The Best Healthy Cookbooks: My Tried and True Favorites for a Holistic Approach to Nutrition

Created by Elly McGuinness

Last Updated: August 12, 2020

CATEGORIES: Healthy Eating

If you’re looking for the best healthy cookbook to provide you with a bit of culinary inspiration, then read on!

Information is at our fingertips on the internet and that includes a huge range of wonderful healthy recipe websites. However, there’s something about flicking through the pages of a beautiful cookbook that I find inspiring.

When I think “I’d like to cook X”, I search for that recipe on the internet. When I need inspiration on what to cook, I go to a cookbook and leaf through it for ideas. I find it quite enjoyable to sit down with my pile of cookbooks at the end of the week to plan and prepare for meals the following week. (What a geek!)

Authentic healthy cookbook recommendations from a qualified health and fitness professional

I’ve put together a list of my top ideas for the best healthy cookbooks. It’s a list of books that I personally own or have used in the past. I noticed that there are a few reviews of the ‘best healthy cookbooks’ on the internet, but that some of these have descriptions that are simply copied and pasted from Amazon. Whilst I’m sure the Amazon descriptions are accurate in terms of how the book author wants their book described, I wanted to put together more of a personal and authentic ‘tried and ‘tested’ description.

All of my book recommendations focus on whole, natural foods. If you have specific needs such as gluten free, dairy free, raw, paleo, or vegan, all these books contain options to fit most of these requirements, and I will specifically mention which ones they best cater to.

Your idea of the best healthy cookbook might be different to mine but I hope my descriptions will help you figure out whether you want to explore them further. If you’ve got any of your own recommendations for the best healthy cookbook, be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of the blog!

(This post includes affiliate links for which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase)

1. Dr. Libby books

I’m a long time fan of Dr Libby and have no hesitation in recommending her three recipe books in my ‘best healthy cookbook’ list. There are so many great Dr. Libby books that are centered on helping women to become happier and healthier.

Her three recipe books are all fantastic (yes, I have tried them all). Especially noteworthy are her raw sweet treats. They’re so nourishing that I even consider them as healthy as her main dishes!

Each year I’ve made my daughter one of her raw vegan cakes for her birthday. The first year was the beetroot chocolate mud cake, and the second was her blueberry and white chocolate one. For her most recent birthday I made Dr. Libby’s raw strawberry slice into a pile of cupcakes, which acted as a cake. They are all delicious and never fail to disappoint. They take a bit more effort than a traditional cake, but are well worth it. The best thing about all the treat treats is that you simply store them in the freezer and take out as needed (not a lot of defrosting required).

[By the way, if you’re looking to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet in a healthy, holistic way, grab this free guide to crushing your sugar cravings].

Dr. Libby cookbooks aren’t totally vegan or vegetarian but she does have a significant number of vegan recipes in all of her cookbooks. As a vegetarian, I am certainly spoiled for choice when cooking from her books. Check out Amazon for latest prices.

2. The simplicious book

Sarah Wilson is the lady behind ‘I quit sugar’ and the Simplicious book. The reason that I love her recipe book is that it encourages you to use leftovers and minimize waste, which I am a big fan of.

I like that she shares practical tips on topics such as preserving, freezing and bulk cooking. I highly recommend the simplicious book as the perfect accompaniment to a low sugar diet and going back to basics with real, delicious food.

Sarah now has four “I quit sugar” books. Three of them have over 300 recipes, and her detox program and cookbook has over 100 recipes. Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

If you’re truly ready to quit your sugar addiction, check out the Cut the Sugar program from my good friend Izzie.

3. The best healthy cookbook for seasonal dishes

Ripe recipes is one of my long time favorite best healthy cookbooks. Is it the best healthy cookbook? Well compared to all the others I am listing, I would say that the sweet recipes in this book aren’t as healthy as they are generally made with refined sugar.

I haven’t made any of the sweet treats in this book but I am sure they would be delicious. Perhaps you could try substituting some of the sugar for a less refined option.

I haven’t had the need to use their sweet recipes because I’ve had all these other great raw baking recipes to choose from. However, what I absolutely love about the ripe recipes cookbook is that it’s a seasonal cookbook. There are sections for summer, autumn, winter and spring, which are reflective of the produce that typically grows well during those seasons (well at least in New Zealand anyway). I am a huge fan of seasonal cookbooks because they help me on my quest to choose fresh, local produce.

best healthy cookbook - fresh local produce

An amazing cookbook for big salads to feed lots of people

The highlight of this seasonal cookbook for me is the salad recipes. Ripe is a cafe located in Auckland, New Zealand, and their recipes are truly reflective of an upper-end cafe. The flavors are amazing and the recipes produce huge dishes that would impress the most avid chefs.

Warning: don’t buy this cookbook unless you really love cooking. The recipes are not fast ones; they require plenty of love! I love making up one of their salads and taking it to a BBQ because it will help nourish and fill a good number of people. They’re not simply leafy green salads but instead can almost warrant being a meal on their own. Definitely a top seasonal cookbook and the recipes will certainly impress your friends!

There are now three Ripe Recipes cookbooks to choose from. The red one in the image below is the original one that I have at home. Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

4. Nourishing traditions cookbook

As a committed vegetarian, I wasn’t sure whether the nourishing traditions cookbook would be a good choice for me. It’s based on Weston A. Price philosophy which can be quite meat centered. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the book contained a large range of vegetarian dishes for me to choose from.

Note that if you are completely vegan you probably won’t want to buy this book because most of the dishes are made using butter and other animal products. You could substitute in vegan options but it would probably defeat the nutritional purpose and likely the taste of the meal.

The nourishing traditions cookbook is known as the cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. Is it the best healthy cookbook? Well that will probably depend on your definition of healthy. If you think that high-fat foods such as butter are unhealthy, then you probably won’t like this book!

A basic, real food focus for optimal nutrition

Like all my cookbook recommendations, the emphasis is on getting back to the basics of eating real food. There are two things I especially like about this book. Firstly, I love that there is a huge focus on how to properly prepare food for optimal nutrition.

The art of food preparation has been somewhat lost in modern society and this book shares many methods on how to properly prepare foods such as grains and legumes to ensure they are nourishing and well digested. It also shares fermented food recipes, which are fantastic as a central focus for gut health. Secondly, this book is full of wonderful food facts and education so you can learn all about what you’re eating before you cook it!

There is also a nourishing traditions cookbook for kids. Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

So there are my top five faves for the best healthy cookbook. What do you think are the best healthy cookbooks? I’d love to know so please leave a comment below!

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these recommended service provider links, like an insurance broker, or a travel agent, I may earn a commission – at no extra cost to you. [For my full disclosure, please see my DISCLAIMER page].

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Elly McGuinness


  1. Atim at EffiFit

    I like a good cookbook! Thanks for sharing your favorites. I have so many new ones to check out.

    • Elly McGuinness

      You’re welcome; I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!