Healthy food is a rather slippery concept at the best of times. One day we're told a high-protein diet will see us shedding the pounds, the next we're encouraged to ditch meat altogether and go vegan. However, we know that the most common-sense approach to healthy food – plenty of fruit, veg and seafood, not too much saturated fat – is particularly rife in Italian cuisine. No wonder the Mediterranean diet is often praised as one of the healthiest there is.
This collection of healthy Italian recipes raises the bar in terms of taste and nutrition. While a roast chicken in the UK would generally be smothered with butter, Nina Parker relies on decent olive oil, plenty of lemons and a whole head of garlic to flavour her lemon roast chicken recipe.
The long coastline teeming with bountiful seafood also helps to keep Italian food particularly healthy. Salvatore Elefante's grilled octopus recipe is a picture of health, as is Roberto Petza's seafood soup recipe if you're looking for a comforting and nutritious bowlful.
Although many demonise pasta as an unhealthy carb-heavy dish, we trust the Italians on this issue. Unless you're allergic to gluten (in which case you can try Cristina Bowerman's gluten-free pasta recipe) there's nothing wrong with a little pasta, provided you don't over-do it. Lorenzo Cogo's orecchiette recipe, for example, is coated in a vitamin-packed watercress purée, flavoured with aromatic bergamot and finished with some zinc-packed mussels. Not bad on the nutrition front for a bowl of pasta!