#19 The 3 Cookbooks I’m Using Right Now to Help Me Stay Healthy and Sane

healthy eating May 19, 2020

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Today I’m going to share with you the three cookbooks that I’m using right now to help me stay healthy and sane. I know how hard it is to figure out how to eat healthy and then integrate those foods into your life.  Soooo many rules and so much kale.  I have a simple approach to healthy eating and three cookbooks to support you to do it.


In this episode you will learn:

  1. How I approach eating healthy 
  2. Why Pinterest and online cooking apps do NOT work for me.
  3. The three cookbooks that I’m using right now to support me


How I approach healthy eating

It's so hard to eat healthy consistently, especially when you are stressed.  I have two simple things that I do to help me keep prioritizing eating healthy.

1. Planning

I plan out my meals to support me.  Sometimes I might be on Zoom calls for most of the day, so I'd need something fast and easy for that day.  Other days I know I have some time to actually cook and enjoy my meal.  And, almost everyday, I'm tired by the time dinner rolls around - so most of my dinners are pre-made.

How do I plan?  I do LOTS of meal-prepping, but only in a way that works for me.  Meaning - I don't do it every Sunday.  I do it some Sundays.  Sometimes it happens on a Tuesday.  Sometimes we get carry out to support a local business on Saturday, and because I have an over-ordering problem, it can last through Monday.  I sit down on Sunday and plan out my entire week, which includes meals.  I treat meals as important as I would a client.  I block off the times when I will cook and I always block of time for eating, just so I don't accidentally work through a meal.  Hangry is a real thing!

2. Pick things I actually enjoy eating

Nothing will break me of eating healthy like trying to force myself to eat something I hate.  For instance, I don't like artichokes.  Never have, never will.  I know some people LOVE them.  I LOVE broccoli.  Love love love - so much I won't even put cheese on it (and I love cheese).  I pick things that I know I will enjoy.  I pick things that I like.  If someone is telling you the way to healthy eating is with kale and you hate kale - then find another way. 


Why Cooking Apps and Pinterest DON'T Work for Me

When it comes to cooking and eating healthy I can really go down the rabbit hole of the internet.  This is why amazing cooking apps like the New York Times Cooking or Epicurious don't work for me.  I will go on for a recipe that includes chicken and carrots and resurface 4 hours later with no recipe, exhausted, and then nothing gets cooked.  But I do enjoy looking at them, so I still use them for that.  I love cooking and I love food - so they are almost like looking through an art book for me.  But for me to be successful, I need a specific plan of what to cook.  And I do soooo much better if it's a physical book in my house.


The 3 Cookbooks I’m Using Right Now

Listen, on the podcast, I kinda got super excited about talking about these cookbooks.  I really do love cookbooks that much.  And cooking.  But mostly food.  I mostly love food. 

I think you can eat healthy AND enjoy what you are eating!

I know, I'm crazy.

Note: I'm not the best cook.  I set many things on fire and make poor choices about measuring (mostly by not measuring).  I think I remember recipes and then don't and mess them up.  I will leave things out if they are not in the house.  What I cook is rarely pretty and all the parts of the meal arrive at different times.  What am I trying to say?  These cookbooks support me, a terrible cook, in cooking healthy food for my family.

Lunch!: Flavorful, Colorful, Powerful Lunch Bowls to Reclaim Your Midday Meal by Olivia Mack McCool - click here

This is probably my favorite cookbook of all time.  It has made a huge impact on our lives and how we cook.

Why do I love this book?  Because it takes meal prepping and makes it into something I don't hate.  Traditional meal prepping has me making one thing and eating it over and over.  This book has me cooking a bunch of different things that then get recombined into different meals.  For example, on Sunday I might cook for 2-3 hours and create all the parts that I will assemble into 5 different meals using different parts. It means that every meal is different.  I love that.

Why is it about lunch?  I really don't know, because we use them for any meal.  I think it was meant to help people have healthy yummy meals for lunch that they could take to work with them.  But that's not how we use it.  Also, it's made for cooking for 1 person which I think is amazing because there are so few cookbooks that are just for one.  We double the recipes and it lasts all week for 2 people.

What else?  The food is AMAZING!!  It's so good. The sauces are simple and flavorful.  And when I make things they actually look like the pictures - which never happens.

Together: Our Community Cookbook by The Hubb Community Kitchen - click here

Why do I love this book?  Imagine a bunch of moms teaching you how to cook, but they are all from other countries. That is what this is and it is magical.  I get to learn the short cuts and hacks that moms from Lebanon, Ethiopia, Russia, and so many other amazing places actually cook for their families.  I've purchased so many cookbooks that focus on specific countries - like an Indian cookbook - but the recipes are traditional and complex and take forever and require a bunch of ingredients I don't have.  This book is how women cook for their families and their communities.  They are fast, easy, AND FREAKING DELICIOUS. 

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition by Mark Bittman - click here

Why do I love this book?  We eat mostly veggies in this house.  I need ideas. I need to know how to take 3 carrots and some bok choi and make something.  This book does that.  It gives me endless ideas for rich, robust, and hearty vegetable meals.  It helps me figure out new ways to eat things that I get too many of - like all of the tomatoes in August.  So many tomatoes.  It has amazing sauces.  It has quick fixes and ways to substitute.  It is not lying when it says how to cook EVERYTHING.  Mark Bittman also explains things really well.  It's like having a professional chef in the kitchen who can answer, "Hey, what can I make with these three things."  Also, I don't need help cooking meat.  I know how to make steak or fish or chicken.  I got that. 

So, that's what we are using right now in our kitchen.  And, spoiler alert - it's what we will be using for the next few months because I'm lazy and tend to stick with what works.

I hope you will check out the books.  Don't forget:

  1. Many of these books have that "look inside the cover" thing on amazon so you can see the awesome.
  2. Libraries have cookbooks.  And if you have an awesome library, it has lots of cookbooks in their online catalog.  So you can preview before you buy.
  3. Used bookstores are amazing resources for cookbooks.
  4. Cookbooks make awesome gifts.




I wish you a healthy, happy, and mostly sane week!

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