One of the easiest ways to eat more healthily is by simply cooking at home more. For beginner cooks, that can feel a little intimidating, so we’ve decided to round up the best healthy cookbooks for beginners available online.
In our research, we found that the best cookbooks include recipes that fit your schedule, dietary restrictions, and health goals. Additionally, they also provide key beginner information about techniques, ingredients, tools, and even health. Keeping these things in mind, here are our handpicked favorite healthy cookbooks for beginners.
Top 10 Best Healthy Cookbooks for Beginners to Buy Online
Remember, the best healthy cookbook for you is one that you’ll actually use, so be sure to flip through previews to see if the recipes included are for foods that appeal to you. Healthy can be tasty too!
1. The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor
Price: $17.98 ($15.99 eBook)
Best Cookbook for Classic Dishes Made Healthy
For those who are just trying to eat a little more healthily without giving up too many of their favorite foods, this is the book for you. It takes classic recipes like fried chicken, fettuccini alfredo, and double chocolate chip cookies and makes them diet-friendly.
Reviewers love that each recipe is neatly laid out, easy to understand, and most importantly, delicious! This book is great for those new to healthy cooking who have a basic understanding of the kitchen.
|Type||All types of food|
|Aim||Weightloss, general health|
|Instructional Information||Techniques, ingredient information, substitutions|
2. Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week
Best Plant-Based Book for Herbivores and Omnivores
Aside from quick, creative, delicious recipes, this book also includes a wealth of tips, tricks, and information to help you become the best healthy (plant-based) cook possible.
Reviewers rave about how easy and tasty these recipes are–even avid meat-eaters can get behind the bold flavors. It’s a great cookbook for both the beginner cook and the novice healthy eater.
|Instructional Information||Tools, ingredient information, techniques, substitutions|
3. How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food
Price: $19.29 ($19.99 eBook)
Best Cookbook for the Absolute Beginner
For many people, eating more healthily is as simple as learning how to cook to avoid eating out. This book is the key to getting there. It’s filled with extremely detailed, photo-illustrated guides to basically every aspect of the kitchen and cooking.
Reviewers praised this book as integral to going from complete novice to confident in the kitchen. And despite the fact that the recipes are aimed at beginners, they’re still packed with flavor.
|Type||All types of food|
|Instructional Information||Techniques, helpful tips, ingredient information, tools|
4. Fit Men Cook: 100+ Meal Prep Recipes for Men and Women—Always #HealthyAF, Never Boring
Price: $10.99 ($14.99 eBook)
Best for Learning the Meal Prep Basics
Meal prepping is one of the easiest ways to stay on track with your health goals, and this book breaks it down for you. While most meal prep guides leave you with bland, boring meals, this one places emphasis on flavor.
Reviewers write that it’s great for meal prep beginners as well as those new to cooking in general. They love that this book also contains informational anecdotes and words of motivation.
|Aim||Weightloss, general health|
|Instructional Information||Health advice, ingredient information, storage tips, techniques|
5. The College Vegan Cookbook: 145 Affordable, Healthy & Delicious Plant-Based Recipes
Price: $11.19 ($6.99 eBook)
Best for Those Short on Time, Space, and Money
This healthy vegan cookbook is aimed at college students but is great for anyone short on time, money, and space. It features easy-to-find, whole food ingredients and also includes price-per-serving information.
Reviewers write that this cookbook is perfect for those still unfamiliar with the kitchen and explains how to properly stock a new kitchen.
|Type||Quick meals, budget-friendly|
|Instructional Information||Ingredient information, tools, techniques, health advice|
6. Simply Keto: A Practical Approach to Health & Weight Loss, with 100+ Easy Low-Carb Recipes
Best All-in-One Resource for Keto Beginners
This book is aimed at those interested in pursuing a ketogenic diet. It offers detailed information on what keto is and how it helps you and shows you how to use unfamiliar ingredients to make familiar foods.
Reviewers write that it’s a fantastic all-in-one resource for keto beginners. Do note, however, that due to the nature of keto, you’ll probably need to buy some ingredients that can be difficult to find depending on where you live.
|Type||All types of food|
|Dietary Considerations||Keto, low-carb|
|Aim||Weightloss, general health|
|Instructional Information||Health advice, ingredient information, substitutions, techniques|
7. Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day
Price: $12.93 ($9.04 eBook)
Best for Budget-Conscious Healthy Cooking
For those who think healthy cooking is expensive, this book aims to prove otherwise. Each of the recipes featured use only whole food ingredients and cost no more than $2 per serving.
Reviewers write that this book is great for those new to healthy cooking but also offers flexibility for those a bit more comfortable in the kitchen, making it great for those who consider themselves lower intermediate cooks.
|Instructional Information||Ingredient information, tools, shopping tips, substitutions|
8. The Fresh and Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook: 75 Easy Recipes for Light Meals to Make in Your Electric Pressure Cooker
Price: $10.95 ($12.99 eBook)
Best Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook
Electric pressure cookers can do a lot more than make stew and soften meat, and this book is here to show you how. Each recipe was developed in tandem with a nutritionist to ensure maximum health and comes with substitution ideas.
Reviewers write that this book really helps you to learn how to use your Instant Pot to its full potential and that each recipe is delicious on top of being healthful.
|Type||All types of food|
|Dietary Considerations||Gluten-free substitutions|
|Instructional Information||Ingredient information, tools, substitutions|
9. Gut Health Diet for Beginners: A 7-Day Plan to Heal Your Gut and Boost Digestive Health
Price: $13.02 ($6.99 eBook)
Best for Learning About and Fixing Gut Issues
For those suffering from digestive discomfort, this book is here to help you figure out the causes and how to fix them. It has a huge informational section all about gut health and also includes a detailed meal plan to help you get started.
Reviewers write that the provided plan is easy-to-follow and gives you a good foundation to fixing your gut issues. The recipes are simple and include five ingredients or less for quick, easy meals.
|Type||Quick meals, meal prep|
|Instructional Information||Ingredient information, health advice, tools|
10. The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs
Price: $8.01 ($7.61 eBook)
Best Healthy Cookbook for Kids
For younger cooks learning about healthy eating and getting comfortable in the kitchen, this book provides detailed how-tos in a fun, accessible way. The instructions come with photos and tips that help kids to apply their techniques to other recipes.
Reviewers write that this book is great for new cooks (even adults!) and that it really helps to build confidence in the kitchen. Many of the recipes are also vegetarian, which may encourage kids to want to eat more veggies.
|Type||All types of food|
|Instructional Information||Techniques, tools, ingredient information, health advice, substitutions|
How to Choose a Healthy Cookbook for Beginners – Buying Guide
How Much Time Do You Have to Cook?
The best cookbook is one that you’ll actually use, so when looking for a healthy cookbook, it’s important to find one that fits into your schedule and meets your needs. If you need quick, healthy weekday dinners, look for a book with recipes that take under 30 minutes from start to finish.
If you have a little more time on your hands and you’re looking to learn the A to Zs of healthy cooking, look for a book that covers all sorts of recipes from breakfast to dessert. Some of these recipes may take a bit more time and require more effort on your part, but they’ll give you great results and quickly help you improve your cooking skills.
Consider Dietary Restrictions and Specialized Diets
If you follow a certain diet or have any food intolerances or allergies, be sure to look for a book that caters to those needs as well. There are beginner cookbooks for almost any diet that you can think of. Even if you don’t follow a certain diet, you may want to consider buying a cookbook containing vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian recipes, as plant- and fish-based foods are thought to be healthier for people than recipes with lots of meat. Plus, it’s fun to experiment with cooking different kinds of foods!
What Is Your Main Goal?
If you have a particular reason why you are taking up healthy eating, you may want to look for books which will help with a goal, such as losing weight, lowering your cholesterol, or encouraging a healthy gut environment. On the other hand, if you just generally want to start eating more healthily, it makes sense to look for a book with a wide range of healthy recipes.
Detailed Instructions and Information Help You Develop Skills to Cook Beyond the Book
If you’re new to cooking, perhaps the most important thing a beginner cookbook can give you is the skills and knowledge to easily make your way through the book and beyond. Look for books that teach you about everything from the difference between a santoku knife and a cleaver to the importance of acid in a dish’s flavor profile.
Even if you’re already familiar with cooking, if healthy cooking is something new to you, it may be a good idea to look for a cookbook that provides you with information on unfamiliar ingredients, substitutions, or alternative cooking methods (baking vs. frying, for example). A book that teaches you these things will allow you to cook healthy food more confidently—even when you’re using a different cookbook or even cooking without a recipe.
Look for Nutritional Facts and Healthy Eating Advice
If you’re looking for a cookbook so that you can start eating more healthily, you may want to look for one that includes the nutritional information (serving size, calories, macronutrients) for the recipes that you’re making. Especially if you’re new to healthy eating, knowing the nutrition information for your food can be an important step to learning what exactly makes a food healthy or not.
In addition to the numbers, if you’re new to healthy eating, you may want to find a book that also includes advice on how to transition into healthy eating. Look for books that tell you why a certain ingredient is good for you or how a plant-based or ketogenic diet can improve your health.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard, and with a little bit of effort, you may even find that it’s downright easy. Finding the right cookbook is the first step to a better diet.
By Jacqueline Oshiro
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