Sneaky Diet Food

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There’s no question that eating healthy is good for your body. But let’s face it: Butternut squash just isn’t mac and cheese, and spinach isn’t the same as a brownie — or is it? A new way of preparing diet foods pairs unlikely culinary partners — like spinach and brownies, or squash and mac and cheese — into taste-tempting recipes that cut the calories, reduce the fat and sugar, and increase the nutrition of foods we love — all without altering the taste.

That’s the concept behind two new recipe guides that are taking the cookbook world by storm: The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine and Deliciously Deceptive by Jessica Seinfeld (wife of comedian Jerry Seinfeld).

Both books center around the not-so-new food prep technique known as pureeing, in which fruits and veggies are blended to a sauce-like consistency. The genius in their systems came in figuring how out to add these purees into a variety of unexpected recipes — like fried chicken, French toast, brownies, and pizza — without altering the taste.

“Not only does this method dramatically increase the nutrient density of whatever dish you are preparing, but it also makes it healthier in other ways, by lowering the fat content, reducing the obese to slim.

“I just could not do the diets where all you ate was saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 0.7 g fiber, 49 mg sodium, 49% calories from fat.

Recipes from The Sneaky Chef, by Missy Chase Lapine, Running Press, 2007. Republished with permission of the author.

Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious Brownies

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal one brownie as 1 portion light dessert + 1 portion vegetables without added fat.

These brownies are low in calories (only 133 per brownie) and cholesterol, 149 mg sodium, 31% of calories from fat.

Recipe from Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld, Harper Collins, 2007. Republished with permission of the publisher.

Devin Alexander’s Healthy Decadence Double Chocolate Brownies

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal one brownie as one light dessert.

One of these brownies has 172 fewer calories and 11 fewer fat grams than traditional double chocolate brownies.

1/4cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (semi-sweet)

Butter-flavored cooking spray

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 inch non-stick cake pan with spray.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, using a sturdy whisk or spatula, mix the applesauce, vanilla, egg whites, and sugar until they are well combined. Add the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir the mixture until it is just combined and no lumps remain. Pour it into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chips evenly over the top. Bake the brownies for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry (a few crumbs are OK).
  • Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and allow them to cool 5 minutes. Cut into 12 equal brownies.

Yield: 12 servings.

Per brownie: 88 calories, 2 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, <1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 133 mg sodium.

Recipe from Devin Alexander; republished with permission of the author.