How long till I burn off that breakfast: A Q&A with the authors of 'The Calories In, Calories Out Cookbook'


Calories In Calories Out Poached Pear

Related Articles

The Calories In, Calories Out CookbookEating healthy can be hard. What do I eat? How many calories are in that slice of cake? How long will it take to burn off that burger? Should I even eat that burger?

Well worry no more, healthy readers. Because the brains behind "The Calories In, Calories Out Cookbook" have done all the work for you. Catherine Jones, author of "Eating for Pregnancy," and Elaine Trujillo, MS, RDN, have come up with tons of recipes for any time of day. All of them are under 400 calories, and better yet, each recipe tells you how long it will take to walk or jog that meal off.

(Click the link to buy the book: The Calories In, Calories Out Cookbook: 200 Everyday Recipes That Take the Guesswork Out of Counting Calories - Plus, the Exercise It Takes to Burn Them Off)

We had the chance to catch up with Catherine and Elaine and pick their brains about the book, healthy eating and — maybe most important — how to indulge during the holidays.


How did you come up with the concept of the book?

Catherine JonesCatherine: I give credit to my brother, Mark Grove, who is a creative genius. He’s the brain behind the Treehouse Masters show, and many other hits. One day, when I was cooking dinner with him in LA, he turned to me and said: “All I want is a cookbook with really good recipes that won’t make me fat. And, I want to know how many calories I’m eating, so I can burn them off in the gym. Do you think you can do that?” A light bulb went off. I need this book, too, I thought. So here it is. For Mark, me, you, and everyone else trying to lead a healthy and delicious life.


How long did it take you to write the book and figure out the calories in and calories out for each recipe?

Catherine: It took about three years. Developing 200 recipes, testing them and working with 20 recipe testers takes time. Calculating the nutritional breakdowns, Calorie Combos and Calories Out also took some time. My publisher, Matthew Lore, commented that he has never published such an information-dense cookbook. I’ve never written one with this much detail.

Elaine, RDN: To figure out the calorie counts and nutritional information we used computer software, and then we manually calculated the diabetic exchanges and carbohydrate choices. It certainly was time consuming, but both Catherine and I are conscientious and detail-oriented to an extreme. To calculate the Calories Out, we used a reference man and woman from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. We make it a point to tell readers that these numbers are ballpark figures.


How should we take muscle toning into account when using your book?

Elaine, RDN: Aerobic exercise, such as walking and jogging burn more calories than toning exercises. However, muscle toning is also very important to keep you healthy and fit. Toning exercises increase lean body mass, which is metabolically active and burns more calories than adipose or fat tissue. In the “Determining Your Daily Calorie and Exercise Needs” section of the book, we recommend that strengthening exercise be performed twice a week.


How closely do you follow the strategy of the book? Do you work out every day? Do you try to figure out how long you need to work out to burn off the calories from you meals? How strict are you?

Catherine: This book is my meal guide, and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it. I use the recipes every week. My family loves them. To be honest, I don’t count every calorie I consume, but I do keep a tab in the back of my mind daily. If I’m trying to lose a few pounds, I step up my exercise and eat less. I do yoga and meditate every day. I try to jog three to four times a week for 30 minutes. I also love cardio Barre, which is a real workout.

Elaine, RDN: Very closely! I work out most days: biking, yoga or walking and am very aware of my calories in and out. Pounds have a way of sneaking up on me, so I have to be diligent with calorie balance. I am a foodie, so it is difficult not to indulge, and when I do, I cut back in other ways or work out more. For instance, I often have a glass a wine with dinner, but rarely have the dessert.