10 wholesome cookbooks to reboot your health in 2019

Keto, gluten-free, vegan, OMD: The cookbook options are endless.
Keto, gluten-free, vegan, OMD: The cookbook options are endless. Photo: Shutterstock

Every new year you swear this is the year you'll eat better, kick that long-term weight loss goal, and start jogging in the mornings. What better way to reboot your health than with a glossy new cookbook full of fresh, healthy recipes? Here are 10 cookbooks to get you started. 

Smart Carbs, Luke Hines

Pan Macmillan Australia, $39.99

Smart Carbs.
Smart Carbs. Photo: Supplied

What better place to start than with the go-to health trend of 2018 - keto. This book lets you dip your toes into the diet using a carbs scale to group recipes, ranging from the "keto zone" (practically no carbs) to the "sustain zone" (enough carbs to maintain weight). So while you'll find plenty of super low-carb ideas, there's also ample space devoted to heartier dishes such as lasagne and chicken nuggets.   

Good for: People who enjoy their diets with a dash of charts and graphs

If you like this you'll like: Low Carb Healthy Fat Nutrition by Steph Lowe is like keto without the buzzwords

8 Weeks to Wow.
8 Weeks to Wow. Photo: Supplied

8 Weeks to Wow, Emilie Brabon-Hames and Chief Brabon

Murdoch Books, $29.99

This book promises a dramatic body transformation in just eight week by combining keto principles with a daily workout plan. Designed to "reboot" your metabolism, it effectively cuts out most carbs for a few weeks before gradually adding them back in. With former devotees such as singer Guy Sebastian and actor James Stewart, this program is as much about looking good as eating well. Strategically placed photos of chiselled abs provide extra motivation.

Good for: Anyone wanting to be told exactly what to eat and do


If you like this you'll like: The A-list Diet and Fitness Plan by Luke Zocchi promises swift results through a combination of training and dieting, minus the keto 

The CSIRO Healthy Gut Diet, Pennie Taylor, Michael Conlon, Tony Bird

Pan Macmillan Australia, $34.99

Every diet cookbook worth its salt claims to draw on food science in some way. But few boast as many contributors in doctor, professor and researcher roles as this title from one of Australia's leading research agencies. Like it says on the cover, the book addresses a wide array of issues related to gut health, from coeliac disease to irritable bowel syndrome. Rather than counting carbs or calories, recipes are more concerned with fibre, which the authors say is key to maintaining a healthy gut. This book may not make for great conversation over brunch with friends, but if you want meal plans to keep your digestion happy, this is where it's at.

CSIRO Healthy Gut.
CSIRO Healthy Gut. Photo: Supplied

Good for: Your grandparents

If you like this you'll love: ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine by Rebecall Powell Marx and John La Puma

Happy Food, Niklas Ekstedt and Henrik Ennart

Absolute Press, $39.99

Happy Food.
Happy Food. Photo: Supplied

After a diet cookbook that doubles as a coffee book that triples as an ode to superfoods? This is for you. The neon orange text against light grey paper may burn your retinas in short order, but the litany of obscure diets (beans before and after every meal, anyone?) within will turn you into that friend who's ahead of the curve and can't shut up about it. You'll also find recipes for every superfood of the moment and then some, from sauerkraut to turmeric.

Good for: The friend who's always looking for the latest trending diet

If you like this you'll love: Medical Medium: Life-changing Foods by Anthony William and Christiane Northrup 

Hassle Free, Gluten Free.
Hassle Free, Gluten Free. Photo: Supplied

Hassle Free, Gluten Free, Jane Devonshire

Bloomsbury, $39.99 

Written by 2016 Masterchef winner Jane Devonshire, whose 14-year-old son has coeliac disease, this is a family traditional cookbook through and through. From the rustic photography to the classic flavour combinations, it's filled with hearty, healthy recipes designed to feed the whole family, whether they can eat gluten or not.

Good for: Anyone wanting to learn to cook better for the coeliacs in their lives

Elsa's Wholesome Life.
Elsa's Wholesome Life. Photo: Supplied

If you like this you'll love: Glorious Gluten-Free Cookbook by Vanessa Maltin

Elsa's Wholesome Life, Ellie Bullen

Pan Macmillan Australia, $34.99

Abundantly styled vegan cookbooks written by bloggers and Instagram stars pretty much deserve a category of their own by now. And this is one of the prettiest. It's the type of book that makes you think to yourself, yes, I do want to make bircher muesli decorated with papaya cut into stars. I do want to make my own almond milk in mason jars, or porridge sprinkled with edible flower petals. Interspersed between food photos are shots of Ella herself - sitting atop a Volkswagon in a flowy dress, smiling down at a green smoothie at the beach while pensively looking into the distance - just to remind you it's not just a diet, it's a whole lifestyle.

Lose Weight for Good.
Lose Weight for Good. Photo: Supplied

Good for: Anyone who wants to live their best Insta life  

If you like this you'll love: Vegan Goodness Feasts by Jessica Prescott 

OMD. Photo: Supplied

Lose Weight for Good, Tom Kerridge

Absolute Press, $35.99

This book doesn't invoke any fancy new science or superfoods. It's your classic calorie-reduction diet cookbook, with all the hallmarks of tried and tested advice. Low-fat versions of family favourites such as beef stroganoff sit side by side with zucchini pasta and and cauliflower rice, alongside vegie-laden Asian stir-fries and fruit-heavy desserts. With pages filled with interesting spins on conventional recipes, it's hard to go wrong with a cookbook like this.

Good for: Losing weight the old-fashioned way

Fear-Free Food.
Fear-Free Food. Photo: Supplied

If you like this you'll love: Gordon Ramsay Ultimate Fit Food by Gordon Ramsay

OMD, Suzy Amis Cameron

Murdoch Books, $32.99

OMD stands for "one meal a day", and pushes the idea that anyone can swap out one meal a day for a vegan dish. It's all about sustainable eating, opening with a 60-page explainer on why plant-based eating is not only good for your health but also the environment. With only 50 recipes, the book focuses less on specific dishes and more on how to live a sustainable lifestyle, including guides on protein and milk substitutes and advice on how to get children to eat more vegetables. And with details on how much land and water you're saving by eating plant-based meals, you'll feel like an eco activist in no time.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian.
Slow Cooker Vegetarian. Photo: Supplied

Good for: Anyone wanting to save the planet one meal at a time  

If you like this you'll love: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Fear Free Food, Nicola Jane Hobbs

Green Tree, $24.99

This book is the result of the author's attempt to free herself from years of fad diet and calorie-counting, with a good portion devoted to dispelling food myths and explaining how to "Eat food. Not too much. Not too little. Mostly plants". It's a philosophy you don't exactly need a book to follow, but the cute watercolour drawings and recipe commentary makes the book feel personal enough to keep you coming back.

Good for: Anyone who wants to eat better but cringes at the thought of diets

If you like this you'll love: Shannon's Kitchen: Healthy Food You'll Actually F---ing Eat! by Shannon Kelly White

Slow Cooker Vegetarian, Katy Holder

Murdoch Books, $29.99

People may associate slow cookers with tough cuts of meat, but what do you do if you're vegetarian and enjoy the convenience of slow-cooked meals? That's where this book steps in. It's a narrow curry-filled niche and sure, most of the desserts are puddings, but there are recipes in here you probably never considered making in a slow cooker. Brownies or ricotta bakes, anyone?

Good for: That friend who's really into food gadgets, or if your slow cooker has been gathering dust in the back of your cupboard

If you like this you'll love: Keto Slow Cooker and One-Pot Meals by Martina Slajerova