Book Review: 400 Calories or Less with Our Best Bites

April 9, 2015


400 Calories or Less with Our Best Bites
Sara Wells and Kate Jones
277 pages
ARC from publisher

From the Publisher:
Healthy living is all about choices, and now it’s even easier to make good choices with 400 Calories or Less with Our Best Bites.

From tasty snacks to mouthwatering entrees to delicious desserts, each recipe is packed with big, bold flavors—and all under 400 calories! But maybe—if you feel like splurging—you’d like to change it up a little? Add a different protein? A side dish or two? In this innovative, full-color cookbook, the girls from the award-winning website Our Best Bites have provided a variety of add-on options that puts you in control of your meals and your calories.
More than sixty-five easy-to-follow recipes

  • use common pantry ingredients.
  • include tips to make shopping and cooking a breeze.
  • provide nutritional information to make healthy choices easier.
  • are customizable so you can fix healthy dishes that your family will love, while still maintaining your calorie goals.

So dig into your favorite dishes and enjoy mealtime again, knowing that your healthy lifestyle goals are in reach.

I have been trying to get better at, 1. making healthier meals and 2. trying new recipes.  I am not the best at either of these.  I try to make healthy meals.  I actually don’t think we eat horribly, but I think we could always improve.  But new recipes…. stress. me. out.  I don’t know what it is, but they just do.  So when I saw a copy of Our Best Bites 400 Calories or Less on Net Galley I jumped at the chance to review it.  I love their website and I love their cookbooks.  My friends actually bought me a copy for my birthday recently, after I told them how many times I check their books out of the library.

I was so excited when I got a copy.  I quickly read through and marked what I thought looked good, then I had my husband do the same.  Then we made a plan….we would try at least 4 recipes.  And at least one dessert for fun.

Every recipe has the nutrition listed with it – how many calories, sugars, carbs, fat, fiber and protein.  I like that option.  If you are tracking your calories on an app like My Fitness Pal that is really nice.  (I got back and forth using My Fitness Pal, I have a love/hate relationship with it)  I love that they start this book by saying they aren’t trying to hide vegetables or tricking our taste buds, this is the real deal, tried and true food your family will eat, and that will help you make good choices.

Let me preface the rest of this post by saying:  I am NOT a food blogger.

The first recipe we tried was the Grilled Honey-Lime Shrimp.  This was my husbands top pick. It’s basically a marinade, so my stress level was pretty low with this recipe.  I thought it was easy and then my husband did all the work doing the grilling.  It was easy to make and set aside and forget about while I made the rest of the meal we were having that night.  I marinaded the shrimp for about 30-40 minutes, and it had a great taste.  My husband loved it and wants to have it again and marinade them longer.  The kids were fighting over the shrimp, so it’s safe to say this was a favorite for them too.
The next recipe we picked to try was the Honey Balsamic Drumsticks.  My eight year old LOVES chicken legs.  But he never likes the ones that I make at home, so I was hoping that this would be a hit for him.  I left the glaze at the end of the recipe off half of the drumsticks and put it on half.  We also had some at the table if you wanted to add more.  This passed the test!  Every kid loved this recipe and I have to say the sauce was one of my favorites.  I really loved it.  My six year old girl was helping me make this one and kept saying it smelled yucky when we were mixing this together, but when it came time to eat the sauce she loved it too.
Greek Chicken Salad Pitas was the next recipe we tried.  I know if I bring home a recipe book and have my husband look through it, and it had a Greek recipe anywhere in the book, he will pick that one.  So this was one he wanted to try, but in the end this was one that I loved more than him.  Not that he didn’t like it, but he said it would be really good on a hot summer day.  The last couple days here have been pretty chilly, so we ended up eating it on a colder night.  I didn’t have rotisserie chicken, but I did have some frozen diced grilled chicken so I used that instead.  I think the shredded chicken might be easier to eat in a pita, but I went with what I had on hand.  I loved the flavor of this and I think it was relatively easy to make as well.  Most of the kids ate the pita’s plain and wouldn’t try this.  Only my adventurous 6 year old eater tried this and she said it was yummy.
We had to try a dessert.  Because that is everyone’s favorite.  So one night we decided to try the mini cheesecakes.  My eight year old also loves cheesecake.  It is the ONE thing he always asks me to make.  Another reason I thought this would be good is everyone could add what topping they wanted.  Most of the kids added chocolate sauce to the top of them…which I’m positive makes them higher than 400 calories, but I added some berries and thought it really hit the spot.  My picky eater 8 year old ate 3 of these and was asking for more.  He said these are his favorite now and that I need to make them again and again.  His direct quote is “This tastes better than any cheesecake I’ve ever had!”

I think I’ll be making these again..and next time I’ll have to double (or triple) the batch, because 12 was just not enough for our family!

In the end I am totally happy and satisfied with this book.  I would recommend it to anyone and we are looking forward to adding more recipes from this to our dinner soon!  The book came out this week and if you are in Utah, you can get a copy and even get it signed.  Friday the Our Best Bite girls will be at the downtown Deseret Book from 6-7:30 and Saturday they will be at the University Village Deseret Book from 1:00-3:00.

Mother’s Day is coming up…this would be a great little gift!

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