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It’s really unfortunate that when most people think of healthy food, they think of boiled chicken and vegetables. News flash: You can eat delicious food and still be a lean powerhouse. The trick is eating the right portions with the right ingredients, minus all the nasty additives like hydrogenated oils, butters, sugars, etc.

If you’re new to healthy eating I certainly would not recommend following a cookie cutter diet, but instead I would recommend picking up a few cookbooks and getting down to work in the kitchen. This will make healthy eating a fun learning experience that will be equally delicious without feeling like you are overly restricted.

Below are some of my personal favorite books that will fit a variety of dietary restrictions and lifestyles.

1. It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow

Yes, I know this is Gwyneth we’re talking about, but I actually think this is a pretty great (and beautiful) book. The recipes are simple enough – which means everyone can make them – while being tasty and wholesome. In addition, Paltrow backs up her food claims with experts and science so you know exactly why you are/are not eating something. In addition, the book is flexible for all dietary restrictions from gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and even “elimination” dieters.

2. The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

Angela Liddon’s blog Oh She Glows has been hugely popular in not only the vegan scene but the food scene at large. Her story is pretty inspiring, too. After facing an eating disorder and obsession with eating the least calorically dense foods, Liddon found health and balance through a vegan diet of wholesome foods without restrictions. It’s inspirational for everyone. Her recipes include everything from soups, stews and salads to smarter baked goods.

3. Thug Kitchen Official Cookbook by Thug Kitchen

If you’re easily offended by crude language, this may not be the book for you. But if you’re into it and think healthy eating has gotten too uptight and/or boring these days, this is certainly a great option. You will learn how to make everything from Tex-mex inspired chilaquiles to oatmeal.

4. Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

It’s really a shame that the vegetable gets such a bad rap. Luckily, renowned chefs are now aiming to reinvent and reinvigorate fresh produce by thinking up more elaborate recipes. While these recipes are solely veggie-based, they pack a whole lot of punch. It’s a great way to rethink your sides.

5. The Clean Eating Cookbook & Diet by Rockridge Press

The concept of clean eating can get tricky. For many it really does turn into a snoozefest at meal times, but it doesn’t have to. What does “clean” eating mean anyways? This is a great starting point for many – incorporating both recipes and lifestyle overhaul lessons. After all, what is a great diet if you don’t have the bigger picture?

6. Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes With The 38 Healthiest Ingredients by Whole Living Magazine

If you want to get to know your food better, this is one of your best bets. It’s like the encyclopedia of underrated “super foods” –  like asparagus and salmon and their benefits. The editors present you with some of the healthiest ingredients and then combine them into decadent combinations for every meal of the day. Think you have to give up your spinach artichoke dip? Think again!

7. Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body and Feel Your Best by Martha Stewart Living

Instead of “cleansing” I like to refer to mini diet cleanups as “resetting” – something Martha Stewart and her editors can also agree with. While there are certainly some juice  and smoothie recipes that will start your day in this book, it puts a focus on a plant-based diet with whole foods that are actually filling. The book includes an “eating plan” but I prefer not to use meal plans that are too restricted due to my personal dietary preferences and personality. However, if you like following meal plans to the letter, then feel free to test it out.

8. Healthy In A Hurry by Karen Ansel

For anyone who has a full-time job, hobbies and runs a household you know that while spending hours in the kitchen is certainly fun, it’s also a far-off dream unless done on the weekend. Unfortunately, people make poor food choices when they are feeling rushed. Thankfully, this cookbook aims at showcasing easy concoctions with either few ingredients or few steps. Now you have no excuse.

9. Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables Into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals by Ali Maffucci

A huge trend in healthy eating over the last couple of years has been zoodles – translating to zucchini noodles. All you need is a spiralizer and a veggie of choice and you almost instantly will have a low-carb, craving-busting meal option. This cookbook shows just how many ways you can serve up these noodles without ever getting bored..

SEE ALSO 16 New Ways To Make Oodles Of Noodles

10. More Low Carb Dump Meals by Louis Davidson

Dump meals essentially take an “everything but the kitchen sink approach” – meaning that you just take a bunch of ingredients, throw them together in a pot, cook it up and there you have it. It’s less work, less dishes and less maintenance – all the perfect criteria for staying on track with your healthy eating regimen.

11. The SkinnyTaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

Skinnytaste is one of my other favorite healthy food blogs. Why? The recipes are always delicious, flavorful and sometimes bring iterations of some of my unhealthy favorites. Like the subtitle of the book states: It’s light on calories, big on flavor. There are better options of favorites like chili, burgers and even sandwiches! Seriously, if you can’t get the book at least check out Homolka’s online blog.

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What are some of your favorite healthy cookbooks?

 

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