Popular & Best Fitness Cookbooks Compared & Reviewed

Last Updated: January 21, 2021

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Someone long ago said that abs aren’t made in the gym but in the kitchen, and I agree 100%. No matter how heavy you lift, how long you run, and how frequent you go to the gym, if you’re eating habits are not up to par with your goals, then it’s all pointless.

The most ideal formula for fitness is 80-20. The 80-20 principle states that 80% of your efforts to fitness should be focused on your nutrition, while 20% on your exercise regimen. It’s all part of the equation and you can’t neglect one and expect to see results.

As for myself, I love whipping up simple recipes with easily accessible ingredients. As much as I like spending time in the kitchen, sometimes, I just don’t have the luxury to. If left to my own devices, I would be cooking the same meals over and over again.

This is why cookbooks have a really big role to play in my everyday life. I like cookbooks that offer straightforward and easy-to-do recipes. Some have complex ones, but whichever the case, and whichever you prefer, I’ve rounded up some of the most popular fitness cookbooks in 2020.

Check it out and see which recipes you might try for later. A few of these cookbooks are very fitness-specific whilst others can be used for the whole family however still boasting the right elements needed for a fitness goals diet.

Most Popular Fitness Cookbooks Compared And Reviewed

#1 - The Complete Meal Prep Cookbook For Beginners: Your Essential Guide To Losing Weight And Saving Time by Lynda Rhodes

If you’re the type of fitness enthusiast who has time on weekends to plan and prepare your meals throughout the week, then you might be interested to read the Complete Meal Prep Cookbook For Beginners by Lynda Rhodes.

Meal prepping has become a trend that most health buffs turn to, to ensure that they’re reaching or maintaining their daily caloric goals, even going as deep as counting their macros.

Sellers have started popping out here and there offering ready-to-eat meals which are likened to meal prepping. But if you want to make a meal prepping on your own, then you’d find this book to be a lot of help to get you started.

Meal prepping has a lot of benefits: it saves you money, saves you time throughout the week, you’re sure of your portions, and reduces the stress you experience when you have to make last-minute decisions about what food to eat.

You’ll be learning all about meal prepping through this book. From micro to macro nutrition, some tips for easy-to-make meals, counting calories, and the like. You’ll also find the 9 Rules of Successful Meal Prepping.

While this is a very comprehensive book, if you’re a visual person, you might not like this too much as the book has no illustrations of the food at all. Nevertheless, you’ll find simple and useful recipes for your meal prep sessions.

What are other fitness enthusiasts saying about this book?

“I’ve been meal prepping for only about two weeks now and it really does save a lot of time and cost. This book is highly informative, and I like how it’s very helpful especially for beginners like me.” Mila S.

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#2 - Naturally Delicious Snacks & Treats by Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell

With the aim to revolutionize snacking, sisters Gracie and Sophie founded Squirrel Sisters. It’s a health and wellness company that offers a variety of treats and snacks ranging from peanut butter protein bars, peanut caramel cookies, and cacao brownies.

Their commitment to health is that they only make snacks with all-natural ingredients. So even if you’re treating yourself, you’re treating your health, as they say.

Their expertise is validated by a plethora of awards and all their products are being sold in major 2000 stores across the US and online. From this success, they came up with their book Naturally Delicious Snacks & Treats with the intention of helping you bring their expertise right at your own kitchens.

Their book is categorized through three chapters: Breakfast Time, On-the-Move, and Sweet Tooth. With these, you will be able to find a variety of recipes from their famous energy bars, fruit and nut bars, even healthy eclairs. You’d also find savory treats like flavored popcorn, samosas, and cheese souffle.

The book isn’t short of snack recipes that you can do at home. What I like about it is you don’t need to go out and buy baking equipment or such. They use everyday home appliances and offer alternatives on how to do their recipes.

When you’re on a diet, it’s very hard to find good, healthy snacks to chew on. Sometimes, you end up snacking on more calories than you should without even knowing it. Following recipes from this book is a great way to control your snacking portions and ensuring that you’re still eating healthy.

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#3 - Feeding the Whole Family: Cooking with Whole Foods by Cynthia Lair

If you have tiny mouths to feed at the table, it can be extra tough to think of great recipes that will entice your kids to join in. One of the ways to help them develop their palates is to incorporate healthy recipes early on, while they are young. Cynthia Lair offers just that in her book “Feeding the Whole Family”.

Cynthia Lair is the founder of Bastyr University’s Nutrition and Culinary Arts program where she had been a key professor for more than 20 years.

She has lots of books under her sleeve, but this specific book focuses on how to build a great food foundation for the whole family: from the kids to the parents which will benefit everyone in the long run.

In this book, you’ll find plenty of recipes you can experiment with. There are about 200 recipes and all of which are focused on whole foods.

What I like about this book is that it also has sections on topics pertaining to different stages of a child’s eating development from breastfeeding, how to transition to solid foods, food allergies, and how it’s important to eat as a whole family.

There are also extra recipes of how you can create simpler food for the kids on your table from the complex recipes that you do for the adults in the room. A lot of families consider this one of the necessities in their home kitchen especially those who have younger ones at home.

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#4 - The Moosewood Restaurant Table: 250 Brand-New Recipes from the Natural Foods Restaurant

If you’ve ever been to New York, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about Moosewood restaurant. It’s the pioneer of natural and healthy food eating in the US which was founded by 19 healthy food enthusiasts –five men and fourteen women– who have authored a lot of books under the name:

The Moosewood Collective. They describe themselves as a group of singers, dancers, actors, performers, poets, artists, health enthusiasts, great cooks, and even greater eaters.

The restaurant is currently in its 50th year, and they’ve released 14 cookbooks since it was established. For this book, they intend to bring the farm-to-table philosophy into your home while also being unique and gastronomically surprising.

While they can offer so much to a home cook who’s looking for healthy recipes, I find that some of their ingredients are very hard to get by, sometimes even inaccessible. You’ll see vegetables like freekeh or watermelon radishes and other ingredients that I have yet to encounter. It’s quite overwhelming.

Nevertheless, no one can deny that the recipes from this cookbook will elevate your cooking skills and open your eyes to more techniques, ingredients, and meals that you do not regularly see even in high-end restaurants.

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#5 - The Keto Reset Diet Cookbook: 150 Low-Carb, High-Fat Ketogenic Recipes to Boost Weight Loss by Mark Sisson and Lindsay Taylor

This is the second book from the authors which aims to help you stay on keto. If you have already started your Keto diet then you’ve already overcome the first hurdle, the next one is staying on it.

The recipes on this book aim to completely help you fully transition to eating fewer carbohydrates and ensure that your body is in a consistent state of ketosis. 

That means that you’re using fat as your fuel. As the book focuses on keto recipes, don’t be surprised if you don’t see grains, sugar, or bread on the ingredients.

You’ll find 150 recipes in this book which will teach you how to keto the right way. None of that processed bunless burgers from fast-food restaurants. 

With this book, you’ll be creating your keto meals from scratch while proving you with more tips on how to healthily maintain your keto diet. You’ll also find a 21-day startup program on this book which will help your body better prepare for the change in your diet.

Both authors have been followers of the Keto lifestyle, and they’ve become ambassadors of it. They guarantee that their recipes are easy, delicious, and are made up of easily accessible ingredients. You’ll also find a list of food that you can stock up in your pantry to ensure that you are always prepped for keto meals.

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My Number One Pick

When weighing out the different options I chose to go with Lynda Rhode’s book as number one. This is because my primary focus is fitness as well as time. By doing meal prep I’m able to stay on top of all my other affairs including training, work and raising my young family. Ultimately pick which one works best to suit your needs, if you’re on a keto diet then then Lindsay Taylor’s book may be the better pick!

What To Consider When Buying A Cookbook

If you’ve never owned a cookbook before, don’t worry I didn’t either until recently. I’ve compiled a list of information below which I hope will help you when looking for the right one to suit your needs.

Measurements

What metric of measurement does the cookbook use? Grams? Liters? Pounds? Ounces? If you find yourself constantly having to measure and convert, measure and convert, then you need to drop that book down and go down the aisle and look for another one. In the US, cups, tablespoons, and pounds should be used for weight. Otherwise, it’s just not worth buying at all.

Format of the Page

You have to keep in mind how you would be using your cookbook. You would probably have it opened in your kitchen counter as your stove is on while cutting your ingredients among a million other things that are happening. A cookbook with good text size, page formatting, and clear ingredient list will be able to help you while you’re cooking.

If you’re rushing and you’d also have to think about constantly figuring out what the next step is because of the unfriendly format of the cookbook, you’d be better off just finding something off the internet. Less hassle with the format, more focus on the cooking at hand.

Ingredients and Their Alternatives

A lot of recipes will tend to overwhelm you with unique ingredients that are sometimes too hard to find. A great cookbook will have about 2-3 alternatives that are common food items. Or they could also reference where these kinds of ingredients can be found.

This also shows that the author is showing a lot of care for its readers. You can’t expect everyone to have the exact ingredient that you’re putting on your recipe, so alternatives make a cookbook more friendly, and less cheffy.

Art and Illustrations

Connecting this with the ingredients, it’s also helpful if less accessible ingredients have illustrations in a cookbook. This way, it will make it slightly easier for you to find it.

A great photo of the finished product will also serve as an inspiration. Sometimes, it’s what makes a reader hooked to the cookbook. The right amount of illustration against the text will be very easy on the eyes. A bit of border or design on the pages wouldn’t hurt either.

Equipment

Consider also a cookbook that uses simple household equipment. There are some cookbooks that require special equipment which can only be found in industrial kitchens. Unless you have that at home, then you should find a cookbook that has recipes that can be accommodated by your home kitchen.

Usefulness

What is your goal when it comes to fitness? Are you geared towards helping your family develop better food choices? Are you trying to transition to a keto lifestyle? Are you a Vegan looking for more options? Do you want to start meal-prepping?

What you want out of your meals will be able to determine what kind of fitness cookbook you should buy.

Typically, each cookbook tries to address a certain need: like the Squirrel Sisters are for snack recipes, while Moosewoods for farm-to-table meals. Before you buy any cookbook, assess first where you are at your fitness goals in order to help you better choose a great cookbook for you.

Conclusion

Let’s face it, sometimes you just get tired of eating the same meals with the same kinds of recipes week on week. Having a great cookbook on hand will allow you to explore different tastes, techniques, and push you to develop your cooking skills.

There are thousands, perhaps, millions of cookbooks out there and you will find yourselves paralyzed just leafing through each book, in search of the perfect one. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect book. Two to three cookbooks on hand will give you the versatility that you need.

At the end of the day, your fitness goals will determine what you want in your cookbook. If you are clear on that, then you wouldn’t find it too difficult to choose a great cookbook for you.

If you’re unsure of your goals, check out my post on the most popular weight loss trends. If your goals are to slim down, then perhaps combine a weight loss trend together with a cookbook mentioned above to get started quickly. 

I will look to do a post soon on the most popular cookbooks for bodybuilding. Mostly it will be the same food, just in larger quantities to ensure you meet your macro needs. If you’d like me to cover anything specific please feel free to leave a comment on this post or contact me.

Do you have any fitness cookbooks that you swear by? Why not share it in the comments box below!

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