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Sue Gregg Cookbooks: A Comprehensive Wholefoods Cooking System Review by Diane Wheeler

Several months ago, I asked a friend for help with healthier recipes. I had been so tired, and knew that my diet needed some revamping. Her automatic response was, "Oh, get Sue Gregg's books. They are the best." Now I am delighted to have Sue's books in front of me. I can already see that Annette was right. These are thorough and practical cookbooks that use familiar ingredients, take into consideration budgets as well as health, and give over 200 menus and 846 recipes!

The basic set of Sue Gregg Cookbooks includes Breakfasts, Lunches and Snacks, Meals in Minutes, Main Dishes, Soups and Muffins, Desserts, and the Master Index and Menu Planner. Each book has much more than recipes. These books guide you in the transition to healthier, whole food cooking. Sue Gregg began changing her family's diet because of a family health crisis. But the rapid and dramatic change did not thrill her family. She talks of too many "yuck" responses! Thanks to her own experience, she has great suggestions for making a smoother transition by changing ingredients to include healthier alternatives.

The Master Index and Menu Planner is the place to start. Included are planning suggestions, specific recommendations for baby's diet, a chart of sugar grams, and indices for all the basic cookbooks, organized by ingredients, subjects, charts, and recipes.

Breakfasts has recipes for cereal, egg, fruit, shakes n' muffins, waffle/pancake and French toast, and special occasion breakfast menus. There is also a bounty of information on breakfast planning, time savers, nutrition goals, milk alternatives, and details about many different grains. The health bonus section provides details about juicing, oil options and alternatives, flax seeds, and other healthful ingredients.

Lunches and Snacks includes recipes for beverages, breads, crackers, dips and snacks, salads, sandwiches and spreads, soups, and deserts. There is also an extensive section entitled Children's Cookbook. This provides recipes, food preparation directions, a description of equipment, planning charts and guidelines, and a lot of nutritional information. Sue encourages us not to treat cooking and nutrition as an academic subject. She believes, "The best way for children to learn nutritional...principles is through informal discussion while preparing food and while dining together." Much of the Children's Cookbook could be used independently by an older elementary school child, and is easily adapted to teaching younger children to participate in the kitchen.

Meals in Minutes gives tasty, healthy recipes that can be made ahead of time and frozen. We have found eating made-ahead meals is the way that I can teach and feed my family each evening. These are excellent recipes that do not use processed foods as many make-ahead meal plans do. There is also a good summary of freezing guidelines, with concern for flavor as well as safety.

Main Dishes includes recipes with consideration for budgets, low-fat needs, special occasions, warm weather, choices for children, and vegetarian diets, as well as loads of information about nutrition, allergies, and specific ingredients.

Soups and Muffins makes me look forward to cooler evenings and cozy dinners. There are recipes, information about freezing soups, and ingredient alternatives for allergies.

Desserts with Low Fat and Allergy Alternatives is a very helpful volume. Often, satisfying the sweet tooth is the biggest challenge to changing our diets. Sue includes delicious recipes for cakes, cookies, candies, pies, puddings, toppings and sauces. There is an excellent discussion of commercial desserts, and how finding those with high nutritional quality is practically impossible. Learning to cook with healthier ingredients is the solution!

I have found several favorite recipes in each of these cookbooks. Applesauce Cake, Corn Chowder, Simple Granola, Tamale Pie, Cashew Chicken Salad and Savory Eggs are only a few examples of what is in store in the basic set of cookbooks from Sue Gregg.

Now, I confess, I am saving the best for last! Sue offers a CD entitled Cooking with Children that is excellent. Using her Lunches and Snacks cookbook as a text, it has over 70 step-by-step demonstrations for teaching our children the basics of cooking. The photos are well done and the lessons emphasize the hands-on learning that is so effective. Sue jokes on her advertisement, "By age 13, they may even replace mom in the kitchen!" Now, that is a great sales pitch!

You can see all that Sue Gregg offers on her website, Sue and her husband Rich obviously love the Lord and honor Him as the Author of all of life. They remind us often in their writing that God Himself, who created us and the food we love, will give us the strength to make the changes we need in our lives. The Greggs have helped immensely with their excellent cookbooks and teaching tools for our children. I look forward to reaching the goals of healthier eating and accomplished young chefs in my kitchen.

-- Product Review by: Diane Wheeler, Senior Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine