Whether you're still sticking to your New Year's resolutions or . . . not, around this time of year, we could all use some healthy eating inspiration. These 10 new and upcoming cookbooks will help you stick to your plan—or perhaps get you back on track. None are diet books. Instead, each offers sensible, sustainable ways to approach food, including a smarter way to eat pasta, lighter takes on Southern classics and baked goods with less sugar.
A Good Food Day: Reboot Your Health with Food That Tastes Great, by Marco Canora (Clarkson Potter, December 30, $30)
After 20 years in a professional kitchen, filling up on starch, sugar and fatty meat, Marco Canora's body staged a revolt. Unwilling to deprive himself, the Hearth chef set out to use his culinary talents to create recipes that would deliver the nutrition he so desperately needed while simultaneously keeping him both satisfied and excited to cook and eat in this new way. Canora's eating philosophy—less sugar and processed foods; more veggies, healthy fats and whole grains—won't shock anyone who keeps up with health news. But in his recently published cookbook, he provides the recipes to make it happen. Not convinced? Check out his Braised Chicken Thighs with Garlic, Lemon and Greek Olives or Amaranth "Polenta" with Tuscan Kale.
Salad Love: 260 Crunchy, Savory and Filling Meals You Can Make Every Day, by David Bez (Clarkson Potter, February 24, $25)
This love letter to salad grew out of a blog, Salad Pride, which grew out of a personal challenge set by London-based designer and home cook David Bez. Determined to improve his workday lunches, but confined by a makeshift desk kitchen and just 30 minutes to an hour to both prep and eat his meal, Bez made a different salad every day for three years. His book features real lunches that were made, shot and enjoyed in his office, all in less than an hour. Bez has a knack for interesting, satisfying ingredient combinations—Crabmeat, Avocado, Nori and Cucumber comes to mind—and isn't afraid to enlist unexpected elements like chorizo or hemp seeds. If you're in a salad rut, this is your salvation.
Lighten Up Y'all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome, by Virginia Willis (Ten Speed Press, March 3, $25)
Despite its stereotype, Southern food is so much more than butter and bacon, says French-trained, Southern chef Virginia Willis. Historically, the cuisine was built on seasonal produce and a made-from-scratch philosophy. With this in mind, Willis's upcoming cookbook—her third—offers lightened-up takes on familiar dishes like pimiento cheese, hoppin' John, biscuits and fried okra. The recipes include basic nutrition information—calories, fat, carbs, fiber and protein—and span breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks. Expect Smoky Seafood Étoufée, Smothered and Covered Chicken and Gravy and Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie.
Bread and Butter: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes to Fill Your Bread Basket, by Erin McKenna (Clarkson Potter, March 17, $25)
Baking gluten-free, vegan cakes and cookies can be challenging, but baking gluten-free, vegan bread is difficult on a whole other level. Enter Erin McKenna, the mastermind behind Babycakes, which now has locations in New York, Los Angeles and Orlando. Like most alternative baking recipes, these require more than a handful of ingredients, but McKenna's instructions tend to be pretty fuss free. In addition to the usual suspects like rye, pumpernickel, cinnamon raisin and sandwich bread, you'll learn to make bagels, croissants, biscuits, pizza, focaccia, puff pastry and tortillas. And because sometimes bread just needs some butter, there's a recipe for making your own vegan version of that, too.
My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season, by Sarah Britton (Clarkson Potter, March 31, $30)
It's hard not to associate healthy eating with deprivation, but Copenhagen-based holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton takes the opposite approach. On her popular blog, My New Roots, and now in her debut cookbook of the same name, Britton focuses on adding healthy, plant-based whole foods to what you're already eating. Sometimes this means leafy greens at breakfast; other times it's about blondies packed with maca powder. There are plenty of dishes to toss together for a quick lunch or dinner, as well as more involved kitchen projects, such as homemade ginger ale and raw cashew cheese. You'll also find virtuous takes on indulgent favorites like "bacon" made from coconuts, plus handy charts and how-to guides for making nut milk, cooking grains and soaking dried beans.
The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon: Simple and Inspired Whole Foods Recipes to Savor and Share, by Sara Forte (Ten Speed Press, March 31, $25)
In her second cookbook, Sprouted Kitchen blogger Sara Forte focuses her attention on bowl foods—dishes that combine seasonal vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and a dressing or sauce in one complete and nutritious meal. Recipes are packed with flavor, texture and color, not to mention good health. Smoky Tortilla Soup and Double-Pesto Zucchini Noodles are ideal for a lazy night on the couch but special enough to serve company, too. Forte also offers oatmeal, baked eggs and other morning bowls, plus sweet bowls for a slightly more wholesome take on dessert.
Healthy Pasta: The Sexy, Skinny, and Smart Way to Eat Your Favorite Food, by Joe Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali (Knopf, April 7, $27)
Ever wonder how the formerly overweight but now super-svelte Joe Bastianich—restaurateur, TV star and son of Italian-American cooking legend Lidia Bastianich—stays so fit while still enjoying his favorite Italian dishes? He hasn't sworn off pasta. In fact, in this upcoming cookbook, Bastianich and his sister, Tanya, share 100 healthy pasta recipes, each less than 500 calories per serving. The idea is simple: Start with high-quality pasta, combine it with flavor-packed, low-calorie ingredients—think capers and dried mushrooms—and use techniques that maximize flavor without adding fat. You still need to keep portions in check and can't get away with eating pasta every night, but now you can dig—nearly guilt free—into classics like Spaghetti Bolognese and Rigatoni alla Norma.
Baking with Less Sugar: Recipes for Desserts Using Natural Sweeteners and Little-to-No White Sugar, by Joanne Chang (Chronicle, April 7, $25)
As pastry chef-owner of Boston's Flour Bakery + Café, Joanne Chang is in the sugar business, and she's not about to forgo the white stuff anytime soon. Still, even a sweets addict like Chang isn't immune to science, which doesn't always encourage massive sugar consumption. Here, in her third cookbook, Chang takes on low- and no-sugar baking. Some recipes are made with less white sugar, while others focus on alternative sweeteners like maple syrup, honey and fruit juice. There are no artificial sweeteners here, and every recipe had to pass Chang's own "can't stop eating it" test. Get ready to retrain your sweet tooth with Fudgy Mascarpone Brownies, Honey Cashew Morning Buns and Banana Cinnamon Bread Pudding.
A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden, by April Bloomfield (Ecco, April 21, $35)
Vegetables might be trendy, but April Bloomfield doesn't care. They're delicious, and that's more than enough for her. The Spotted Pig chef doesn't like to think of veggies as something to eat when you're not eating meat, so while her second cookbook is devoted to ingredients from the garden, you'll still find some bone marrow, ground pork and bacon here and there. With the seasons as her guide, Bloomfield offers 80 recipes for sides, mains, soups, salads, breads, pastas, a handful of juices and even desserts. And because she thinks simple is often the best approach—especially when you have superior veg—she also shares not-quite-recipe ideas for ingredients like potatoes, fennel, broccoli rabe and corn.
The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruit, by Hugh Acheson (Clarkson Potter, May 12, $35)
Ask a chef what to do with turnips, salsify or green garlic and he can rattle off a dozen of more great ideas. But not everyone has this kind of inspiration at his or her fingertips. Chef Hugh Acheson—Five & Ten in Athens, Georgia, and Atlanta's Empire State South—wants to help. His upcoming cookbook is one you'll want to keep in the kitchen and consult each and every time you pick up your CSA box or stop by the farmers' market. While Acheson clearly hopes to push veggies to the center of our plates, he doesn't shy away from including meat, fish or fowl. And though he cooks in and is influenced by the South, his recipes are more globally inspired. You'll find a wealth of quick, straightforward dishes for everyday eating, plus projects like gnocchi and sauerkraut.