Let me guess – some of you are pulling your hair out over what to get a friend or loved one for Christmas. You need IDEAS. How about a book? A gift of a book is good any time of year but getting a really good book around the holidays is especially nice. I personally LOVE books and if I had the time would spend the majority of my days reading them. Maybe someday that day will arrive.
But today, you are in luck – I’ve put on my dietitian-thinking cap and have come up with 6 books (all nutrition-related) perfect for gift ideas. The books I’m featuring are ideal for anyone who loves to cook, likes the idea of using food as medicine and/or has an interest in learning more about the economics and agriculture of our food supply, which all of us should care about. Four of the books are written by fellow dietitians and the other two authored by an economist and a best-selling writer of food and cooking books.
I hope you enjoy browsing through this list and find at least one of them ideal for that special someone this holiday season – maybe even you!
Books on Nutrition/Cookbooks
1. The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook, by Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN
Likely you have heard all the rage over meal prepping but are hesitant on knowing what it means. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran meal prepper, The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook is an excellent resource filled with dozens of tips, meal plans and best of all, delicious, healthy recipes.
Practically every day I am asked by clients for ideas on meal planning. People are looking for ways to simplify feeding their family without continually resorting to fast food or overly processed/convenience foods. This book is what they need. Chock full of the what, why, and how of meal planning including principles of healthy eating, pantry staples, kitchen equipment to have on hand and storing food safely, Toby makes meal prepping seem effortless and easy.
2. Joy’s Simple Food Remedies: Tasty Cures for Whatever’s Ailing You, by Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, CDN
Like Hippocrates, the father of medicine said, “Let food by thy medicine, and medicine be thy food,” is exactly what this book is addressing. To harness the curative power of food is a smart way to help tackle common ailments such as low energy, anxiety, belly bloat, brain fog, and more.
Joy has a fresh approach to highlighting food’s healing properties by featuring ‘tasty’ recipes using nurturing everyday foods to bring you back to good health in a hurry. Next time you have a minor ailment, instead of searching your medicine cabinet for a fix, search your fridge and pantry first.
3. The Pescatarian Cookbook: The Essential Kitchen Companion, by Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD.
Full admission: Growing up on a farm that raised cattle and hogs, eating fish was a rarity. It wasn’t until I became an adult that my taste buds decided fish is not so bad. But, my repertoire of good recipes using fish is lacking so when Kansas City author Cara Harbstreet’s book came out, I had to have it.
If you want creative, flexible, and healthy fish and seafood recipes, look no further. This beautiful book is not solely devoted to only seafood but also emphasizes plant-based recipes reflective of a Mediterranean diet. A bonus in this book is three weeks of menus with grocery lists and essential kitchen tools to make your meals look and taste their best.
4. The Type 2 Diabetic Cookbook and Action Plan: A Three-Month Kickstart Guide for Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes, By Martha McKittrick, RDN, CDE and Michelle Anderson.
A diagnosis of diabetes can be very unsettling and anxiety-provoking. Good diabetes management relies heavily on food choices to prevent or delay complications. How exactly is that done? Questions of “what foods can I eat?” or “Will I have to give up my favorite foods?” weigh heavily on the minds of anyone with this disease.
Thankfully, gone are the days of inflexible, restrictive diabetic diets. This book replaces the mind-boggling feelings of frustration by taking the guesswork out of what to eat to manage your diabetes leaving you more calm, confident and in-control. By focusing on how diet affects blood sugar and overall health, the role of physical activity, and practical tips for dealing with diabetes mentally and emotionally, anyone with diabetes will feel far better about managing their condition. With more than 50 recipes and 2-week meals plans for different calorie and carbohydrate levels, there are dozens of ideas to guide you on a path to overall wellness.
Books on Economics of Food and Agriculture
5. The Food Police: A Well-Fed Manifesto About the Politics of Your Plate, by Jayson Lusk.
If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the politics behind the food on your plate, this book is for you. Did you know there’s a growing and emerging elite in this country who believe they know best on what we should grow, cook and eat. They are the food police. These individuals display their food snobbery by making false claims that our food is riddled with deadly pesticides and hormones or that farmers misuse the land and are mean to their animals, just to name a few. Author Jayson Lusk, an economist and Department Head in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University (and a Kansas State University graduate!), takes on the food police by debunking these myths propagated by the food elite.
Covering a wide range of topics, you’ll learn aspects such as why organic food is not necessarily healthier or tastier, why farm policies are not making us fat, or why genetically modified foods are safe to eat. A fascinating read for anyone who cares about food fairness as it shines a light on the elite’s hypocrisy when it comes to food.
6. Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America, by Michael Ruhlman.
Our relationship with food begins in the grocery store which makes sense. The majority of us in the U.S. no longer grow exclusively our own food like in years long gone. That’s why author Ruhlman, a best-selling writer of food and cooking books, proposes that the best place to consume wisely is found in the aisles of your grocery store. This book examines how rapidly supermarkets – and our food and culture – have changed since the days of your friendly neighborhood grocer.
Most of us take for granted and rarely think about how important grocery stores are. History buffs will enjoy learning the beginnings of the retail food business going back more than a century ago. It also pulls back the curtain on various forces likely to impact and change grocery stores in the future. This book is for anyone who wants to learn more about the process that make supermarkets work.