Good cookbooks for healthy eating
August 22, 2016 7:48 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a good cookbook that emphasizes fresh vegetables and fruits and contains mix and match meal plans with rough caloric amounts for each meal.

I'd like to be able to build a better food routine. Right now, I live alone, eat sporadically, and while I really enjoy cooking, I end up eating out a lot because I am very busy. I have decided to take a weekend day every week to shop and prepare food for myself for the week, and I would like to be able to look at a cookbook and find a few go-to recipes that have a certain calorie count that I can prepare (or at least partially prep) on a Sunday. I am not trying to lose weight, but I do not want to gain it either; as a small woman I really do not get many calories to play with every day - so a "diet" cookbook might be best because I really can't go above 1500 calories a day at my size. I want to be able to make breakfast easily before work, pack my lunch and bring it to work where I have a fridge, and quickly make dinner after my long workday without sacrificing health or taste. I am also exhausted and can't spend a ton of time in the kitchen after work, so I often end up eating oatmeal for dinner or something (or just eating crackers) and skipping protein and greens entirely.

I am totally fine with eating the same thing every day and would like to be able to buy things that I can mix and match for different meals (eggs are a good example). Nothing makes me more unhappy than having to throw away food because I planned my meals poorly. I want food that is fresh, easy to prepare, and easy to build into my routine. I am positive that there are cookbooks that do exactly this, but I do not know what to look for. I'd like to see sections for, say, 400 calorie breakfasts, 400 calorie lunches, 600 calorie dinners (as an example). I really want a cookbook or two for this; I am not looking for specific recipes or ideas for what to cook in this thread. A great internet resource would also work, but I prefer an actual book if possible.
posted by sockermom to Food & Drink (4 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Check out Appetite for Reduction, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Don't be fooled by the title, this is straight up delicious food. Calories and serving suggestions included within.

We've had this book for about five years and I still cook from it every week. The green goddess dressing in it (no oil aside from the oil contained in a tablespoon of tahini = hugely reduced energy intake compared to most oily commercial dressings) is one of my favorite condiments, period. We make it by the liter.

I just gave our paper copy to our oldest, as his first cookbook as a college student. I've got the ebook version that I've used more often, I just prop my reader up on the kitchen counter and get to work. We make about 2/3 of our week's meals on Sunday, and the recipes in this book are mostly easy to scale up, portion, and freeze/refrigerate.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:54 AM on August 22, 2016 [6 favorites]

I haven't yet found this, though I'm eagerly watching this thread for more responses. We use Plan To Eat and love it. To determine calories in any given meal, I import the recipe from Plan To Eat into My Fitness Pal using MFP's recipe importer tool (which has gotten much better in recent months). This will tell me calories by serving size, which I can adjust based on how many ways I want to split the meal. It works pretty well.
posted by onecircleaday at 9:03 AM on August 22, 2016

Three Good Things is a lovely cookbook, but also a series on The Guardian website
I don't think there are calorie counts (I've lent out my book), but when I was on a diet I used it a lot and did the counting myself with the help of an app. Most of the recipes are very light, or easy to adapt. It helps build healthy habits.
I think when you are single, a lot of the problem is that you run out of ideas: here I am with half a courgette and two tomatoes and I am tired of pasta with veg-sauce. Three Good Things helped me get another perspective on vegetables and food and learn to see meals in a different way.
posted by mumimor at 10:42 AM on August 22, 2016

I am basically in the same boat you are -- a small single woman -- and, I swear to you, Gwyneth's cookbook It's All Good is great for this. It's not "diet food," but because she's trying not to eat too much dairy and whatnot, it's pretty low-calorie, and the sizes aren't huge. The recipes are really good. I am not a huge Goop fan, but sincerely, it's a great cookbook. (The new one, It's All Easy, might be good for you, too, but it's higher calorie and really, really basic -- too much so for my needs.)
posted by Countess Sandwich at 12:13 PM on August 22, 2016

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