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The 8 Best Cookbooks for 8 Popular Healthy Diets

By , SparkPeople Blogger
These days, with exciting new recipes just a click away, we've come to rely less on old-school cookbooks and more on computers, apps and mobile devices for finding delectable dishes. Technology can be a great tool for reaching your nutrition goals and connecting with an online community, but there are times when it's just nice to relax and flip through the pages of an honest-to-goodness cookbook in search of healthy eating inspiration. Plus, when you're throwing together ingredients in the kitchen, it's often easier to refer to a hard-copy recipe instead of scrolling down a screen.
But what's the best way to find the right cookbook for you? If you've ever perused the culinary aisle at the bookstore or taken a spin through Amazon's library, you may have found it impossible to narrow down the smorgasbord of titles. We know your time is precious, so we've compiled some of the most highly recommended cookbooks for several of the most popular eating plans.
1. South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook by Arthur Agatston, M.D. (2005)
Thousands of SparkPeople members follow the South Beach diet. This commercial weight-loss diet features meal plans that are lower in carbs and higher in protein, along with healthy fats.
Registered dietitian Kathleen M. Zelman recommends Agatston's cookbooks on WebMD. "It's hard to believe you're on a diet when you sample the cuisine from this book, including yummy desserts as well as recipes from leading chefs in Miami. Beautiful photographs, shopping lists and a guide to a well-stocked pantry are just a few of the extras found in the cookbook."
Best of all, the recipes are super simple and easy to follow. This edition includes 200 recipes that use 10 or fewer ingredients and require 30 minutes or less of cooking time.

2. The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen (2016)

SparkPeople's registered dietitian, Becky Hand, is a big proponent of the Mediterranean diet. With an emphasis on veggies, olive oil, seafood and healthy grains, the diet has been linked to many health benefits, including lower risk of heart disease, decreased risk for certain types of cancers and a longer life expectancy. Hand even put together this guide for eating a Mediterranean diet for heart health.
When you'd rather have a book version, try “The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook.” It's packed with 500 kitchen-tested recipes for main dishes, sides and appetizers, along with tips, explanations and comparison charts.
3. Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle by Diane Sanfilippo (2016)

Sometimes called "the caveman diet," the Paleo diet is based on foods that our ancestors would have hunted and foraged, such as meat, seafood, veggies, fruits, eggs, nuts and seeds. Processed foods, added sugars, dairy, grains, soy and legumes are discouraged on this plan. While other diets focus on carefully counting calories and nutrients, Paleo is all about eating the recommended foods until you're satisfied.
In this sequel to the original “Practical Paleo” cookbook, a nutrition educator offers three 30-day meal plans and 40 new recipes. Each recipe includes a full-size color picture, prep and cook times, modification ideas and suggested serving sizes. The book also dives into the science behind Paleo, and how personalized meal plans can help alleviate medical conditions.

4. The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Liddon (2014)

Whether you've already embraced the vegan lifestyle or you're just curious about the benefits of a plant-based diet, a great cookbook can be hugely informative and inspiring. There's a reason why "The Oh She Glows Cookbook" has thousands of five-star reviews—this debut cookbook features more than 100 wholesome recipes, including many gluten-free and allergy-friendly dishes.
From one reviewer: "Every recipe I made has been delicious. Beautiful pictures for each recipe, step-by-step instructions and they use lots of fresh, plant-based ingredients. Lots of creative and interesting recipes, not like a boring 'Vegetarian 101 cookbook' that has everyday dishes you would expect."

5. Gluten-Free, Hassle Free, Second Edition by Marlisa Brown, R.D. (2013)

While gluten itself isn't unhealthy or harmful for most people, some choose to avoid it due to food sensitivities or intolerances. Giving up gluten altogether can be a daunting prospect, as the protein makes an appearance in everything from breads and pastas to cereals and packaged snacks. By arming yourself with an awesome cookbook, though, you'll find it much easier—and more delicious—to embrace the gluten-free lifestyle, if that's your choice.
This cookbook's subtitle sums it up: "A Simple, Sane, Dietitian-Approved Program For Eating Your Way Back to Health." It's packed with more than 140 easy recipes, plus tips for finding hidden gluten, modifying your favorite foods and understanding nutrition labels.
6. Everyday Diabetes Meals: Cooking for One or Two by Laura Cipullo, R.D. and Lisa Mikus, R.D. (2017)

A diabetes diagnosis doesn’t have to throw your diet into a tailspin. Two registered dietitians teamed up to create this specialized cookbook with 150 diabetes-friendly recipes for meals, snacks and desserts. Each recipe was created with singles and couples in mind, and meets the American Diabetes Association’s recommended standard carbohydrate allotment.
You’ll also get valuable information on living with diabetes, avoiding potential complications and understanding the connection between inflammation, obesity and diabetes. The authors even provide a handy 14-day meal plan to get you started.
7. Good and Cheap: Eat Well for $4/Day by Leanne Brown (2015)

If you’re still under the assumption that eating healthy has to be expensive, this budget-friendly book begs to differ. Recommended by registered dietitian Ilana Muhlstein, “Good and Cheap” includes more than 100 delicious, nutritious and economical recipes. It was created for people who have to watch every dollar, particularly those living on the U.S. food stamp allotment of $4 a day. Plus, with the purchase of every book, the publisher will donate a free copy to a person or family in need.
8. The Clean Eating Cookbook & Diet by Rockridge Press (2013)

Not sure what the clean-eating craze is all about? In the simplest terms, it means eating foods that are whole (unprocessed) and in their most natural state.

Consider “The Clean Eating Cookbook & Diet” your ultimate guide to a clean diet. It’s packed with 105 recipes made from natural, unprocessed ingredients, along with all the information you need to embrace a clean eating lifestyle. Get tips on stocking your kitchen for clean cooking, learn what foods to avoid and score a 14-day meal plan to get you started.

Which of these cookbooks would you like to try first? If you already have any of these, we'd love to hear what you think!

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EVILCECIL 10/6/2018
Great. Report
DWROBERGE 10/5/2018
Fantastic Report
PWILLOW1 6/19/2018
If I was to get one it would likely be the south beach diet. Report
I'd probably get the Mediterranean Cookbook. I have a few others, but I can never have enough Mediterranean!! I would also get a couple of the Instant Pot books for Keto Diet - lots of Keto diet cookbooks on Amazon too:

www.amazon.com/s/ref = ?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords= keto+ketosis+cookbook

LOSER05 5/31/2018
great. Report
MARTHA324 5/16/2018
I have so many cookbooks and find that my go to spot for recipes now is the internet. Spark has great recipes as does cookinglight.com and vegetariantimes.com. Even the food network has good recipes in its healthy section. Fortunately too over years of cooking I've learned a lot about how to skinny down a recipe. Report
THICK611 4/28/2018
Thank you. This is very helpful and enlightening. Report
MNABOY 2/15/2018
Thanks for the information Report
HOLLYM48 1/3/2018
Love the cook book list! Report
KATHRYNGC 1/3/2018
Will need to go to bookstore to look at ones that am interested so I can see nutritional lists. Most don't lists sodium and this is a factor for me. Good and Cheap plus Med. diet ones appealed to me. Report
BETRUE6 1/3/2018
Thanks for the info. I will likely get a couple of these. Report
SPARKPEOPLE1951 1/2/2018
Good & Cheap is my pick. I like the idea that the publisher will donate a free copy to person or family in need. I will check this out at Barnes & Noble. Report
Interesting Report
DONN1ZYF 12/13/2017
Good info, see a couple I want, Wonder why spark people cook book wasn't there. I like that bo0k. Bought 3 of them one for me and others for kids Report
great info Report
The Clean Eating and Mediterranean Diet books interest me. Oh and the Gluten Free one as my husband can't have gluten. I've visited the Oh She Glows website an she has a lot of amazing recipes. I'm not interested in going vegan so I'll skip the book but have definitely saved many of her recipes to try. Report
I have South Beach cookbook. Love it. Report
I see one that I want to get as soon as possible. Report
Has anybody seen the Clean Eating one? Report
Thank you for the referrals Report
Nice to see a good variety of cook books. Report
Looks like a good set of resources. Report
I'll have to take a closer look into the books on line, but thanks for the referral. Report
These look like great ideas. Thank you. Report
Take risks: if you win, you will be happy;
if you lose, you will be wise.
- Anonymous Report
None of those appeal to me. I was hoping to see your recommendation for a good DASH Diet cookbook. Report
These look like great suggestions. Report
If you have chronic overeating issues, buying more cookbooks won't do you a bit of good....go to a library. Report
Gluten free, had blood tests recently & severely sensitive to Gluten ,dairy, eggs & other foods. The test showed that my complete digestive system is damaged from foods, including, stomach, colon & bowels. I always check my library first, take pictures of recipes on my phone, then put them in my computer. I get retested in 3 months. Report
Thank you! These look great! Report
Thank you for that healthy cookbooks! Report
I love the Oh she Glows Cookbook. I also have Angela's second cookbook Oh She glows Every Day. I will have to order the Clean Eating Cookbook. It looks good. Another one I have on order is the No Meat Athlete's Cookbook. Report
The Meditteranean one, practical paleo and the Good and Cheap one sound great to me. I love to cook, get lots of great vegetables from a CSA and am always looking for quick meals without a lot of added expense since we spend so much on veggies and good meat. Report
I love , love cookbooks. a little too much . lol my advice is the library! there were a few on the list that I have borrowed from my local library. it saves space and money. Report
cookbooks. wow. Report
just got the South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook and can't wait to check out the recipes. Also looking into getting the Everyday Diabetes Meals: Cooking for One or Two - it will be nice to have recipes that are already broken down to meals for one or two. Some recipes are difficult to cut down to 1 - 2 servings and my freezer gets so full with all the containers of meals I make. Report
I love, love, LOVE the Oh She Glows cookbook. I have many vegetarian/vegan cookbooks in my library and this one is my absolute favorite. There's something about the spices she uses in her recipes that just really appeals to me.

I got the book for Christmas last year and I had the quirky idea at the beginning of the year to make every single recipe in the book by the end of the year. I'm glad I made that choice, as I made a few recipes from the book so far that I would have otherwise passed on because they didn't seem appealing, only to find out I really, really liked them.

The great thing about her book, too, is that she uses a lot of the same ingredients throughout in other recipes so you don't really ever end up purchasing some special ingredient and use it only once for one recipe.

I definitely recommend the book! But make SURE you have a high-powered blender and/or a food processor on hand, as a lot of her recipes call for their use. Report
Great list. I have the 3 of the south beach diet cookbooks. I have amazon prime, will see if I can "borrow" some of the other cookbooks. Thanks! Report
These look interesting Report
Rarely use any cookbook... Report
Balance is the key. Report
You are stronger than you think you are. Report
I would probably try the vegan one first. Report
I would use the South Beach (I have other South Beach Cookbooks) and The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook. Report
I am a cook that is very short on time. I find that every time I buy a new cookbook or someone gives me one, I never heard of the ingredients or it takes me 2 hours to prepare a meal. I would like to see some of the recipes before I buy another cookbook. Report
Thank you for the great list cookbooks. Report
The problem with these cookbooks is that they call for ingredients that no one has in their refrigerator or pantry. Report
This is interesting and really getting into 'clean eating' so am
ordering one for my Kindle. Report
Great atricle Report
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