Author focuses on healthy eating in family-centred cookbook

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Books/Food

Rose Reisman's ongoing quest to change poor eating habits is, she says, not unlike the campaign to clamp down on smoking.

"It took a whole 20 years for people to get the message of how dangerous smoking is to their health," says the Toronto author of 16 cookbooks, mother of four and a strong proponent of healthy eating and living.

Rose Reisman's ongoing quest to change poor eating habits is, she says, not unlike the campaign to clamp down on smoking.

"It took a whole 20 years for people to get the message of how dangerous smoking is to their health," says the Toronto author of 16 cookbooks, mother of four and a strong proponent of healthy eating and living.

"Now, every day we are being bombarded by news that kids are displaying symptoms of Type 2 diabetes as well as high blood pressure and cholesterol in their teens," she says.

She blames these early-onset health issues on people's regular consumption of processed foods that are high in fat, salt and calories.

Her response to the concern is outlined in her new cookbook, "Rose Reisman's Family Favorites: Healthy Meals for Those Who Matter Most" (Whitecap, $29.95 paperback).

"It is a matter of getting back into the kitchen and to get our families to the table to eat, which should be one of the basic rights of any family," she says.

Reisman, who owns a catering company offering only healthy menus, as well as her restaurant Glow in suburban Don Mills, says that "it's a lot easier to work on preventative measures than to treat the negative symptoms later.

"If you can make food taste good and be healthy, you are educating people's tastebuds so that there is not much salt or fat and you had better give it flavour," she says.

The cookbook has 270 recipes offering nutritious and quick meals that are perfect for any family. Reisman gives advice on how to eat well, whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks.

Nutritional analysis accompanies every recipe. She has choices for when families or individuals eat out, shop for food and explains diet and health fads and packaged foods.

Here is Reisman's simple recipe for homemade macaroni and cheese.

"Please forget the boxed version," she writes. "They can stay on your shelves for years!"

Mac 'n' Cheese

250 g (8 oz) dried macaroni shells

175 ml (3/4 cup) chicken or vegetable stock

250 ml (1 cup) 2 per cent milk

30 ml (2 tbsp) all-purpose flour

Pinch each salt and pepper

45 ml (3 tbsp) grated Parmesan cheese

175 ml (3/4 cup) shredded cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add macaroni. Boil until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and place in a serving bowl.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, stir together stock, milk and flour. Whisk until flour is dissolved. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper, Parmesan and three-quarters of the cheddar cheese. Cook for 1 minute.

Pour over macaroni, mix well and garnish with remaining cheddar.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information per serving (values have been rounded to nearest whole number): 368 calories, 18 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 2 g fibre, 9 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 30 ml cholesterol and 386 mg sodium.

Geographic location: Toronto, Don Mills

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