Low-Carb & Keto Recipe Books: The Good & The Bad

The low carb trend is becoming more mainstream these days and there are a lot of cookbooks available, a few even hitting The New York Times Best Sellers list last year!  I’ve been slowly going through the list, trying out some recipes and getting inspiration for my own, but there are also some books I wouldn’t want anyone wasting their hard-earned cash on. These books recommended me by Lauren of Lean Optimum. You can absorb few of her ketogenic guides here.

300 15-Minute Low-Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender

“Low-carb doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor or taste.”Dana Carpender

Dana Carpender provides a detailed and accurate introduction to the low carb diet in this cookbook and explains where to purchase hard to find ingredients, as well as describing why they are used. While a few recipes have so many ingredients I can’t quite comprehend how I could throw it together in 15 minutes, she does offer tips on where to cut corners in order to save time without sacrificing flavor, and she provides nutritional values for every meal (a big plus for me).

It’s easy, once you’ve browsed a few pages, to tell Dana has actually made and tasted the recipes. She makes great use of seasonings in otherwise simple dishes and doesn’t skimp on the ingredients to garner lower calorie and carb values. I have a few of Dana’s other books on order and can’t wait to give more of her recipes a try.

Make sure to check out her homemade sauces, marinades and dressings section!

Make it Paleo by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason

“The quality of instruction, description, photography, and-most importantly-gustatory delight is what sets this book apart.” Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint”

I was hesitant to try this cookbook at first, as I find the Paleo diet a little restrictive with its removal of dairy, but this is now my absolute favorite recipe book! I should have expected as much with a foreword from the man himself, Mark Sisson. Bill and Hayley appear to have published the book together and offer a personal introduction on how they met and adapted to the Paleo diet (which I admit I mostly skimmed over. I’m more interested in the recipes but it’s a great touch).

While the book doesn’t supply nutritional data along with the recipes, the pages are filled with notes, tips and difficulty indicators to help you perfect your food and even gives alternatives if you don’t own certain equipment. The pictures in the book appear to be real, which is something important to me.  I feel it’s better to have an imperfect-looking photo and knowing mine will turn out the same, than some glued together, airbrushed and utterly fake stock photo which is becoming all too commonplace.

If you decide to grab this book I recommend the Egg Bake Casserole, Smoky Lime Rib Steaks, and ice cream recipes.  My absolute favorite is the Smoked Paprika Chicken Thighs recipe – totally failsafe!

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Low-Carb Meals by Lucy Beale

An outdated view of low carb, where many recipes have over 50g of carbs per serving. Not recommended for anyone wanting to cut grains from their diet.

I borrowed this book from the library to see what sort of information was available on the most basic level for people interested in a low carb diet. Boy, was I shocked after giving this a read through.

This cookbook has a very liberal approach to low carb, and I mean it’s full of bread and sweets. Apparently anything can be considered low carb if you expect the person making 12 cupcakes to only eat one from the batch for their entire daily nutritional intake. Okay, I’m being a bit mean but I think you’re understanding of my opinion; this book needs a serious overhaul if it’s to address the changing definition of ‘low carb’.

This recipe book is best avoided if you want to lower your intake of bread, pasta, rice and carb-loaded desserts, which it is full of (they even have an entire chapter to chocolate). I suppose it’s not so bad if you’re looking for some cheat recipes but there are better quality cookbooks out there for that!

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