Just Tell Me What to Eat – Book Review

Just Tell Me What to Eat approaches weight loss from a different angle. Dr. Timothy Harlan has set up a six-week plan that tells the reader exactly what to eat and how much, while keeping it flexible.

The subtitle of Just Tell Me What to Eat is “The Delicious Six-Week Weight Loss Plan for the Real World”. The delicious part is quite accurate. Each day of the six weeks, Dr. Harlan offers recommendations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with explaining a key point of eating healthy.

For instance, day one’s discussion is “eat whole grains with some protein and fruit for breakfast (and don’t skip breakfast)”. Then he goes into detail on why he recommends that combination for breakfast and why you shouldn’t skip breakfast. He lists combinations of foods and their serving sizes for breakfast, along with tips about choosing higher fiber and low-sugar cereals and granola.

Day one continues with a veggie-filled sandwich for lunch and the recipe for the sandwich. (Yes, it’s simple, but it’s still there.)

The part of the book that impressed me the most was the dinner section of each day. Dr. Harlan has a recipe for every evening of the six weeks. He recommends that we cook at home as much as possible, but recognizes that time constraints and the enjoyment of going out to eat (somebody else does the dishes) means that a lot of us don’t eat at home every night.

The recipe for day one is fettucine alfredo with shrimp and broccoli. It’s a quick and easy recipe that takes less than thirty minutes to prepare. Nutrition facts are included. At 14 grams of fat, his recipe is less than half the fat of a similar portion of a restaurant fettucine alfredo, but it still tastes rich, like you would want an alfredo sauce to taste.

If the first recipe is completely unappealing, or if you find yourself in a time crunch, he also includes a frozen meal and two restaurant dishes – one at Panera and one at Olive Garden – that make good substitutes.

All the recipes that I tried were delicious. Examples include Roasted Acorn Squash, Cajun Cheeseburger, and Red Beans and Rice. Some of the recipes make leftovers, which are incorporated into other dishes.

The discussions start out fairly broad in the beginning (eat breakfast) and get more specific as the days go by. Day 26 is “eat legumes” along with the reasons why and a list of possibilities. Day 37 discusses coffee and tea and how they’re good for you.

He finishes the six weeks with more recipes for meals. With nearly sixty dinner recipes, this is as much a cookbook as a diet book.

The back of the book contains a food diary and footnotes to support his nutritional statements. Dr. Harlan’s web site allows you to create for free shopping lists designed for your household.

I recommend Just Tell Me What to Eat for its ease of use and tasty recipes.

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