Favorite Healthy Cookbooks of 2021

Throughout 2021, I’ve had to deal with a health condition that keeps me on a restrictive diet on a long-term basis. That doesn’t mean, however, that I no longer want my meals to taste great. So I started looking for help in the form of health-minded cookbooks from chefs that understand flavor. After perusing quite a few, these have become my favorites.

These are especially good if your health goals are:

  • cut down on preservatives, fats, sugar, carbs, or processed foods
  • increase your intake of fruits, veggies, or overall nutrients
  • substitute healthier options in your favorite recipes
  • learn how to use healthier ingredients in the tastiest ways

Fit by Bobby Flay

It’s common knowledge that Bobby Flay really understands flavor. So when I saw that he wrote a cookbook with health in mind, I ordered it immediately. It does not disappoint! This is Flay’s attempt at cleaning up your diet, generally speaking, while not sacrificing taste and the enjoyment of food. You will not get bored eating well with this cookbook!

Recommended recipes
Oatmeal with Apricot, Tahini, and Sesame
Waffles with Blueberry Compote and Lemon Ricotta Cream
Spanish Spiced Chicken Breast
Kalbi-Style Flank Steak
Greek Fish Tacos with Grape Tomato Relish and Tzatziki Crema
Shredded Greens with Feta, Dill, and Green Onion
Apple Cider Caramel Apples with Walnuts
Mango Upside Down Granola Bars with Macadamia Nuts and Coconut

Eat Better, Feel Better by Giada DeLaurentiis

Published in 2021, Eat Better, Feel Better is chef author Giada DeLaurentiis’ response to her deteriorating digestive health over the last decade. One of the perks of this cookbook is Giada’s Italian heritage, as she finds healthy ways to incorporate pastas while maintaining a healthy gut. She also includes a 21-day food plan as well as a 3-day reboot menu for those who need it.

Recommended Recipes:
Maple and Olive Oil Quinoa Granola
Amalfi Lemon Chicken
Grilled Strip Steak with Scallion Salsa Verde
Chicken Milanese
Hearty Chicken Bolognese with Zucchini Noodles
Roasted Trout with Hazelnut Gremolata

Naturally Sweet by America’s Test Kitchen

In Naturally Sweet, America’s Test Kitchen takes all our favorite classic sweets recipes and converts them into low sugar options. Using a combination of sugar substitutes, fructose from fruits, and less processed versions of cane sugar, this clever and much-appreciated cookbook is an excellent resource for anyone who wishes/needs to cut back on their processed sugar but still loves desserts!

Recommended Recipes:
Apple Cinnamon Danish (using coconut sugar and apricot preserves)
Lemon Poppyseed Cookies (using sucanat)
Pomegranate, Coconut, and Chocolate Nut Clusters (no added sugar)
Summer Peach Cake (using sucanat)
Mocha Mascarpone Jelly Roll Cake (using maple syrup)

The Clean Plate by Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow’s strict lifestyle has drawn lots of criticism over the years. However, when I needed help cleaning up my diet quickly, I found her cookbooks invaluable! The Clean Plate is especially helpful with ideas and recipes for flavorful yet healthy meals. Gwyneth also includes many basic foundational recipes, like tahini, chicken stock, aquafaba mayo, and nomato sauce.

Recommended Recipes:
Tarragon Chicken Lettuce Cups
Braised Chicken Tacos on Butternut Squash Tortillas
Halibut en Papillote with Lemon, Mushrooms, and Toasted Sesame Oil
Five Spice Salmon Burgers
Chicken and Zucchini Kefta
Apricot, Cashew, and Coconut Truffles

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