I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that a lot of us have made one of our New Year’s resolutions to start eating healthier in 2015. (It’s right above “remember to remove dirty Tupperware from my backseat” but below “stop openly gawking at cute boys on the train” on my personal list.) In past years, I’ve usually been pretty good for a month or so. I’ll choke down some kale for lunch and go to the gym instead of staying home and watching TMZ. But around February I’ll decide that I’ve deserved a break, and by March that healthy kick is pretty much a distant memory. That's where these healthy cookbooks come into play.
Because this year, I’m going to let the professionals help me keep up a healthy lifestyle. I've compiled a list of the best cookbooks and fitness books to help turn your New Year’s resolution into something that you’ll actually do. More vegetables, less processed foods, and simple lifestyle changes are on my list for 2015. (Over my dead body am I giving up beer, wings, or chocolate, though.)
Please note that none of these are “diet” books. I purposely looked for ones whose aims weren’t a tiny waist, but teaching others how to get in shape, learn to cook, and make all around healthier choices. Being healthy doesn’t necessarily mean losing weight — it means embracing your body and trying to become the best possible version of you, rather than conforming to some kind of beauty standard. These books are a fun, easy way to incorporate healthy choices into your life. Plus, they still let you eat dessert, which is a total win in my book.
Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F*ck by Thug Kitchen
Just eat your f*cking vegetables, OK? The authors of Thug Kitchen aren’t asking for much. This cookbook somehow makes cooking with kale not sound like you’re trying to be the next Gwyneth Paltrow. Check it out for some delicious, cheap, and easy-to-make vegetarian dishes.
The Portlandia Cookbook: Cook Like a Local by Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, and Jonathan Krisel
It may be based off of the popular show, but this cookbook is no joke — Portland doesn’t mess around when it comes to food. This cookbook has everything from small plates to brunch items in it, and while everything isn’t necessarily low calorie, there’s enough quinoa in there to justify it ending up on this list.
Angela Liddon, the mastermind behind the popular vegan blog Oh She Glows, turned to a vegan lifestyle after suffering from eating disorders and unhappy dieting. She decided that the best way to get healthy wasn’t low-calorie foods, but cooking and eating healthy, whole foods. This cookbook is filled with vegan goodies (even desserts!) to help you either adopt a vegan lifestyle, or just add some fun dishes to your weekly menu.
But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner by Kristy Turner
Since I have uttered this phrase more times than I can count, I should probably pick up this cookbook. Kristy Turner understands that going vegan can be intimidating and wants to walk you through it. She addresses all of your fears in chapters like “What About Brunch?” and “But I Scream for Ice Cream,” and gives great vegan alternatives.
Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-the-Go Food for Athletes (The Feed Zone) by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim
Maybe you’re already pretty active, but you’re tired of relying on protein shakes or bars to stay fit. Real athletes need real food, right? Dr. Allen Lim teamed up with chef Biju Thomas to come up with recipes that are easy to make and can fuel any athlete on the go. So lose the prepackaged protein bar, and whip up your own workout snacks!
The Working Class Foodies Cookbook: 100 Delicious Seasonal and Organic Recipes for Under $8 Per Person by Rebecca Lando
This is basically the cooking Bible for the cash-strapped college student and young professional. Rebecca Lando teaches you how to cook with local and seasonal ingredients to create delicious (and super cheap!) meals. Great for those who already have some cooking chops as well as those just starting out. She’ll even teach you how to stock your pantry!
Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free by April Peveteaux
Whether you have a gluten-intolerance or just want to give gluten-free living a try, this book is a great place to start. The author, April Peveteaux, is described as “the Chelsea Handler of the gluten-free set,” and she’ll help you navigate a gluten-free life with a laugh.
The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet: 10-Minute Fixes to Get the Body You Want and a Life You'll Love by Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead
You had me at “anti-diet.” The Fit Bottom Girls aren’t interested in making you ditch chocolate and pretend that the real loves of your life are kale and the elliptical. Instead, they help you make 10-minute changes to your life that lead to big results. It’s a book more focused on helping you love who you are and getting healthy than focusing on dropping a ton of weight, which is a nice change.
The 21-Day Yoga Body: A Metabolic Makeover and Life-Styling Manual to Get You Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous in Just 3 Weeks by Sadie Nardini
A fun three week workout and diet plan for amateur yogis everywhere (even ones as uncoordinated as I am). Each day of the plan has coordinating lifestyle tips, yoga poses, and recipes perfect for vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores. Get your down dog on while getting into killer shape and learning how to live a healthier lifestyle.
Surprisingly... Unstuck: The Power of Small Healthy Habits, In a World Addicted to Instant Results by Maria Brilaki
We say we’ll go the gym and eat healthier, but often we can’t turn these good intentions into lasting habits. Luckily, the goal of this book is to make small changes that build healthy and, more importantly, long lasting habits to help us get in shape and keep it up.