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In “Now Eat This,” Chef Rocco Dispirito Makes Over America’s Favorite Comfort Foods

now eat this

Check-out Rocco’s much-anticipated follow-up, in our review of the Now Eat This! Diet, released March 22, 2011.

If you ask me what my favorite foods are, all the healthy living aside, I will tell you without hesitation they are fried chicken and baked macaroni and cheese. For dessert, I would likely choose a fat brownie. Now a meal like that would set me back well beyond a day’s worth of 2,000 calories, and double the 65g of recommended total fat per day. That’s why I never eat these foods.

So when I opened “Now Eat This,” the newest cookbook from Chef Rocco Dispirito, and found that I could have fried chicken, mac ‘n cheese and a brownie for less than 500 calories and less than 20g of fat, I was very interested. And I think you will be, too!

A few years ago, Rocco realized he’d put on about 30 pounds. That’s what happens when you work around food for more than 25 years; in Rocco’s case, really good food. So he set-out to change that, calling himself “a latecomer to the diet/exercise weight loss experience.” He says his body protested, carrying 20 percent body fat, but he pushed through with the help of a trainer and a dedicated fitness plan. He followed a modified Atkins diet, gave up alcohol and carbs and stuck to high-protein eats. That, plus double-cardio sessions six days a week, helped him get back in shape, and take on a triathlon and an iron man.

heba and chef rocco

Biggest Loser 6's Heba Salama with Chef Rocco Dispirito

Soon thereafter, Biggest Loser came calling, and invited Rocco to be a guest chef on season 5 (and again for season 6 and 7). They asked him to make healthier versions of the contestants favorite comfort foods, which in “Now Eat This” he calls “bad boy foods” or “downfall dishes.” Rocco tells us that Biggest Loser gave him “the most impossible parameters I’ve ever been challenged with” to create these recipes: no fat, no sugar, no cholesterol, no salt, and no artificial ingredients. But he did it, and did it well. In fact he modified the Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt he prepared for contestant Mark Kruger and published it in “Now Eat This.”

Between his Biggest Loser experience and his personal weight loss, Rocco became motivated to write “Now Eat This.”

“I was angry that there weren’t cookbooks out there that addressed how to make food healthy and taste good at the same time,” he tells us, “You’d think with all the experts out there, and the amount of chefs writing cookbooks, someone would say ‘Hey I can make fried chicken three or four hundred calories less and still make it taste pretty good.’” So he asked himself, “Why don’t I put my money where my big mouth is?”

Believe me, he did. “Now Eat This” features “150 of America’s favorite comfort foods.” Rocco says he could have guessed at what those were, but enlisted the help of Twitter to identify what these recipes should be. Then he set to work, testing as many as eight recipes each week in his kitchen (down to one every three weeks when he got to desserts because of the difficulty in “breaking the code”). The result is a collection of recipes that are all under 350 calories, low in fat and no sugar.

Not to downplay the difficulty in making these healthier versions of our bad boy favorites, but cutting the calories and fat does seem accomplishable when you try; for instance, his faux frying technique that makes many of his recipes possible. But eliminating sugar completely and retaining the flavor? That seems like a task. Rocco admits it was “relatively easy” and notes that his recipes call for readily-available ingredients like all-natural Truvia, Splenda (“for those who don’t care about the chemicals”), agave nectar and relying on the natural sweetness in foods.

Chef Rocco's brownies from "Now Eat This" have only 53 calories per serving.

Chef Rocco's brownies from "Now Eat This" have only 53 calories per serving.

In addition to his favorites of the fried chicken and mac ‘n cheese, he calls the “Now Eat This” Brownies the hero of the book. He was able to get this sinful dessert down to an astonishing 53 calories and 1.6 g of fat per serving. How? He used black beans because “They are a high quality ingredient, tremendous nutritional value, full of fiber, that provides me with a texture I need to make brownies and chocolate chip cookies taste like they were made from flour and fat.”

His insider recommendation: chill the brownies and eat them the next day, he says they are remarkable that way. Rocco also says this about the brownies: “They can be an all day snack bar because they are high protein, high fiber… very little fat, there’s no downside to eating those, you could eat 10 per day.”

One of Rocco’s other favorite foods is bacon, one he says “I don’t want to live without.” When he began experimenting, he says “turkey bacon wasn’t good enough.” That’s when he found the Hormel Real Bacon Bits, which made the 331 calorie Spaghetti Carbonara possible. He says they render, or blot, the bacon which reduces the fat about fifty percent.

“Now Eat This” is as family-friendly as it is dinner party-friendly, making this an essential for any home cook who wants to enjoy and serve favorite comfort foods without sacrificing health, quality or flavor. You’re bound to find several of your personal favorites revamped in this colorful new cookbook.

Order “Now Eat This” for yourself. To win one of two copies, leave a comment below telling us why your kitchen needs this book. (Two winners will be selected Tuesday, Mar. 9, 2010.) Winners selected were Yvette and Lori.

Try Now Eat This! Recipes

Rocco’s Brownies

Flash-Fried Finger-Lickin’ Chicken

Try these Biggest Loser recipes by Chef Rocco:

Season Six Recipes

Thanksgiving Recipes

Fast-Food Alternative Recipes

February 25th, 2010

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(Page 1 of 1, 42 total comments)

Brian Myslinski

I was put on blood presure medicine, I was at that time 6'0" and 305lbs. I decided to lose weight and in 6 months i have lose Approx 50 lbs. we reduced our portions, switched to low fat or fat free where posible. eat fruit and vegtibles as snacks, We need a way to make dinners interesting and good tasting. I saw Rocco's segment on Nate Berkus show and would like to try his cook book!

posted Mar 5th, 2012 5:57 pm


I need a copy of this book because I am fat, I enjoy sweets and I can't control it.

posted Nov 19th, 2011 7:22 pm

Christine Colton

My husband was just diagnosed with diabetes and since i'm the sole cook , i really need some guidance.

posted Oct 4th, 2011 10:57 am

Gary Hardgrave

I would like Rocco and others to know that I have lost 18 pounds in 20 days using the Now Eath This Diet book. I even went to the Count Fair twice. All of the food has been great. Not fond of the cookies and cakes except for the lemon bars. Really enjoy the shakes/smoothies and coconut mango bars for snacks/mini meals.

posted Sep 10th, 2011 11:14 pm

Sebastien Gilbert

Does "Now Eat This" by Chef Rocco Dispiritio exist in French? i'm french person and i would like have this book , but in french thank you

posted Jul 1st, 2011 7:11 am


I am a mother a divorced mother of two. My son is 8 and my daughter 5 I have struggled with my weight my entire life. Before getting pregnant with my son I had lost over 100 pds and kept it off for 2 years. I had a high risk pregnancy and was put on heart medication for me and the baby for the last 6 mths of my pregnancy. Since having my first child my weight is a major issue. I recently began asking my pediatrician to due blood work on my 8 year old son because he was gaining weight constantly. It didn't matter how hard I tried to change what we were eating or how much exersice we had he still gained. After 3 apts with the dr he agreed to do bloodwork. I recieved a call from the dr's office setting us up an appointment with a gastroenterologist who did more blood work. We are now seeing a nutrionist monthly. We were told that if we didn't change our lifestyle and the way we eat my son would be insulin dependent by the age of 15. I would not only like to have this cookbook but would keep it on my cabinet top and use it. Thank you for reading.

posted Apr 26th, 2011 12:36 pm


i woul like to try it its all natural

posted Apr 17th, 2011 12:23 pm


Not sure how to rate this one to be honest. First thing we tried was the browns (who wouldn't). I was disappointed. They we're flat and didn't have much of that brownie texture. Now they didn't taste like the black beans but they didn't have that chocolate brownie taste either. I would rather not have brownies then eat these brownies.
Then next thing we tried was the chicken parm. recipe. I WAS impressed by it because I learned that I can have something other then just baked chicken with out going over board with calories and fat. There are lots of snack ideas but be warned, if you are not someone that wants to cook or you don't want to or can't find out of the ordinary items like Agave Nectar, Stevia, Xantium Gum then you may not want to purchase this book.

posted Apr 14th, 2011 2:46 pm


has anyone used something else for the agave nectar in the recipe's. Couldn't find it and all of the recipe's need it.

posted Apr 10th, 2011 12:16 pm


Tried the red velvet bars - I couldn't stand them & neither could my husband. Could taste the beets & beans in the finished product. Next I tried the lemon bars. The recipe calls for 5 packets of Stevia in the filling. They were HIDEOUS! I'm hoping the main dishes will be better than the desserts!

posted Apr 10th, 2011 12:02 am

Geena Romano NYC

Geena from N.Y.C. here.NJ Tri-State.
i want to say by adding such fruit multiple times to diet again the spring months summer i already am losing weight. i was thinking bout going to get LIPO or a tummy tuck but i am going to wait,i love trying to do things on my own first.
i love this book already,and i am tall so i carry fat well, but losing more now as i want to in my late 30s's-40 y.o.
face always look25 i am told but just got to work on the big belly area, and it is goin down alot ROCCO book i think will help me more!

i just watch chef rocco di spirito on the CBS SHOW THE DOCTORS OMG THE WAY HE SAID THE GRAPEFRUIT,WITH THE BROWNIES ON THE SAME DAY TYPE OF CALORIES TRAY,WITH THE FACT SURE YOU ARE ABLE TO HAVE YOUR FRUIT but also can have a few DOUBLE CHOCOLAT CHIP FUDGE COOKIES,or chocolate chip bake cookies,so i am DEFINIITELY goin to be adding this to my wish lish to buy a book that is helpful to me,i hope i can just download it to I POD or on my netbook to save,print it out,or will just buy book.

My friend she bake 1 x a week homemade and or duncan hines brownies,eat maybe a few a week then toss the rest out,and she is still losing minimum 1 to 2 pounds a week by just remembering to add ALOT of fruit daily
snacking on that and veggies 2 to 3 serving a week,so good luck to all. book sound so great.but the way the brownies comments here i will maybe steer clear from. cookies i am most hook on it seem and i will be baking this weekend on my 1 cheat day to eat what i want but still within moderation,as ROCCO SAY today on the DR. show"your able to really still eat whatever you want"your fave at times just well within such MODERATION i am going 2 keep doin just that. got a belly with flanks,but BOTH are going down since losing weight so i will keep trying to eat right and order this great sounding book,to HEALTHIER EATING without lose my taste and flavor in food i love that the best.with lots of water drinking now 6 to 8 glasses per day.except cheat day lol sat. or sun. i have a Sunkist soda my fave 1x or again bake my cake or cookies,and i am still losing weight.good luck to all.

posted Apr 8th, 2011 9:54 am

Donna wilson

My entire family needs this book! We are older
Parents and have a 4 yr old. We are obese and
we don't want to teach her our bad habits.

posted Apr 7th, 2011 3:45 pm

catjo narron

Both hubby & I have hypertension & diabetes. I have heart disease (CAD) which required quadruple bypass surgery in 3/09. I am trying to do all that I can to prevent this from recurring & for my loved ones never to need it! i have had a weight gain of 22# in a little less than a year. Bought a mag w/several of Rocco's recipes in it, can't wait to try them, & I will be cooking at least one tomorrow. the cookbook would benefit our lifestyle only for good & would enable us to aim for greatness in the way we eat, work out & hopefully inspire others. thanks!!!

posted Mar 28th, 2011 2:37 am


Can you download Eat This to an iPad?

posted Mar 24th, 2011 2:00 pm

Maxine F

I did cook the chicken parmigiano as I said I would and it was delicious!
I now feel confident about the book and I will try many more recipes. No more brownies though and I'm leary about the other desserts. I will read ongoing reviews for info.

posted Feb 16th, 2011 1:32 am

Maxine F.

I was thrilled with the concept and the pictures. Tried the brownies first (the black bean recipe) They did not raise at all, actually looked like cracked dried mud.
Not horrible, but disappointing.
I am making chicken today. I am hopeful...

posted Feb 15th, 2011 4:13 pm


I have not had a chance to get the cookbook yet, but I have tried many of his recipe's and love them so I am excited to see where this book brings me!

posted Feb 8th, 2011 4:08 am


this is a Great Cook Book! My Partner and I purchased it a month ago and made several of the recipes from it. I go to the gym and walk and the treadmill and cook his recipes. We make them for dinner and because they are serving for 4 we split the other 2 servings for lunch the following day. I have lost 20 pounds in a month and my partner lost 8 pounds just from eating the food I cook out of the book

posted Oct 24th, 2010 2:43 am


I love this cookbook! I bought it a month ago and since have cooked about half the recipes. In fact, I have made the chicken pot pie, eggplant manicotti, and creamed spinach and black bean soup a few times. I like that everything is so easy and has only a few ingredients so once you stock your pantry you are good to go. I have the onion and leek quiche cooling now bit it looks wonderful!

posted Sep 17th, 2010 1:15 am


To the comment mentioning the portion size in the book...each recipe starts by saying that the recipe makes 4 or 8 or 12 before it lists the ingredients. Maybe that will help!

posted Sep 6th, 2010 9:55 pm

Shelly Zaninovich

This cookbook is really an amazing answer to eating healthy for the long haul. I've been ever frustrated at cooking one meal for my family and eating something much less desirable but lower calorie for myself. I've found using this cookbook to be a perfect bridge between eating healthy and eating delicious food.
I've cooked almost a dozen recipes from this cookbook and (aside from the brownies) have found every one to be delicious. My family has eaten each dish with delight and enthusiasm (esp. the flash fried chicken). In addition, by using some of Rocco's substitution methods for ingredients (such as Greek yogurt and cornstarch) I've taken some of my own recipes and given them a low cal. makeover. I would definitely recommend this cookbook for all families who want to eat healthy and still enjoy food at any age for a lifetime!

As for the brownies, like others who have commented, I found them lacking in flavor and was disappointed that they didn't look like the picture in the book. I added more splenda for flavor and substituted half of the egg substitute for stiffly whipped egg whites to make a more appealing texture and they turned out much better.

posted Aug 23rd, 2010 2:33 pm


My first try with the brownies wasn't spectacular either, but I'm going to try again, adding just a spoonful or two more of Splenda (they were nice and chocolatey, just not sweet enough).

Everything else I've made from this book so far - the meatloaf, chicken parm, and the loaded potato skins - has been delicious.

posted Aug 18th, 2010 9:40 am


I made the brownies even after reading all the negative feedback. I added a few tablespoons of dark chocolate chips on top. The texture is different, it reminded me of chocolate cheesecake without the cheese. Next time I will substitute the espresso powder for hazelnut instant coffee. My son loves them and if eaten in little bits it cures the chocolate craving I find.

posted Jun 2nd, 2010 7:11 pm


the first recipe i tried was the brownies, which should be called BAD black bean brownies. There has to be something missing, they look nothing like the picture. Does a brownie really have 1500 calories!

posted May 23rd, 2010 5:10 pm

Robin Plummer

I would love this book cause I had a heart attack and my Dr said I needed to lose some weight.

posted May 9th, 2010 4:43 pm


Black Bean Brownies
This might sound strange, but these brownies actually come out rich and fudgy. They are low fat, high in fiber and protein and no one would know there are beans in them. These brownies are only 2 pts each. A great way to eat dessert with out packing on the pounds!
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 20 servings â?˘ Serving Size: 1 brownie â?˘ Calories: 194 â?˘ Points: 2 ww points

* 1 can (15 oz.) black beans
* 1 box brownie mix

Open can of beans, drain and rinse well. Put beans back in the can and fill can with water. Put beans and water in blender until smooth. Mix pureed beans with brownie package mix. DO NOT add eggs or oil. Spray baking dish with Pam. Cook brownies according to package directions. Cool and serve.

posted May 3rd, 2010 4:14 pm


the brownies didnt even look like the ones he had on tv shows. and they taste like beans. yukky wish i had read all the bad reviews before i bought the book.

posted Apr 26th, 2010 12:46 pm

Liz Johnson

I noticed there are no portion sizes listed for any of the receipes in the "Now Eat This" cook book. Am I missing something or is this information omitted?

posted Apr 24th, 2010 7:26 pm

Kristy Crawford

I love your thinking. I am so happy your doing this because I believe we are not gonna stay eating things we don't like so why not try to make the things we do like healthier. I have high cholesterol and an over weight preteen so this book will help so much and I have been telling my friends about cookies made with white beans. I can't wait to try it and show them it can be done. Thanks

posted Apr 23rd, 2010 3:42 pm


Denise Conn, be sure to check out your local Walmart. I have purchased Agave nectar as well as Truvia from mine. If they happen not to carry it, you can try Whole Foods. Any time I have attempted a recipe and couldn't find ingredients at Walmart, Whole Foods was sure to have it. If you think it is something you might use frequently, try ordering your agave nectar from They sell it in bulk on there, and it turns out to be more cost effective.

posted Mar 22nd, 2010 2:05 pm

Denise Conn

Just got the book "now eat this" noticed ingredients that are not found in regular stores Where can things such as 99% unsweetened chocolate, agave nectar, dark chocolate covered cacao nibs and other not some common ingredients be found

posted Mar 13th, 2010 10:35 pm

angie huffman

i have multiple sclerosis and am looking for a nutritional aide to help me reduce inflammation in my body and control all the auto immune things going on in addition to the ms. i believe healthy nutrition and getting away from diet sodas, sugar, and carbs would help that

posted Mar 4th, 2010 9:04 am

Ryann C.

I am thrilled about this book! As a nutritionist, my clients are always looking for fantastic recipes that will allow them to continue their weight loss efforts without sacrificing flavor and quality. Rocco's book is sure to be one that I will recommend often.

posted Mar 3rd, 2010 6:40 pm

Michelle G.

A friend of mine just told me about this cookbook. I am trying to lose weight but have an issue with food - I really like to eat! :) Whether I win or not, I amgoing to get this cookbook!

posted Mar 3rd, 2010 2:17 pm


I had the pleasure of meeting Rocco at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival and when I told him that brownies were my biggest downfall, he suggested the recipe to me. I was hesitant to try brownies made with beans, but proceeded witht he recipe anyway. Let me tell you, I do not regret it! Don't let the beans scare you away from the recipe. You will end up missing out on something wonderful!

posted Mar 3rd, 2010 11:42 am

Yvette Kuhns

I saw Rocco on GMA this morning and enjoyed watching people eating the low-calorie meals. Sam Champion really loved the brownies. I actually baked brownies after watching the show, but unfortunately it was the old, fattening recipe. My family really could use new recipes for the foods we enjoy.

Since getting married, I have gained one dress size for every year I was married. Next month, we will be married 14 years! I was 122 pounds and now I am over 200 pounds and only 5 ft 5 in tall. My husband LOVES to cook and is over 270 pounds. Our son is 12 years old and 157 pounds. It is difficult to believe that I was 27 years old when I got married and still wearing clothes from high school and now I am the same size as my mother. It will be difficult for everyone to change eating habits, but we need to do it.

We host holiday dinners at our home and need to make changes to accommodate my father who has diabetes and other health issues after battling lung cancer. We have been looking for low calorie recipes for delicious comfort foods. If it doesn't taste yummy, we will go back to our old recipes. We trust that Rocco's recipes will help our family continue to enjoy meals and eat healthier.

Thank you, Chef Rocco!

posted Mar 2nd, 2010 5:02 pm

Kathy Sizemore

I saw Rocco on GMA this morning, his fried chicken, mac and chees and brownies caught my interest...I have been trying to lose weight for some time and need to be able to prepare foods for myself and my family that are delicious but still high in protien and fiber, this really gives me some good ideas and I would like to have it to make my quest for good health (for both myself and my husband) more fun and interesting. I would like to know more about Rocco and his journey of weight loss and cooking as well! I will try the recipes and get the cook book

posted Mar 2nd, 2010 2:42 pm


I think this book will be an amazing opportunity to empower my 'inner chef' to think outside the box of prepackaged foods that have become a staple. I believe it will challenge me to support my weight loss journey in new, exciting, and delicious ways.I personally thank Rocco from the bottom of my heart for providing those of us who have had a love-hate relationship with food, a way of trusting that food can be all about love and that same food you love, can be good for you. Thank You!!!

posted Mar 2nd, 2010 1:07 pm


I am so excited and curious to try the recipes in this book, especially those brownies!!!! I am always looking for quality recipes and cook books that require quality, whole food ingredients that are delicious for myself and my clients... And it seems as though this book might just have a little bit if that magic everyone is so determined on finding!!

posted Mar 2nd, 2010 11:09 am


I'm in the process of trying to lose weight. It's terribly difficult as I've never really acquired a taste for bland, super-healthy food. I need my tasty, comfort foods! I'd love to have Rocco's new book to help me with my journey!

posted Mar 2nd, 2010 11:01 am

Charly Johnston

My family is desperate for a change. I am over weight and currently pregnant. Although I can't diet, I want to eat healthy and lighter so that I don't gain any more weight with this baby since I don't need to. We love the high calorie foods and try to avoid them and then go on binges on vacations, but it takes a long time to return to eating healthy. If we could eat more healthy while eating foods that we love, We would do it! Thank you for this book! I can't wait to try the recipes!!!

posted Mar 2nd, 2010 10:48 am

Donna B.

I'm morbidly obese and have been trying for years to lose weight without sucess - I'm a comfort-food junkie. This cookbook would allow me to indulge my taste buds, but eat healthier.

posted Mar 2nd, 2010 9:49 am


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