9 best healthy cookbooks
Keep eating well and be inspired to cook with these on your kitchen shelf
Get those good intentions off to a flying start with a new healthy cookbook for 2019. The new year is a great time to revamp your recipe repertoire, whether you’re looking to lose weight, support a fitness regime or feed the whole family something nutritious. We’ve been on the lookout for sensible advice and easy to follow recipes, alongside beautiful photography.
Dishes needed to be in equal parts delicious, inspiring, yet on the whole, uncomplicated. Before splurging, be sure to consider your lifestyle – if you don’t get home until late every night and are only cooking for one, it’s unlikely you’ll need one containing feasts for a crowd. The last thing you want is for this to sit on the shelf for the next 12 months.
Having said that, there’s no better feeling than cracking the spine of a new cookbook, rolling up your sleeves and coming up with a cracking dish at the end of it. So without further ado, read on for our favourite new healthy cookbook releases to take you through January, and beyond.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start: £7.99, Amazon
Michelin star chef Tom Kerridge has had a well-documented weight loss journey and since changing his old habits, has lost a hugely inspiring 12 stone. Now, following on from his books Lose Weight For Good and The Dopamine Diet is Fresh Start, a book encouraging us to get back in the kitchen and ditch our reliance on ready meals.
The book accompanies a BBC series of the same name where he aims to give even the most basic cook the confidence to create everyday homemade food. Helpful sections include veggie suppers, batch cooking and weekend feasts, so there’s something for every occasion. We can’t wait to make the Asian-style griddled squid salad, crab mayo on griddled sourdough and corn cakes with Mexican beans – although perhaps not all at once.
Veggie Lean in 15 by Joe Wicks: £8.49, WHSmith
Although Joe still eats meat himself, this book came about as a result of becoming more aware of the impact his food choices make on his health and the environment. Like many of us, that means a shift to eating more plant-based food. He also talks about the need to reduce our plastic consumption when shopping.
In short this book feels like a very grown up Joe Wicks. Of course, ensuring we’re getting enough protein and staying lean is still high on Joe’s priorities, so the book ends with a training section featuring HIIT exercises. In the “Fast Food” chapter you’ll find the likes of chipotle midget tree tacos with sour cream and peri-peri halloumi burgers. Most recipes are for one person which is ideal if you live alone but make them equally easy to scale up. As Joe says, “Veggie Lean in 15 is the veggie book for the meat lover”.
Happy Food by Niklas Ekstedt & Henrik Ennart: £11, Foyles
Part cookbook, part educational tool, Happy Food tackles more than just diet, looking at how our gut health works alongside our mental health too. It’s a real dream team, with Swedish chef Ekstedt's recipes (such as the kale salad with parmesan and basil gremolata) complementing Ennart's fascinating scientific research. Recipes are more sparse than your average cookbook (there’s only 38 in total), but when they do appear they include beautiful photography. If you’re interested in improving your mental health and overall wellbeing through diet, this is definitely worth a read.
Blackberry Cottage Cakes with Secret Ingredients From Aubergine to Zucchini Book by Kate Saunders: £24.99, Blackberry Cottage
Can cake ever really be healthy? Well Kate Saunders thinks so with this collection of cakes containing hidden vegetable ingredients. Be warned, there’s still plenty of sugar and butter used throughout, so healthy might be pushing it slightly, but the veggies make up the bulk of the ingredients, so it’s certainly an innovative way of getting in your five a day.
The book begins with aubergine and chocolate cake and ends with a delicious zucchini and cinnamon sponge with a recipe or two for each letter in between. We loved the fun tips and facts scattered about and couldn’t wait to start surprising people with our seasonal bakes.
Naturally Delicious Snacks & Treats by Gracie Tyrrell, Sophie Tyrrell: £9.99, Waterstones
You might know Gracie and Sophie better by their collective name – the Squirrel Sisters. Their health and wellness company make award-winning 100 per cent natural snack bars that are stocked everywhere from Waitrose & Partners to Whole Foods and many more. This book contains both sweet and savoury “snack-sized” recipes, as the girls believe we’re more likely to make good health choices if it’s convenient and simple. From seed and salted honey energy balls to spiced lamb samosas, these 70 recipes are super easy to follow.
The Seedlip Cocktail Book by Ben Branson: £14.99, Amazon
January is a great time to look at your drinking habits and if you do decide to cut back, there’s no better name in the biz than Seedlip. Widely becoming available in restaurants and bars as a truly grown up non-alcoholic alternative, founder Ben now brings us this cocktail book so you can become an expert mixologist at home.
It features recipes using the three Seedlip flavours – Spice 94, Grove 42 and Garden 108 – and then works to complement the flavour profile, resulting in aromatic, refreshing or citrus spiked long and short cocktails. There’s a beautiful photograph to accompany each recipe, which have been created by the Seedlip team, as well as some of the best bars in the world.
Good Food, Sorted: Save Time, Cook Smart, Eat Well by Chris Bavin: £18.99, Foyles
You might know Chris Bavin from the BBC show Eat Well For Less, in which he helps families live a healthier lifestyle on a budget. Featuring over 100 family-friendly recipes, the premise of this book is similar – it’s all about getting healthy, balanced meals on the table with minimum fuss. As a former market trader, Chris knows a thing or two about making ingredients go further. Expect freezer friendly recipes, batch cooking and quick weeknight dinners that will appeal to even the fussiest of eaters. Highlights include quick spicy sausage ragu, posh fish finger sandwiches, herb-crusted lamb with creamy butter beans and leeks and vegan chilli.
Gordon Ramsay Ultimate Fit Food by Gordon Ramsay: £8.99, Amazon
Gordon practises what he preaches in this new healthy cookbook – when he’s not in the kitchen you’ll find him running ultramarathons – but of course diet and exercise go hand in hand. All of these recipes have been analysed by a nutritionist, and split into three sections – healthy (for maintaining a healthy weight), lean (for losing weight) and fit (for an active lifestyle). Seared tuna and vegetable skewers with wasabi dipping sauce may not sound like your average diet food, but what would you expect from this celebrity chef.
Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook by Camilla Fayed: £17.39, Amazon
The restaurant of the same name opened back in 2016, offering a range of fresh, seasonal, nutritionally balanced plant-based meals, and this book from founder Camilla Fayed offers more of the same. The book begins with a thorough chapter on their philosophy, outlining mindful eating, fasting and digestion before moving onto delicious dishes. We particularly liked the “Earth Bowls” section which includes flavours from around the world.
The Verdict: Healthy cookbooks
We’ve long been a fan of Tom Kerridge’s style of writing and find his recipes are always incredibly popular with friends and family. While this doesn’t claim to be a diet cookbook, recipes are delicious, easy to follow and highly nutritious.
Stacey Smith is the founder of food & drink website Crummbs
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.