3 of the best cookbooks to help you kickstart healthy eating, save money, and help the environment

PRUDENCE WADE picks out some of the best new books to try if you want to boost your energy levels this January
3 of the best cookbooks to help you kickstart healthy eating, save money, and help the environment

Elisa Rossi, author of Happy Skin Kitchen (Thorsons). 

WHILE we love the roast potatoes and mince pies of December, it can leave you feeling a bit sluggish – so eating the rainbow is a sure-fire way to get your energy back in January.

By no means do you have to restrict your food or stop eating the things you love though. Instead, you could use the new year as an opportunity to expand your healthy food repertoire, try some new recipes, and hopefully start reaping all the benefits that come with it.

And there are plenty of new cookbooks to help kickstart your healthy eating journey. You might find they have other benefits too, such as saving money, making your skin glow, and even helping the environment…

Bored Of Lunch by Nathan Anthony (Ebury Press). 
Bored Of Lunch by Nathan Anthony (Ebury Press). 

1. Bored Of Lunch: The Healthy Slow Cooker Book by Nathan Anthony

There’s a bit of a barrier to entry for this book, as all recipes need a slow cooker. However, if you have one, you’re in for a treat – because all the recipes are healthy, delicious and could even save you some pennies.

Belfast-based Nathan Anthony set up Bored of Lunch in 2020 as a way to cook healthier and more delicious meals during the lockdowns – and his Instagram page now has 906k followers. This is his debut cookbook, and is dedicated to dishes you can make in a slow cooker – which is said to have cheaper running costs than conventional ovens.

Anthony doesn’t claim to be a chef or nutritionist, but he certainly knows what works for a home cook.

These are the kind of recipes you can prep in advance, chuck into the slow cooker and come home to a delicious dish at the end of the day.

And slow cooker meals don’t just have to be an endless parade of stews, with Anthony’s recipes covering everything from Vietnamese beef pho to chicken tacos.

Published by Ebury Press. Photography by Clare Wilkinson. Out now.

 Happy Skin Kitchen by Elisa Rossi (Thorsons).
 Happy Skin Kitchen by Elisa Rossi (Thorsons).

2. Happy Skin Kitchen by Elisa Rossi

If you’re the kind of person who always wears sunscreen and has a multi-step skincare routine, this is definitely the book for you. It focuses on a particular type of health: skin health. After all, our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and what we eat and drink is just as important – if not more so – than the lotions and potions we put on it.

This is a highly personal cookbook for author Elisa Rossi, who struggled with painful hormonal acne until adopting a plant-based diet.

She describes making small steps towards a diet with more plant-based and whole foods – rather than going cold turkey – and seeing the results in not only her skin, but also her energy levels and fitness. She created Happy Skin Kitchen to share her journey and recipes, and this is her debut cookbook.

Rossi grew up in the countryside near Bologna, Italy, surrounded by organic vegetables and homecooked meals, and this ethos really shines through in her recipes. Dishes are colourful and full of nutritious ingredients – take your pick of everything from fluffy wholegrain pancakes and quinoa and kale falafel, to lemon and tahini courgette pasta and almond butter cups.

Published by Thorsons. Photography by Elisa Rossi. Available now.

Healthier Planet, Healthier You by Annie Bell (One Boat).
Healthier Planet, Healthier You by Annie Bell (One Boat).

3. Healthier Planet, Healthier You by Annie Bell

If you’re hoping to adopt a healthier diet this year, why not try and do good for the environment at the same time?

Healthier Planet, Healthier You – by veteran food writer and nutritionist Annie Bell, who has authored 20 cookbooks – is all about how you can adopt the planetary health diet.

This is a way of eating first recommended by a group of scientists in 2019, with the aim of reducing the environmental damage of how we eat – and as an added bonus, it turns out to be pretty good for your health too.

While Healthier Planet, Healthier You isn’t a hugely romantic book – Bell doesn’t wax lyrical about her personal relationship with lentils – what she does is provide practical, well-researched advice on how to cut down on waste in the kitchen (from prepping to storing different types of ingredients), as well as breaking down what impact key ingredients have on the environment, and how much of them we should aim to eat.

Take eggs – the planetary health diet recommends eating one-and-a-half a week. This isn’t particularly feasible, so Bell reduces it to one and has a handy chapter dedicated to one egg dishes – with ranchos eggs with cauliflower and lentils and spinach and Parmesan pancakes on the menu.

The content might be serious, but the recipes are inviting and don’t compromise on flavour. Bell gets inspiration from all over the world, with dishes including spicy Lebanese-style lamb stew, miso-glazed courgette and peppers and Irish stew pie.

Published by One Boat. Photography by Nassima Rothacker. Available now.

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