If you have more time to spend in the kitchen, check out the "Kitchen Connoisseur" Plan (page 272). While still relying on quickly prepared recipes, this plan has you spending just a little more time in the kitchen, and includes more adventurous recipes. Wednesday of Week 2 is typical: homemade muesli for breakfast, lunch (made in 10 minutes) is Shrimp, Avocado, and Sesame Seed Salad (page 74) and dinner is Vegetarian Baked Beans on Grits (page 158).
Cooking for a family? You'll love the "Family-Friendly" Plan (page 315), which uses recipes from this book that kids (and picky partners) can all enjoy. No one will turn up their nose at Ginger Waffles, Chicken Noodle Soup, Taco Salad, Cottage Pie (based on beef and potatoes), and other healthy versions of family favorites. In fact, don't be surprised if foods that weren't all that well liked by your family soon become welcome dishes. Take the Broccoli, White Bean, and Leek Tart (page 152) as an example. You may be thinking that your family doesn't eat white beans or broccoli, but when you put them into a creamy tart, they will not only eat these healthy foods but they'll actually like them! In terms of time, this plan falls somewhere between the "Quick and Easy" and the "Kitchen Connoisseur" plans. You don't have to follow the meal plans to the letter, of course. You can simply browse the section for recipes that will go over big at your dinner table.
No matter which plan you choose, you can be confident that you'll be getting all the nutrients you need. Each meal has been composed to ensure that you get the perfect balance of fat, carbs, and protein, and the plans are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Why is this so important? Often, when someone fills up on empty calories (like a mound of French fries) or even has a relatively healthy dish that's missing a satisfying element, such as a whole grain roll, brown rice, or other complex carbohydrate, they tend to be more prone to grazing or snacking throughout the day. The end result: they take in more calories. These meals, on the other hand, will keep you satisfied and full, and will therefore help you cut your calorie intake. (Not to mention that these recipes also fit perfectly into the Best Life plan, a three-phased program to help you lose weight and live healthier. To learn more about the program, check out the revised and updated edition of The Best Life Diet [Simon & Schuster, 2009] or the companion Web site, www.thebestlife.com.)