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Avoid This: Grabbing Dinner on the Run
A Brown Medical School study found that 20-somethings eat about 25 percent more fast food than they did as teens. But drive-through dependence typically leads to weight gain, as well as heart disease: Fast food can be high in trans fats, which boost the "bad" (LDL) cholesterol levels that potentially cause fatty deposits to develop in your blood vessels. Instead of heading to your favorite takeout spot, try whipping up quick meals at home.

O food editor Michelle Shih suggests these novice-friendly cookbooks:

In the Small Kitchen by Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine
These former bloggers know from experience that 20-somethings don't have an unlimited budget; the chatty pair offer tips for preparing meals that won't drain your bank account.

How to Cook Everything: The Basics by Mark Bittman
The New York Times food columnist walks you through broiling fish, roasting chicken wings, and baking pizza, with instructional photos along the way.

Aida Mollenkamp's Keys to the Kitchen
If you've got the basics down, check out the Food Network star's in-depth manual. She gives advice on how to shop smarter, then moves on to recipes like inventive salads and mac and cheese.

Next: Dr. Oz's 24 smart strategies for feeling great at every age
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As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

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