Book Review – The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You

By | Mar 14, 2011

[This is a guest review by NFCA Healthcare Relations Manager Kristin Voorhees]

It seems like gluten-free cookbooks and specialty diet-based books have become a staple on bookstore shelves as of late, but gluten-free isn’t the only hot topic on the nutritional front. Case in point: Keri Gans’ new book, The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You.

As I mentioned on NFCA’s staff blog, I met Keri a few months ago and immediately took an interest in her book. With a U.S. obesity epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicting “as many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050 if current trends continue,” and high fructose corn syrup a staple in too many products to count, Keri’s book is a necessary reminder that mindful eating and physical activity will always be key ingredients to a healthy lifestyle.

The book doesn’t specifically focus on gluten-free, nor does Keri claim to be an expert despite having a few gluten-free clients, but those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance will have an easy time applying her advice. And with weight gain a common concern for many newly diagnosed celiacs (Hey, I was there 3 years ago!), some may be particularly interested in the healthy way to take control of their weight.

Keri’s 10 steps are simple, straightforward and applicable to even those adhering to a special diet:

1.    Create a healthy eating schedule
2.    Eat more fruits and vegetables
3.    Cut empty beverage calories
4.    Increase fiber intake
5.    Reduce the undercover calories of dressings and sauces
6.    Eat leaner meats
7.    Find the right fats and lose the bad fats
8.    Curb sugar and salt cravings
9.    Stay healthy in social situations
10.    Exercise

Perhaps one of the qualities I like most about The Small Change Diet is that each recommendation is realistic. Keri addresses our quick fix culture head on and challenges her readers to “turn smart habits into second nature.” For those of us living gluten-free, this should ring a bell. Sure, we didn’t have a choice but to change our eating habits overnight. Over time, though, the gluten-free diet becomes second nature. If we can tackle this diet, we can absolutely incorporate other smart habits into our daily routines.

Keri also includes fun lists, charts and a Q&A format, which make her book quick and easy to read.

Whatever excuse or concern you can dream up, I can guarantee that Keri will beat you to the punch. Start reading any chapter and you will find a smart and sensible strategy on how to tackle the problem standing between you, a healthy weight and a balanced food and drink intake.

The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You is available for pre-order now and officially launches tomorrow.  Need another reason to pick it up? Keri includes a recipe for “Best Breaded Chicken” in her new book, and with two quick substitutions, her readers have a gluten-free option!

Best Breaded Chicken
(adapted from The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You, by Keri Gans, MS, RD, CDN)


  • ½ Cup gluten-free oats or quinoa flakes
  • ¼ Cup ground flaxseed*
  • Herbs and spices as desired (Keri writes that she usually uses 1 teaspoon of oregano or ½ teaspoon each of sage and thyme)
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 1 Pound poultry (approx. 4 skinless chicken cutlets)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil


1. Place the gluten-free oats or quinoa flakes in a food processor and process until they have the consistency of flour. Transfer to a shallow bowl, mix in ground flaxseed and herbs, and set aside.

2. Place the egg whites and a drop of water in a large bowl. Stir. Dip chicken into egg whites, then the flour mixture.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add “breaded” chicken and cook for about 10 minutes on each side, until no longer pink.

4. Remove from the pan, blot any excess oil with a paper towel, and serve. Serves four.

*Note: As soon as I read, “ground flaxseed” I was hooked. Last summer, I bought a new black pepper grinder and started grinding fresh whole flaxseeds into whatever meal I was whipping up. Getting my Omega-3’s has never been easier!

2 Comments so far
  1. […] Keri shares research-based tips and advice in each chapter, complete with situational Q&A to challenge the daily, common concerns we all have regarding diet and exercise (kind of like NFCA’s Ask the Dietitian blog). Here are three bits of advice from Chapters 8 and 10 that hit home for me.  See my full review of Keri’s book on NFCA’s product review site, […]

  2. Rita Batheja MS RD CDN March 17, 2011 2:31 am

    Kashi & I are proud of you. Sorry I missed your celebration but I told you I will think of you while skiing on Aspen Mountains. Hope your party went well. Have you kelp aside a bok for me or shall I go to amazon & order one ? Whats the deal ?
    Thanks for escalleting in the field of Nutrition.

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