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Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard, but you gotta start somewhere.

Once you have it ‘down’, it can be easy, fun and even delicious. But until then, it can be stressful to think about each and every meal and to learn all you need to learn about healthy eating. It’s enough to overwhelm even the best of us.

Start slowly, breathe, and focus on one meal (one choice) at a time. It’s do-able! An easy way to get into the game is by trying one new meal a week, then adding more as you go. Learning one new healthy recipe a week amounts to over 50 recipes a year: even if you don’t like them all, you’re bound to find a few new favorites.

Cooking at home has its perks, and there are thousands of free resources online that you can draw from. But it’s easy to lose, forget or make recipes again once you’ve clicked off the page (plus printables don’t always last lying around the house. If you’re like me, I print FAR more recipes than I’ll ever actually try and most get thrown out at some point).

Cookbooks are my favorite way to learn how to cook delicious, healthy meals for myself and for my friends. Here are a few of my personal favorites that I use and love! They all focus on cheap, easy and fast meals that ANYONE can make, so they’re ideal for people who are busy, new to cooking, or simply need quick and healthy ideas to add to their day.

Got any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

Cookbooks/Resources

1. The Healthy College Cookbook

This book is filled with cheap, fast, healthy recipes that most people can whip up faster than ordering a pizza. While it’s great for students, I think it’s important for everyone to have quick recipes they can grab & go (most of these are simple, so following the instructions once is enough to commit it to memory for next time).

2. EatingWell on a Budget (EatingWell)

Same concept, though a few more selections and fancier recipes than the college book. This one’s great for families too, and can give you ideas on how to save money and eat healthier. It doesn’t have to be expensive!

(there are a ton of books in this line, so if you like this one, explore the others!)

3. Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook: Crazy Delicious Recipes that Are Good to the Earth and Great for Your Bod

You know I’m not crazy about the word ‘Skinny’, but don’t let that stop you. This book is awesome (I have it) and it gives you the nutritional breakdowns of each meal. Emphasis on easy recipes, clean eating, nothing complicated, and easy to find ingredients.

4. Eat This, Not That! 2012: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution

A MUST have! I love this book because you can literally find all your favorite foods, and easy to make alternatives to make them healthier. The recipes are solid, and proves you don’t have to give up the foods you LOVE to make a change.

(I like their Restaurant Survival Guide too)

5. The Men’s Health Big Book of Food & Nutrition: Your completely delicious guide to eating well, looking great, and staying lean for life!

This one is less recipes, and more about learning about foods. It’s a good read, and you don’t need to absorb everything to take some important lessons away (not just the how’s but the why’s). Really good resource.

6. Cool Waters: 50 Refreshing, Healthy Homemade Thirst-Quenchers

Flavored water can make both drinking water and giving up juices & sodas MUCH easier. Plus it just tastes good. This book has tons of easy, awesome and unique water recipes that you can use to spice up your H2O or impress guests.

7. Vegan on the Cheap: Great Recipes and Simple Strategies that Save You Time and Money

You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy these recipes! The best part about this book is it’s emphasis on cheap & easy: most meals will cost you $0.50 - $2 (though it very much depends what’s in season, and what health store resources you have). I’m not vegan, but I find myself using these recipes and adding my own spin.

8.Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast: Weeknight Meals: Over 280 Incredible Supper Solutions

280 5-ingredient, 5-minute recipes. Easy stuff! Plus, the book contains full color photographs (which I love), serving options, and nutritional analysis of each meal (takes some of the work out). It even gives tips on how to turn leftovers into lunches for the next day, how to store and prep food ahead of time, and how to trim down your cooking time. Highly recommend it!

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