Jane Brody's Good Food Book, Living the High-Carbohydrate Way (W. W. Norton: $19.95, 700 pp., illustrated).

Chances are, in today's calorie-conscious times you know of someone who has considered making some changes in their diet. Whether already on the road to eating more nutritiously or just looking for a few ways to get started on a healthier eating regimen, Jane Brody's Good Food Book is a good place to start.

The book begins with basic information on good nutrition, offering some helpful reasons why we should be changing the way we eat. There is a discussion of the shortcomings of our diets, which includes a back-to-basics notion of eating wisely. Brody also addresses our preoccupation with fat, protein, sugar and salt and the need for cutting back on these abused substances.

The main thrust of the book, though, deals with the essentials of high-carbohydrate health and how we can eat more and weigh less. The section "A New Focus on Starchy Foods" discusses fiber, complex carbohydrates (including pasta, potatoes, beans and grains) and recommends nuts and seeds as quality sources of protein. Low-calorie feasts made of vegetables and fruits, ways of curbing a sweet tooth, and sodium-free seasoning mixes to make at home are are all followed up with a variety of hints to get you cooking more wholesomely.

The recipes, in general, are slimmed-down versions of traditional recipes--most with wholesome ingredients exchanged for fat and salt-ridden prepackaged varieties. Whole-wheat flour, herbs, yogurt, milk, poultry, fish and other low-fat ingredients are substituted in recipes in which mayonnaise, beef, pork, salt and all-purpose flour are typical, and the recipes do not require hours of preparation. Red meat is treated like an accompaniment in the recipes, featured in small proportions, whereas vegetables, beans and grains are the main ingredients of the recipe.

There are suggestions for some tasty vegetable salads with no- or low-calorie dressings, breads, sweets and beverages for the health-conscious as well as breakfast and dinner entree recipes like cabbage-stuffed Cornish hens, Greek chicken with cheese and meat loaf with shredded vegetables and half-the-beef tacos.

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