Recipes for success prove informative and fun

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2012, 12:00am


Cook This, Not That! 350-Calorie Meals
Rating 7/10

This is the latest release in a series of books, apps and quizzes spun off from the 2007 restaurant food guide created by a team of Men's Health editors.

The overarching concept is that you shouldn't need to diet if you can make informed choices about what you eat. This handy app, aimed at the home cook, works in two ways: you get low-calorie recipes and also a look at what a similar meal could cost you - in dollars and in calories - in a restaurant, or if bought from a supermarket.

However, before I got a chance to be shocked by the 'not that' calorie counts, the US$4.99 cost of this app shook me a little. Once downloaded, however, I began to feel a little more relaxed about my purchase. The recipes are divided into meal-type categories, such as 'Breakfast', and food-type categories, think 'Pizza & Pasta', which is not a category you expect on a weight-loss app.

This goes to show that it is portion size and the extra ingredients that make all the difference. Take spaghetti, for example: the 'cook this' version comes in at 370 calories per serving and even contains bacon; the 'not that' version has 1,270 calories with 3,090mg of sodium. It's mind-boggling what has gone into the branded 'not that' version to make the difference.

Recipe ingredients can be posted onto a grocery list which you can e-mail to yourself for printing later.

As advertised, the recipes work out to about 350 calories per serving - give or take 100 calories. If you know that you need to be on a diet of, say, 1,200 calories a day to lose weight, you can still treat yourself to three tasty meals.

While I found this app to be great fun to use, I would rather recommend purchasing the book upon which it is based. It costs a bit more at US$13.57 (excluding delivery) from, but you get a lot more background information on food health, and a real cookbook is substantially more practical in the kitchen.