Healthy eating? But which recipe book to choose?

For a long time for me healthy eating meant enjoying everything in moderation, it wasn’t until I began feeling super unhealthy and lethargic last year that I actually thought about what I was eating and what I was cooking for the family, even more so now being pregnant. Making sure we are all getting enough fruit and veg and finding healthy recipes that we all enjoy has become a bit of a hobby and consequently my recipe book shelf is overflowing with healthy recipe books.

With so many out there to choose from I thought I’d share my experiences to hopefully make your choice a little easier.

Healthy recipe books

Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food – £11.99 from Amazon.co.uk

I got this book before the accompanying programme had been released and was a bit disappointed, nothing seemed to jump out at me when I flicked through. However, after watching the series and giving the book a little more time I did change my tune and  am totally in agreement with Jamie’s ethos of sensible healthy – rather than cutting out all the delicious things in life, just add less.

The recipes are easy to follow which is a huge positive for my dyslexic brain and have all been tested a million times so they’re really accurate. I do feel that the Breakfast section could be a lot smaller and the Dinner section a bit bigger but that’s because I’m not really into anything elaborate for breakfast. I’d also say this is more of a Summer recipe book with not enough meat options on offer. I have a hungry husband who needs meat protein based meals and I didn’t really feel that there were enough options that would keep him happy and full.

Best for – Summer days. Simple and fast meals.

Jamie Oliver Everyday Super Food

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Madeleine Shaw’s Get the Glow – £10 from Amazon.co.uk

This book was my first foray into healthy (clean?) eating and I instantly loved it. Her recipes are inviting and not too complicated and feature ingredients that aren’t ridiculously cray cray.

I love the Weekend Wonders section for our evening meal ideas and have found some delicious dinner party recipes in this book too. I will often pimp the recipes with chicken for a bit of added protein and substitute almond milk and butter for the real stuff.

Best for – Easy intro into healthy eating. Fast evening meals. Real clean eating (no dairy or sugar)

Madeleine Shaw Get the Glow

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Hemsley & Hemsley’s The art of eating well – £11.75 from Amazon.co.uk

I’m usually not one for reading the bumf at the beginning of recipe books but this one really captured my attention. Mostly because they are very sensible about their explanation of good and bad foods, briefly explaining the benefits of certain foods and offering up wholly refreshing 12 golden rules. Love that these girls aren’t afraid to include recipes featuring fattier meats and, gasp, sausages! They’ve even made Oliver a fan of courgette and lentil curry! Love it!

Best for – A slightly more adventurous cook. Someone with a bit more time on their hands to dedicate to cooking.

Hemsley Hemsley Art of Eating Well

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Gizzi Erskine’s Healthy appetite – £12 from Amazon.co.uk

I absolutely adore this book. You can probably just make out the multitude of paper tabs sticking out of the top of the book denoting recipes that tickle my fancy. Out of all of the books, this is the one that really got me excited about creating the recipes. This is probably because the recipes feel a little less super healthy than Jamie and Madeleine. I did find the type particularly difficult to follow and page layout didn’t help either, also really wanted to see photos of each recipe as I’m super lazy and can’t be bothered to read the description of each un-photographed recipe.

Like the Hemsley girls, Gizzi doesn’t shy away from proper filling food and doesn’t compromise on flavour. Absolutely love the Korean influence to some of her dishes.

She also has a great range of recipes from easy to more fiddly but definitely worth the extra fiddlyness (her featherblade bourguignon is incredible!). She’s also the only one to feature cakes and puddings with actual sugar in rather than the complete avoidance of refined sugars that the rest of the recipe books include, but as Gizzi explains, as long as we don’t go crazy with consuming it then a small amount of sugar is fine.

Best for – All round deliciousness. Definitely a more adventurous cook and one who has more time on their hands. Some great dinner party options.

Gizzi Erskine Healthy Appetite

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Jolene Hart’s Eat pretty – £10.68 from Amazon.co.uk

This technically isn’t a recipe book but advises on the health benefits of certain vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices and nuts as well as the reasons why certain things are bad for our bodies.

I found the sections focusing on seasonal produce really helpful, offering a handful of recipes to utilise the ingredients in the best way to see you through that particular season in the best health. This book is also great at focusing on particular problem areas of health outside of skin such as sleep and digestion.

Best for – A fab and informative read to accompany your recipe book choice.

Jolene Hart Eat Pretty

Final verdict

The books that get the most use in my house are Gizzi, Madeleine and the Hemsley girls. That’s not to say that this won’t change with the approach of warmer weather but at the moment this is the perfect balance for every day cooking as well as hosting.

I have also previously borrowed a friend’s copy of Deliciously Ella but found it’s pure vegan basis way too healthy and didn’t find many of the recipes very appealing, they certainly weren’t appealing to a hungry husband.

I’d also add that with the exception of Gizzi Erskine (whose puddings are really good!), the healthy puddings are only worth doing if you really want to avoid sugars. Chocolate mousse with avocado will never taste like real chocolate mousse so I’d much rather eat a smaller portion of the real stuff or not have a pudding at all than force my way through a poor imitation. Yuk.

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