There’s a lot of bang for your keto buck with Carb Manager’s Keto Diet Cookbook: The Easiest Way to Lose Weight Fast with 101 Recipes That You Can Track with QR Codes by Mandy Davis (Page Street Publishing Co., 2020). Presented by the team behind the wildly popular keto diet tracking app Carb Manager, this is their “companion cookbook” to the app. But it’s also beneficial to keto cooks who don’t use the app because it covers the keto-food gamut. Within its pages are info about the keto diet, meal planning, and recipes for every meal and everything in between. Want to know if this keto cookbook is for you? Read on!
About the Author
Author Mandy Davis co-founded the Carb Manager keto-diet tracking app with her husband Kevin in 2010 while they were living healthily in Hawaii and wanting a way to track their healthy eating. Since its founding, they have evolved the app to help with everything from tracking your macros to tracking intermittent fasting, exercise, and more. If you’re familiar with the app, you also know they started adding recipes in 2017 and never looked back.
Carb Manager’s Keto Diet Cookbook instantly exudes more substance than most keto cookbooks. Pages are dense, writing is small, and the introduction goes straight into what you need to know about the keto diet.
It also notes that occasionally recipes include a touch of an ingredient that isn’t allowed on a super-strict keto diet, such as honey, onion or carrots. While such ingredients are limited, it’s part of Carb Manager’s neutral philosophy on whether you eat strict keto, dirty keto, or clean keto. That said, the recipes do rely heavily on whole, wholesome ingredients to make yummy, keto-compatible results.
Also in the intro are tips on ingredients (high-quality, nutrient-dense) and definitions for the icons included in each recipe; they indicate whether recipes are 30 minutes or less to prepare, dairy-free, paleo, vegetarian, or “6+” grams of net carbs.
Next up is a brief primer on meal planning and food logging, complete with sample 3-day meal plans and answers to commonly asked questions.
Then, it jumps straight into recipes.
Most, but not all, include a pretty, full-page photo of the dish in question. But all include the following extra elements that really help for keto cooking and tracking:
- Amount of net carbs big and bold, right under the recipe title
- Any of the aforementioned icons that apply to the dish in question
- Prep time
- Cook time
- Amount the recipe makes or serves or both
- The weight of a serving
- Macros per serving including: calories, total carbs, net carbs, fiber, protein, fat
- A QR code you can scan, which will take you to the recipe on their app; it includes reviews and questions, more photos, and more nutrients info
- A tip or bit of helpful information about the recipe or a recipe ingredient
The info is neatly tucked primarily into a strip down the side of each page, making it easy to focus on the cooking, if you wish, or the data, if desired.
Recipes are grouped in unique ways, not always following convention. Chapters include:
- Morning Food (think pancakes, quiche, smoothies, muffins)
- Quick & Easy (kind of random since it features everything from a Thai omelette to walnut and blue cheese spaghetti)
- Splendid Suppers (chicken-fried steak, crispy tofu bowl, Philly cheesesteak skillet)
- Batch Cooking & Make Aheads (coriander-lime chicken kebabs, pepperoni pizza, tuna steaks with sour soy mushrooms)
- Hearty Salads & Soups (deluxe taco salad, shrimp noodles with coconut broth, mixed berry poppyseed vinaigrette)
- Satisfying Sides (toasted sesame shirataki noodles, orange-ginger edamame, radish au gratin)
- Savory Snacks (cheesy breadsticks, BLT chicken snack cups, cucumber, egg and lox bites)
- Sweets & Fat Bombs (coconut, lime, and raspberry fat bombs; pine nut biscotti, almond panna cotta)
After the recipes, you’ll find a concise pantry list of keto essentials. But for the time- or talent-crunched home cook, perhaps the best part about this book is that the recipes are very easy to prepare, made from common ingredients, and are tasty, and easy to modify to your liking, if desired. In fact, as foundation recipes, they may even give you a starting place for venturing further in your own creative cooking.
Want to try a few recipes? Check these out:
Raspberry Cheesecake Breakfast Pots
Mini Chai-Spiced Cheesecakes
Cream of Cauliflower Soup
What You’ll Learn
Along with several new dishes you’ll want to put into rotation, you’ll get lots of tips for keto cooking.
What We Like
The ease and accessibility of the recipes are awesome. They take little time and use readily available ingredients. We also like that the recipes focus on wholesome, good-quality foods that are tasty enough that you don’t need to go “dirty” to find satisfaction. Clear, bright photos give you a good idea of what you’re aiming for.
Room for Improvement
Occasionally, a recipe could benefit from more seasoning. But on the bright side, that’s easily remedied; just season to your liking!
Also, every now and then we stumbled upon a recipe that didn’t offer a serving size (compound butters or blueberry-lemon pancakes, for example); but you can figure it out if you read the weight.
The Final Word
Carb Manager’s Keto Diet Cookbook has tons of simple, totally doable, and tasty keto recipes, all of which include data to help you best track your macros and keto diet. The wide variety of dishes gives you more than enough ideas on what to cook next to stay satisfied and on keto.