor, these recipes are not part of a fad diet. They aren't about spending money on obscure ingredients, eliminating key components of a balanced diet, or slaving away for hours at the stove. They are about making smart choices and eating food you love to eat. But this is more than just a collection of recipes--it's an education. The SparkPeople philosophy has always been about encouraging people to achieve personal goals with the help and support of others. And this cookbook works in the just the same way. Along with the recipes, you'll find step-by-step how-tos about the healthiest, most taste-enhancing cooking techniques; lists of kitchen essentials; and simple ingredient swaps that maximize flavor, while cutting fat and calories, plus you'll read motivational SparkPeople success stories from real members who have used these recipes as part of their life-changing transformations"--… (more)

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