Are you a celebrity watcher? A magazine clipper? A list maker, supplement taker, whole grains baker? No matter what kind of person you are, there's a new diet cookbook to help lay the foundation for that inevitable New Year's resolution.
The 2012 crop of healthy eating books runs the gamut from secrets of the rich and famous to levelheaded lifestyle recommendations and quick-loss programs. Here are a few that crossed our desks.
For celebrity worshippers
— "One Dish at a Time" by Valerie Bertinelli (Rodale Books)
Television actress-turned-Jenny Craig spokeswoman Valerie Bertinelli offers recipes and stories based on her Italian-American upbringing. Dishes such as ribollita, a tomatoey vegetable soup, garlicky linguine and clam sauce and chipotle-spiked bison burgers (from the American side) sound warm and filling enough for a cold winter day. Each recipe offers calorie counts (some of which you'd rather not know — that bison burger will cost you around 600 calories). And for those of you who didn't catch it, the title riffs on Bertinelli's claim-to-fame, the 1975 television show "One Day at a Time." Yes, that's correct, 1975.
— "Now Eat This! Italian" by Rocco DiSpirito (Grand Central Publishing)
Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito's latest installment in his "Now Eat This" series conjures more than 90 Italian dishes, such as chicken parmigiana, lasagna Bolognese and whole-wheat pizza margherita, all under 350 calories. And yes, there is still cheese involved. Even desserts make the cut. A fat-free ricotta cheesecake boasts just 176 calories, and a cannoli, those cream-filled pastry tubes, 136 calories.
For magazine readers
— "The Food Lover's Healthy Habits Cookbook" by the editor's of Cooking Light magazine (Oxmoor House)
More than 250 recipes from the editors of Cooking Light magazine pair with lifestyle changes and a 12-month plan for carrying them out. A solid how-to for people seeking a healthier lifestyle, the emphasis here is on cooking at home and incorporating more fruits, vegetables and grains into your diet. Cooking techniques and introductions to potentially unfamiliar ingredients, such as edamame (soy beans) and the ancient grain farro, are peppered with recipes for dishes such as oatmeal pancakes, the Middle Eastern red pepper dip called muhammara and cinnamon-laced beef tagine with butternut squash.
— "101 Recipes You Can't Live Without" by Lori Powell (Rodale Books)
The nutrition experts at Prevention magazine build their recipes around 13 essential nutrients, such as magnesium and vitamin D. Vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids arrive in a bowl of spaghetti with sardines and caramelized fennel. Roasted pork tenderloin with edamame succotash brings vitamin C and folate. And dark chocolate pudding (with whipped cream) squeaks by with a quarter of your daily calcium. Who doesn't want to feel good about dessert?
For list makers
— "The 7 Day Slim Down" by Alisa Bowman with the editors of Women's Health magazine (Rodale Books)
"Lose 7 pounds this week!" boasts the cover of this book, which offers what it calls "the Vitamin D diet." Based on research that suggests vitamin D promotes weight loss, this diet offers lists, lists, lists: a slim-down shopping list, a day-by-day, meal-by-meal menu list for the first week, and charts for "pick this, not that" and other dieting techniques. Vitamin D-rich dishes such as mushroom, onion and avocado quesadilla, chicken cacciatore with sauteed escarole and beef barley soup are staples here.
— "The Belly Melt Diet" by the editors of Prevention magazine (Rodale Books)
This one's got the others beat, because apparently you can lose 8 pounds in just 3 days. List lovers will gorge on quizzes (What kind of bird are you, lark or owl? Are you getting enough sleep?), lists of nutrient-rich foods and yes, day-by-day, meal-by-meal guidelines. Recipes for dishes such as orzo and chickpea salad, sweet potato and black bean chili and pan-seared salmon over kale sneak in amid copious amounts of text.
For sexy ladies
— "The MILF Diet" by Jessica Porter (Atria Books)
Don't know what MILF means? Don't look it up unless you're OK with profanity. Let's just say it's a reference to attractive older women and leave it at that. This book builds its healthy eating plan around what it considers "MILFy" foods — whole grains, vegetables such as kale and bok choy, plant proteins like lentils, seaweed and fermented foods such as miso. This diet promises not only a youthful body, but a detoxified one with fully raised consciousness. Recipes for dishes like polenta with wild mushrooms, and sea vegetables with onion, carrot and corn are intended to keep you both desirable and desiring.
— "Cook Yourself Sexy" by Candice Kumai (Rodale Books)
The spaghetti-strap camisole on the cover says it all. Author Kumai, a former model and Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, offers recipes for miso-glazed cod with baby bok choy, Dijon-braised Brussels sprouts and oxtail ragu with pappardelle to move you toward a sexier bod (and perhaps even help you cook in high heels and a mini-skirt, as she apparently does).