Despite the thousands of recipes you can find on Pinterest and on blogs, hard-copy cookbooks are still in demand. And that’s because many people still crave the feeling of bringing a beautifully printed recipe into to the kitchen.
“I enjoy looking for recipes online just like everyone else, but I also love the joy of holding a cookbook in my hand, turning the pages, drooling over the pictures, and propping it up on my cookbook stand in my kitchen,” says registered dietitian Sharon Palmer, R.D.N., author of Plant-Powered for Life.
Plus, a cohesive collection of recipes can do more to help you lose weight than meal ideas randomly selected from the internet. “Sometimes there are ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ (or online opinions) about the best way to lose weight,” says Jennifer McDaniel, R.D.N. “But dieting approaches should be tailored to every individual. If a cookbook’s content, philosophy, and recipes resonate with a dieter, the dieter will be more likely to confidently and consistently adhere to the recommendations, and therefore be more successful in weight loss.”
Cookbooks are also held to a higher standard than online recipes, says Laura Calleia, a nutritionist for MuscleSound. “Anyone can post a recipe on the internet. Weight-loss cookbooks are set to a very high standard and must explain all measurements and food intake clearly, which can help with healthy meal planning,” she says.
Not to mention, there’s an aspirational element. “You look at these gorgeous photos and think, ‘Wow! I want to do that!’” says Jessica Cording, R.D. “Cookbooks can be really helpful for people seeking inspiration or looking to branch out or try a new style of eating.”
If you’re looking for healthy eating inspiration or want to start shedding some weight, get motivated with one of these new weight-loss cookbooks—all of which are nutritionist-approved.
Italian for weight loss? Yes, please! Caspero serves up a nutritious twist on carb-heavy recipes by packing them full of veggies. “I like this cookbook because I love how approachable the author’s cooking style is,” says Palmer. “The recipes are simple, yet delicious—you really want to make everything in the book. Plus, they are healthy, vegetarian recipes, so they can work for a lot of different eating styles.”
Fresh Italian Cookbook for the New Generation by Alexandra Caspero, $22.00, Amazon
Cutting back on meat is great for your health, but it can sometimes feel easier said than done. This cookbook can help you find your way. “Transitioning from a meat-based diet to a plant-based one can be challenging; it took me a few years to really get comfortable with my new lifestyle,” says Alexandra Caspero, R.D. “The New Vegan is great for those who want to eat more of these kind of foods—the recipes are designed to be as easy and effortless as possible.”
Looking for more great vegan recipes? Try this easy vegan mac and cheese:
The New Vegan: Great Recipes, No-Nonsense Advice, and Simple Tips by Aine Carlin, $8.00, Amazon
This family-friendly cookbook is all about helping you prepare healthy meals for everyone without spending too much of your time slaving away in the kitchen (there’s even a under-10-minute recipe section!). “This book speaks to my philosophy of making sure the weight-loss plan you use is realistic, sustainable, and inclusive versus restrictive,” says McDaniel. “It provides time-saving tips and pantry staple ideas, making it easy for the dieter to implement their recommendations and recipes. And it’s great for parents who are feeding not only themselves, but their family. To lose weight, one shouldn’t have to make one meal for themselves and one meal for their family.”
Trim Healthy Table: More Than 300 All-New Healthy and Delicious Recipes from Our Homes to Yours by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison, $19.00, Amazon
Amidor’s collection of more than 100 recipes comes recommended by multiple nutritionists. “It’s one of my favorites to recommend for healthy eating and weight loss,” says Amy Gorin, R.D.N. “It’s great for getting you started with meal planning. I’m a fan of the Mini Vegetable Quiches!” It also comes with lots of other helpful tips: “There’s a nutrient breakdown for each recipe, simple shopping lists to take the guesswork out of grocery shopping and planning, and meal plans for various goals,” says Alyssa Cohen, R.D.
The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook by Toby Amidor, $11.00, Amazon
Going vegetarian—which science says can help you shed more pounds—will be easy with a book this beautiful and inspirational on hand. “I was recently given a copy of Valentina Solfrini’s cookbook, and I fell in love with so many of the recipes in it,” says Cording. “I’m not a vegetarian, but I love to make seasonal vegetables the star of the show, and I love how Italian cooking celebrates that.” Even meat-lovers will be drooling over the 125 all-vegetarian recipes.
Naturally Vegetarian: Recipes and Stories From My Italian Family Farm by Valentina Solfrini, $35.00, Amazon
“This book is not a fad-diet type of book,” says Sarah Koszyk, R.D.N. It uses real food from the Mediterranean, which consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, heart-healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, and omega-3 rich foods like seafood. Not only are there delicious recipes, but there is also a dietitian-approved 28-day meal plan which provides food prep tips, sample menus, exercise routines, and more. It really caters to people who are interested in eating whole foods and want to learn about overall nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.”
The Mediterranean Diet Weight Loss Solution: The 28-Day Kickstart Plan for Lasting Weight Loss by Julene Stassou, M.S., R.D., $16.00, Amazon
Yes, the Whole30 diet is restrictive — you have to cut all sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy for 30 days — but the founder’s latest book makes it practically easy to implement. “Thirty days is a solid (and doable!) amount of time to help make that initial change to your eating habits, your body, and your daily habits,” says Calleia. “Essentially, these books give you a roadmap to follow and a vision for the next 30 days. You can get really far with a the plan outlined in the book. Eating right, paired with a little planning ahead is absolutely key!”
The Whole30 Day by Day: Your Daily Guide to Whole30 Success by Melissa Hartwig, $12.00, Amazon
Perelman’s first book, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, was a New York Times bestseller, and her second—with 100-plus recipes, including dessert!—seems destined to follow in its footsteps. “I love this book because it’s full of simple, no-fuss meals for any weeknight, plus it has some fun ideas for foods to meal prep on Sundays to have you eating well all week long,” says Brigitte Zeitlin, R.D. “It’s great for kitchen newbies and foodies alike—and it makes a great gift. I’ve already given it to three people this season!”
Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman, $19.00, Amazon
Bowls aren’t just for smoothies—you can use this dish to create quick, healthy recipes for every meal, especially if you’re trying to cut down on eating meat. “This book is so beautiful, it’s worth it for the photography alone,” says Caspero. “It’s great for people who enjoy delicious flavors from around the world. Covering everything from breakfast and dinner, this cookbook is full of one-course meals that layer both texture and flavor.”
Bowls of Goodness: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes Full of Nourishment, $19.00, Amazon
If you know going vegetarian is good for you but fear the recipe options will bore you, let the personalities behind the hilarious YouTube series The Edgy Veg convince you otherwise. “I love this book—it’s packed with some really fun and tasty plant-based meals that literally even the most discerning carnivores will love,” says Abbey Sharp, R.D. “Every recipe is unique and interesting yet really approachable. It’s also great for both experienced vegans and those who just want to start incorporating more plant-based meals into their diet.”
The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore-Approved Vegan Recipes by Candice Hutchings and James Aita, $19.00, Amazon
The secret to long-term weight-loss success is following a diet you can actually stick to—and the Mediterranean diet has long been shown to help people slim down. “In a five-year study of nearly 7,500 adult participants, those following a Mediterranean-style diet without counting calories lost more weight and shed more belly fat than those who stuck to a low-fat diet,” says McDaniel. “This book provides 100 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, and can help shape one’s overall diet to become more Mediterranean-esque for lasting weight-loss success.”
Prevention Mediterranean Table by Jennifer McDaniel and Marygrace Taylor, $22.00, Amazon
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