This Best Healthy Cookbooks & Self Help Books gift guide will inspire you to stay healthy all year long. Give as gifts, and stock up on a few for yourself!

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Growing up, books were one of my all-time favorite gifts to receive for Christmas.

When I was younger, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Little Women, Brighty of The Grand Canyon, and The Little House on The Prairie series, were just a few of my favorite books.

By late elementary and middle school, I was obsessed with anything by Judy Blume or Agatha Christie, and in high school, I got swept away by Danielle Steele romances {gulp-guilty pleasure!}, plus a few classics ~ A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is still one of my all-time favorites. Have you read it??

Flash forward many, many years, and my love for books remains, although my tastes have changed a little…

Although I am still a sucker for any mystery or suspense novel, a la Gone Girl or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and I’ve {mostly} ditched romance novels, for historical fiction {Pope Joan, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and The Devil in The White City}.

I also enjoy biographies/autobiographies {recent reads include Wild and A Walk in the Woods}, and, as you might expect from a foodie dietitian, I have an ever so slight obsession with healthy cookbooks and self-help books these days.

(Are you on Goodreads? I’d love to connect with you!–> EA Stewart)

That being said, I had so much fun putting together my holiday gift guide for you with 25 healthy cookbooks & self-help books for you to give AND receive this holiday season!

Note: I have personally read most of these books, but not all of them. I owe a huge thanks to my fellow registered dietitian nutritionist friends and colleagues for their favorite book recommendations!

Best Healthy Cookbooks & Self-Help Books

Best Healthy Cookbooks |General Cooking & Cooking Techniques

1 The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page & Andrew Dorenburg ~ My favorite “cookbook” that’s not a “cookbook” of the year.

(Read my Vegetarian Flavor Bible review to learn why I love this book so much!)

2 Yogurt Culture by Cheryl Sternman Rule. Recommended by Katie Sullivan Morford at Mom’s Kitchen Handbook, and a new favorite of mine!

3 & 4 Ancient Grains for Modern Meals & Simply Ancient Grains by Maria Speck ~ You won’t miss the meat with both of these gorgeous cookbooks featuring nourishing whole grains recipes {with many gluten-free options} by ancient grains guru, Maria Speck.

Best Healthy Cookbooks | Kids & Family

5 & 6 No Whine With Dinner & The Moms’ Guide to Meal Makeovers by The Meal Makeover Moms My kids’ have loved everything they’ve cooked from these cookbooks, & I love how easy the recipes are!

(To make from their cookbook–> Meatloaf Muffins )

7 Best Lunch Box Ever by Kate Morford ~ Lots of fun and easy school lunch ideas your kids will love!

8 Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair. Recommended by dietitian, McKenzie Hall Jones.

9 Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen by Kathy Brennan & Caroline Campion. Recommended by Kate Sullivan Morford.

Best Healthy Cookbooks | Special Diet

10 Plant Powered for Life by Sharon Palmer ~ This is a fabulous cookbook & vegetarian reference book for anyone trying to get more plant-based meals in their diet!

(Read my review & get the recipe for the most delicious Black Bean Brownies.)

11 Fast and Simple Gluten-Free by Gretchen Brown ~ Everything I’ve made from this book is absolutely delicious, and, for the most part, easy to make too.

(Read my review & get the recipe for a family favorite recipe-Pear Dutch Baby!)

12 The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen ~ One of my all-time favorite vegetarian cookbooks, given to me by my best friend when I was just getting started in my nutrition career, the Moosewood Cookbook has been inducted into the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame!

13 The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Lidden. Recommended by Amy.

14 Street Vegan: Recipes & Dispatches from The Cinnamon Snail Food Truck by Adam Sobel. Recommended by Lara Felton, RDN.

15 The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon: Simple and Inspired Whole Foods Recipes to Savor and Share by Sprouted Kitchen. Recommended by Lara Felton, RDN.

16 The 21-Day Tummy Diet Cookbook by Liz Vaccariello and Kate Scarlata, RD ~ Delicious low FODMAP recipes that I highly recommend to my IBS clients, and anyone else dealing with bloating and other digestive health symptoms.

(Read my review of The 21-Day Tummy Diet Cookbook.)

17 Natural Pregnancy Cookbook by Sonali Ruder ~ Nutrition tips and delicious recipes for a healthy pregnancy. Also recommended by Dixya Bhattarai at Food, Pleasure, & Health.

(Read my review of The Natural Pregnancy Cookbook.)

Best Healthy Cookbooks | Fun

18 Cocktails for Cougars and Cowgirls: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Every Woman by Jordan Catapano. Recommended by Liz at Shaw’s Simple Swaps.

19 Maple: 100 Sweet and Savory Recipes Featuring Pure Maple Syrup by Katie Webster ~ A “must read” for maple syrup lovers!

(Read my Maple review)

20 Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel by Heidi Swanson. Recommended by Katie Sullivan Morford.

Best Self-Help & Healthy Living Books

21 Slim By Design by Brian Wansink ~ Great tips and easy-to-implement changes to make you a more mindful eater.

(Read my review of Slim By Design & get Six Simple Weight Loss Tips~No Dietiting Involved!)

22 The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin ~ I bought this book last January, and, although I was already pretty happy, discovered lots of tidbits of wisdom and advice that I have happily {and successfully} implemented over the last year. Highly recommend!

23 Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest. Simple Solutions for Fresh Food and Well-Being by Judy Barbe

24 The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo ~ Yes, I have the book. No, I have not read through all of it {yet}, but I did implement some of the tips to clean out my closet with much success! Also, recommended by Katie Morford Sullivan.

25 The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown

What are your favorite cookbooks and self-help books???

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23 Comments

  1. Joanna Foley says:

    A “self-help” book that I really love is “Better than before” by Gretchen Ruben. Its all about understanding your personality type to know how to most effectively develop new habits and it offers such a unique perspective!
    A healthy cookbook on my holiday list is “Oh She Glows” cookbook!
    I just finished reading “unconventional medicine” by Chris Kresser…it was good! I also LOVE the book “whole” by T Colin Campbell.

  2. Collecting cookbooks is one my hobbies. I can’t wait to go through your list and learn more about the authors and the info they hAve to share .

  3. Jena Wood says:

    I love the line of skinnytaste books.
    I’ve had the thug kitchen cookbooks in my Amazon cart for awhile!
    And finally, being in grad school severely limits my ability to read anything for “fun”… So I’ll get back to you on that 😉

  4. I would love to read The No Whine dinners for kids!! We definitely need that one in our house!!

  5. Love to see what others are reading! Me? It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, Discovering creativity and meaning at midlife and beyond by Julia Cameron. My best creative outlet is in the kitchen- cooking and developing recipes.

  6. I love love love cookbooks. I have a vegetarian daughter and I am NOT vegetarian, so always looking for new recipes we will all eat!

    1. The Spicy RD says:

      Hi Desiree! So glad you found some cookbook ideas, along with recipes for your daughter. Cheers!

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  9. I would love to try Ancient Grains for Modern Meals. I am also loving that yogurt book.

  10. I like Kristy Turner’s “But I Could Never Go Vegan.” I’ve got my eye on Miyoko Schinner’s “The Homemade Vegan Pantry” and Angela Liddon’s “Oh She Glows Cookbook” (if I have to pick one from your list)!

  11. Kristi Rimkus says:

    I couldn’t live without The Flavor Bibles. I’ll be passing your list along to family. There are few I’d love to see under the tree on Christmas morning!

  12. Jessica @ Nutritioulicious says:

    So many great books here! The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is totally on my wish list, although now I need to look into some of these other books too! My fave go-to cookbook is Food & Wine’s annual cookbook from 2010- I’m due for an update!!

  13. Melanie @ Nutritious Eats says:

    SO many good ones. I used to get one every xmas but now I am at capacity although I really want the flavor bible! I might have to get rid of some old ones!

  14. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says:

    My cookbook collection is ALWAYS growing and I just LOVE collecting them! Doesn’t matter what it’s about, what diet, cuisine, I love them all!

  15. I will add of these books to my wishlist! I’ve been wanting “Slim by Design” and the “Oh she Glows” cookbook for a long time! I think the “Vegetarian Flavor Bible” is an essential.

  16. Joan Kubes says:

    I’d love to read The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. I’m trying to cut out meats and need ideas since I have no idea about how to cook this way.

  17. Katie {moms kitchen handbook} says:

    You have some of my favorites here and some new ones for me. I’m curious to pick up Brian Wansink’s new book, am hoping Near and Far might be under the tree this year, and am most honored that Best Lunch Box Ever made your list!

  18. Linda Knabel says:

    Cannot believe going gluten free has freed me from so much body pain. I thank Gretchen Brown for that and her cookbook, Gluten free. Thank you so. Much.

  19. Elizabeth Shaw says:

    Oh EA, how can anyone not want to be your BFF! Your writing just makes me feel like we’re chatting over coffee. Plus, now that I know you too have an obsession with Little Women, I’m sure we’d get along chatting about American Girls and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman too, right?!
    So many favorite cookbook this year that I’m currently loving is Dr. Ruder’s Natural Pregnancy Cookbook. I just love the layout and the way she includes the nutrition right there for you. Perfect for anyone, pregnant or not!
    My wish list, hmm, that’s tough! I am loving the latest book I saw in O’s Magazine called “Tacos”. I remember Sara Hass posting something on this before and then I saw it there too and was like DANG, I need that book!
    I have heard a lot of great things about Plant Powedered for Life! I will have to keep an eye out for that!

    Have a great day, enjoy those pistachios- super jelly!

  20. My favorite cookbook is the Longevity Kitchen by Rebecca Katz. That Vegetarian Bible just became #1 on my wish list. Sounds great for creative playing in the kitchen. I really enjoyed reading your reviews on the various cookbooks. Fast and Gluten Free sounds good too.

  21. My favorite cookbook of all time is Isa Does It, but this year I would like Eat Like You Give a Damn!

  22. Colleen C says:

    I love the skinnylicious cookbook! On my holiday list is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I have been looking at this book for a while and it would be a good way to start off the new year by tidying up my house. I don’t have an old favorite but I just purchased the runner’s world cookbook. I have heard good reviews so I am hoping to get some new recipes to get us out of the dinner rut.