In honor of our Books, Spice, and Everything Nice theme (and spice club!), we’ll be doing a monthly round-up of our cookbooks. We have a really nice and extensive collection, but it’s easy to get lost in the sheer number of them. Hopefully these posts help! In honor of our April spice coriander, we’ll be focusing on healthy cooking/eating cookbooks this month.
Some of the more frequent questions we field about our cookbook section occur when one of our patrons has recently received a diagnosis that requires them to modify their eating habits. Sometimes they just are interested in losing weight in general, and other times, they have new dietary restrictions they need to be mindful of (like avoiding allergy triggers or needing diabetic-friendly meals). Regardless, we have you covered! Here’s just a small sample of the books we have devoted to this topic.
If you’re interested in cookbooks for general weight loss:
Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook Bonus Edition (2012)
This revised edition of Weight Watchers’ classic cookbook includes healthy but hearty recipes for everything from pork chops to jambalaya to pecan pie. It also includes a special section on slow cooker meals for a variety of soup, stew, and roast recipes. Features recipes for everything from breakfasts to main dishes to sides to dessert.
Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison’s Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook : Eat Up and Slim Down With More Than 350 Healthy Recipes (2015)
The brain child of two sisters who are both wives and mothers, Trim Healthy Mama is designed to be pragmatic, tasty, and healthy and doesn’t require counting calories as part of its diet plan. In the duo’s cookbook, there are ample recipes for dishes that feed one person or an entire family, ranging from snacks to dinners, with special chapters devoted to convenient one-pot skillet and slow cooker recipes. Recipes include dishes like fish tacos, stir-fries, frittatas, and lemon cake.
If you want to explore more plant-based options:
Linda McCartney’s Linda McCartney’s Family Kitchen: Over 90 Plant-Based Recipes to Save the Planet and Nourish the Soul (2021)
Linda McCartney was an early proponent of vegetarianism, and last year, in her honor, her famous family (Paul, Mary, and Stella) released this cookbook that compiles many of Linda’s favorite recipes. It includes a mix of quicker convenience foods alongside more time-intensive recipes and covers main dishes, snacks, baking, and more, alongside an explanatory guide to how to effectively adopt a plant-based vegetarian or vegan diet and family reminiscences. Recipes include Linda’s French toast, vegan chili, brownies, and more.
If you’re cooking for specific food allergies:
Colette Martin’s The Allergy-Free Pantry: Make Your Own Staples, Snacks, and More Without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, or Nuts (2014)
Colette Martin learned how to cook and bake to accommodate food allergies when her son was diagnosed with multiple food allergies. It meant rethinking the entire way she made food, and now she works to educate others on the same topic. In this guide, she teaches you how to make a range of staples and favorites while avoiding the major food allergens (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish) and gluten. Her recipes are simple and easy-to-follow and cover pancakes, animal crackers, pasta, ice cream, and more.
If you need a new approach to baking:
Gretchen Price’s Modern Vegan Baking: The Ultimate Resource for Sweet and Savory Baked Goods (2018)
Gretchen Price is a professional baker who specializes in vegan products. In this cookbook, she unveils all her secrets to baking tasty breads and desserts without butter, eggs, milk, and other animal products. Price provides a thorough overview of alternate ingredients and substitution guidelines, includes a helpful guide to troubleshooting issues, and offers recipes for English muffins, focaccia, pizza crust, chocolate chip cookies, birthday cake, and more.
Peter Reinhart and Denene Wallace’s The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking : 80 Low-Carb Recipes That Offer Solutions for Celiac Disease, Diabetes, and Weight Loss (2012)
Peter Reinhart is a noted baker and Denene Wallace is a businesswoman who specializes in gluten-free flours (an interest she developed after she was diagnosed with diabetes). Together, they teamed up to create this cookbook that is perfect for anyone who wants to bake but without worrying about gluten, sugar, or high carbs. Reinhart and Wallace offer up gluten and sugar-free, low-carb recipes for pancakes, scones, muffins, breads, pizza crust, and all manner of desserts.
If you want healthier versions of traditional Southern favorites:
Paula Deen and Melissa Clark’s Paula Deen Cuts The Fat: 250 Favorites Recipes All Lightened Up (2015)
Paula Deen’s devotion to butter is well-known. But after a personal weight loss journey, she released this cookbook, which aims to provide the same delicious recipes she’s known for but “lightened up” with fewer calories. (Hint: It often involves using much less butter.) Of course, if you’re so inclined, you could modify Deen’s recipes on your own, but this way, she does all the work for you and carefully notes the changes for each recipe. The result is the Sunday chicken, biscuit, and hoppin’ john recipes that you’d expect, just lighter in calories than you’re used to.
If you want some food for thought:
Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise : Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet (2014)
If you’re interested in reading more about health and nutrition, we have a lot of books that aren’t cookbooks but delve in-depth into the topic. This one was released to a lot of acclaim a few years ago but also generated a tremendous amount of controversy. In it, investigative science reporter Nina Teicholz argues that what we commonly see as a healthy diet is actually based on very little research. Instead, she argues that naturally occurring animal fats and saturated fats have received unfair blame for America’s battle against the bulge. Read for yourself and decide!
What’s your favorite healthy dish to make? What are you cooking in April? What’s your favorite healthy cookbook? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on any of these items or to place them on hold.