It is time to think about healthful eating as the summer is approaching. Here are a few new healthful books to help you get back in your bikini!

LIGHTEN UP, Y’ALL: Classic Southern Recipes made Healthy & Wholesome by Virginia Willis is a new collection of soul-satisfying Southern recipes made to adapt to a healthier lifestyle. Virginia Willis is an authority on Southern cooking, a French-trained chef, and a veteran cookbook author as well as a true Southerner who loves to cook in the style of the South. When Ms. Willis wanted to lose a few pounds and lighten up her lifestyle, her most important criteria was that the food had to taste great! The result of this search is Lighten Up, Y’all.  Standouts include cornmeal-crusted chicken bites with jalapeño dipping sauce; gulf coast seafood stew; cider braised pork loin; and brown sugar-strawberry shortcakes.

A GOOD FOOD DAY: Reboot Your Health with Food That Tastes Great by Marco Canora with Tammy Walker is for people who love real food, and know that healthful and tasty can go hand in hand. This book allows for natural, clean, and healthful eating to be part of your lifestyle, without hassle or professional chef status. There are large, full color photos that make the food look delicious. Chef Canora begins by telling how the pressures of being a professional chef take a toll on one’s eating habits. The recipes use whole foods, are fairly easy to follow, and focus on the need to eat real food and cut out the junk! The recipe for the herb-roasted spatchcock chicken is my favorite way to cook chicken although I cook my chicken for 50 minutes at 500 degrees.

We know that eating the right grains should be an important part of one’s diet. Whole grains are packed with nutrients including protein, antioxidants, B-vitamins, fiber, and trace mineral. SUPERGRAINS by Jenni Muir explores quinoa, wheat, farro, spelt, amaranth, buckwheat, barley, corn, wild rice, millet, teff, sorghum, chia in depth. The book includes a thorough directory of the grains discussing their flavor and texture characteristics, what foods go with grains, their specific nutrients and a cooking guide. Farro with apricots, pomegranate, and pine nuts (for breakfast); Persian style barley soup; shellfish and oat praline ice cream are some of the highlights.

HEALTHY LATIN EATING: Our Favorite Family Recipes Remixed by radio/television personality Angie Martinez and “Top Chef” alum Angelo Sosa takes on the task of fusing traditional and non-traditional Latin ingredients to enhance the flavors of healthful eating. With over 100 delicious and healthy versions of Latin classics, the recipes are creative and appealing to a wide range of tastes. Highlights include tomato tartare with chipotle & capers; fish tacos with chunky guacamole & chipotle syrup; paella Dominicanos; and slow-roasted plantains with agave pineapple sauce.

GREENS + GRAINS: Recipes for Deliciously Healthful Meals by Molly Watson is a small volume of 45 creative recipes that combine all the things we know are good for us, mainly greens and grains, into flavorful dishes for family or friends. The recipes are very easy to follow and often are cooked in one pot. Beautifully photographed recipes include: chilled watercress yogurt soup with wheat berries; chard quinoa terrine; pea greens and tofu over sesame brown rice; and clams and mussels in spicy tomatoes over quinoa.

Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes by Nava Atlas the creator of VegKitchen.com is an on-trend look at Vegan cooking. For those interested in a plant-based way of life, this book helps to guide one to more creative ideas and tips on how to maintain a happy Vegan kitchen. Eating vegan doesn’t have to be about sacrifice and substitutions.   The book has over 125 interesting and innovative recipes with 75 gorgeous color photographs throughout. Plant Power makes a good case for debunking the top myths about plant-based diets. The book also gives you 10 great tips for quick and easy weeknight meals and gives suggestions for getting kids to enjoy plant-based foods.

IKARIA: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die by Diane Kochilas is one of those rare cookbooks that are page-turners. I learned about the culture, the way healthy people eat and live, and how their culture slightly differs from nearby Turkey and the Greece mainland. Diane Kochilas is one of the foremost authorities on Greek cuisine in the world. She is the host of Greece’s most popular cooking show, “What’s Cooking Today, Mom?” and brings her knowledge of this healthful cuisine to light with such recipes as spinach rice (spanakorizo); zucchini blossoms stuffed with rice and herbs (anthoi yemistoi) pan-fried fish in vinegar and rosemary sauce (psari marinato); and cornmeal pie with Greek yogurt, dried fruit, and honey.

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