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From cookbooks to books on healthy eating, sustainability, the food industry, and fitness, there’s no shortage of nutrition publications on the market.

With so many options available, finding healthy eating books that are reliable, informative, and enjoyable can be challenging.

However, plenty of books can fit right into your library, regardless of whether you’re a nutrition novice or a full-fledged foodie.

Here are 13 of the top books on healthy eating, as well as tips on how to choose the best book for you.

All the books on our list were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Vetting. All the included publishers have been vetted to ensure that they meet Healthline’s business standards.
  • Author authority. We included books written by experts in their fields.
  • Quality information. We looked for books that provide engaging, useful, and credible information.
  • Customer reviews. All the books below have mostly positive online reviews.

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher price.

Pricing guide:

  • $ = under $15
  • $$ = $15–$25
  • $$$ = over $25

Note that the prices above reflect the current manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for paperback editions, unless the book is available only in hardcover. Exact prices may vary by retailer.

Best overall

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual

  • Price: $
  • Author credentials: author and journalist
  • Who it’s best for: nutrition beginners

Written by seven-time New York Times bestselling author Michael Pollan, “Food Rules” is our pick for the best overall book on healthy eating. It’s simple, easy to read, and informative.

This book aims to help readers understand what and how much they should eat by providing clear and concise guidelines with evidence-based explanations.

With 64 simple, common-sense principles outlined throughout, this book ditches the restrictive food rules and fad diets that dominate the nutrition industry and takes a totally different approach to healthy eating.

Pros

  • simple and easy to read
  • offers a unique approach to healthy eating
  • a great starting place for beginners

Cons

  • not written by a health professional
  • may not be suitable for those with advanced nutrition knowledge
  • includes similar information to the author’s other books

Best healthy eating cookbook

The Well Plated Cookbook: Fast, Healthy Recipes You’ll Want to Eat

  • Price: $$$
  • Author credentials: food blogger
  • Who it’s best for: home chefs

This cookbook from healthy eating blogger Erin Clarke is a must-have for anyone looking for quick, healthy recipes that don’t require expensive or hard-to-find ingredients.

Offering a variety of recipes, including Sticky Asian Cauliflower Wings and Ultimate Creamy Mac and Cheese (4 Ways), the book likely has a dish to please even the pickiest of eaters.

While she’s not a nutrition expert, Clarke has been cooking up nutritious twists on family classics since 2012. Plus, her non-diet approach to healthier eating is one we can get behind — which is why this is our pick for the top healthy eating cookbook.

Pros

  • features more than 130 nutritious recipes
  • provides tips for storing and reheating leftovers
  • offers ideas for how to customize dishes

Cons

  • not written by a health professional
  • includes limited options for certain dietary restrictions
  • does not include nutritional information

Best book on sustainable food

Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It

  • Price: $$
  • Author credentials: sustainable food advocate
  • Who it’s best for: eco-conscious consumers

Fifty years ago, author Frances Moore Lappé made history with “Diet for a Small Planet,” her bestselling book on the environmental impact of food production.

Today, her daughter Anna Lappé is an author and educator on sustainable food systems. In “Diet for a Hot Planet,” Anna has sparked the conversation once again by examining the intricate relationship between diet and climate change.

The book gets rave reviews for being one of the most informative reads about the issues surrounding food and sustainability. It also provides actionable steps for becoming a more sustainable eater.

Pros

  • well-researched and informative, according to reviews
  • straightforward and easy to read
  • provides actionable steps for readers

Cons

  • may not be ideal for those well versed in sustainability
  • some reviews noting that the writer’s tone can be distracting
  • less in-depth than some other books on the topic

Best nutrition book for a healthier relationship with food

Intuitive Eating for Every Day: 365 Daily Practices & Inspirations to Rediscover the Pleasures of Eating

  • Price: $$
  • Author credentials: registered dietitian
  • Who it’s best for: beginners to intuitive eating

“Intuitive Eating for Every Day” is well worth reading if you’re looking to build or develop a healthy mindset about eating.

It aims to transform your relationship with your body, food, and health.

Written by registered dietitian Evelyn Tribole, the book covers how to honor your hunger, make peace with food, and ditch the diet mentality.

It also suggests daily exercises intended to help you reflect, practice self-compassion, and cultivate gratitude.

If you’ve ever been interested in intuitive eating, this book is a great place to start.

Pros

  • written by a registered dietitian
  • provides daily practices to build healthy habits
  • ideal for both beginners and those who are familiar with intuitive eating

Cons

  • certain formats may be difficult to read, according to reviews
  • some repetitive information
  • not as thorough as other books on intuitive eating

Best nutrition book for beginners

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide

  • Price: $$$
  • Author credentials: registered dietitian
  • Who it’s best for: nutrition newbies

Hailed as the most trusted manual for healthy eating, the “Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide” is a great book to have on hand if you’re a newbie to nutrition.

The book lays out clear-cut, simple strategies for healthy living, along with practical, evidence-based advice for every stage of life.

Unlike other options on this list, the book isn’t designed to be read cover to cover. Instead, it acts as a resource for all your basic nutrition-related questions.

Pros

  • written by a registered dietitian
  • provides detailed information on healthy eating for beginners
  • comprehensive and well researched

Cons

  • has small print that may be challenging to read
  • may be too basic for some
  • designed to be used as a resource rather than read cover to cover

Best nutrition and fitness book

Not a Diet Book: Take Control. Gain Confidence. Change Your Life.

  • Price: $$
  • Author credentials: personal trainer
  • Who it’s best for: those who are trying to lose weight

Personal trainer James Smith is known for his blunt approach to fitness and nutrition.

In the bestselling “Not a Diet Book,” he offers refreshingly straightforward advice on how to adopt healthier habits, boost your training routine, and improve your life.

The book also explores a variety of other complex topics, including metabolism, fitness fallacies, supplements, fat loss, and muscle growth.

This book has more than 5,000 mostly 5-star ratings and gets rave reviews from readers who appreciate Smith’s evidence-based and uncomplicated advice on weight loss and exercise.

Pros

  • simple and straightforward information
  • lighthearted and enjoyable writing style
  • a good option for beginners

Cons

  • not written by a registered dietitian
  • may be repetitive and tedious, according to some reviews
  • not ideal for those with advanced nutrition and fitness knowledge

Best nutrition book for athletes

Peak: The New Science of Athletic Performance That Is Revolutionizing Sports

  • Price: $$$
  • Author credentials: nutritionist
  • Who it’s best for: athletes

“Peak” is a must-have for athletes looking to upgrade their performance and maximize their potential.

Written by performance nutritionist Dr. Marc Bubbs, “Peak” takes a deep dive into the science behind sports nutrition and training techniques.

Bubbs also addresses the importance of other factors that can affect performance, such as gut health, recovery, sleep, and hormone levels.

Pros

  • informative and well researched
  • covers a broad range of topics related to sports nutrition
  • engaging and entertaining

Cons

  • not written by a registered dietitian
  • may be too in-depth for beginners
  • includes limited information for female athletes, according to reviews

Best book about food policy

Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health

  • Price: $$$
  • Author credentials: consumer advocate, author, and nutrition expert
  • Who it’s best for: informed consumers

Author and professor of nutrition and public health Marion Nestle tackles all things food policy in her prize-winning exposé “Food Politics.”

The book covers how politics and economics have long been driving food and nutrition policies. It also explains how you can make a difference by voting with your fork.

It’s thorough, eye-opening, and informative — a great choice for those interested in delving into the world of food policy.

Pros

  • provides an eye-opening look at the food industry
  • written by an expert in nutrition and public health
  • thorough yet easy to understand

Cons

  • not ideal for those seeking a light or casual read
  • can be dry and tedious, according to reviews
  • published in 2013, so some information may be outdated

Best healthy eating book for science lovers

Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine

  • Price: $$$
  • Author credentials: pediatric neuroendocrinologist
  • Who it’s best for: science lovers

Pediatric neuroendocrinologist and bestselling author Dr. Robert Lustig presents a well-researched critique of modern medicine in “Metabolical.”

The book investigates the connection among diet, health, and chronic disease.

With plenty of research and years of experience to back up his claims, Lustig offers a science-based look at how changing what we put on our plates can affect our health and the planet.

Because this book is quite thorough and research-heavy, it is an especially great read for science lovers and health enthusiasts.

Pros

  • provides a unique perspective on modern medicine
  • offers evidence-based information
  • interesting and eye-opening

Cons

  • some reviews mentioning political undertones that readers dislike
  • can be technical and difficult to read
  • not ideal for beginners to nutrition

Best healthy eating book for new parents

The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers

  • Price: $$
  • Author credentials: pediatricians
  • Who it’s best for: new parents

Written by a pair of pediatricians and parents, “The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers” takes the guesswork out of feeding your child.

It provides information on everything you need to know, from food allergies to baby-led weaning and beyond.

What’s more, it includes a variety of recipes and nutritional information to make mealtime a breeze.

This book, which many reviewers call the ultimate resource for parents, could make a great gift for any soon-to-be parent in your life.

Pros

  • written by pediatricians
  • covers a broad range of topics
  • well organized and easy to navigate

Cons

  • may be too general for experienced parents
  • certain recipes are not kid-friendly, according to some reviews
  • focuses more on food-related issues than on general healthy eating

Best easy-read nutrition book

How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life

  • Price: $$
  • Author credentials: functional medicine doctor
  • Who it’s best for: nutrition beginners

“How to Be Well” includes a variety of simple everyday habits that can support health and well-being. It’s written by Dr. Frank Lipman, who is frequently referred to as a leader of functional medicine.

The book gets high ratings from reviewers who appreciate that it breaks down complex nutrition research topics and presents them in an easy-to-understand format.

It also includes helpful illustrations, sample menus, and meal ideas.

Pros

  • clear, concise, and engaging
  • provides simple, actionable steps to improve health
  • written by a physician

Cons

  • has light print that may be difficult to read
  • some reviewer complaints about a lack of citations
  • may be best for beginners

Best book about supplements

Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and More

  • Price: $$$
  • Author credentials: physician
  • Who it’s best for: health-conscious consumers

Shopping for supplements can be overwhelming.

In “Fortify Your Life,” supplement expert Dr. Tieraona Low Dog aims to clear up the confusion around supplements and empower consumers to take control of their health.

This book is our pick for the best book about supplements because it’s thorough, easy to read, and informative.

The author covers label reading and how to shop for vitamins and minerals. She also explores research on the connection between supplements and diet, as well as how you can use supplements to feel your best.

Pros

  • written by a physician
  • comprehensive yet easy to understand
  • well structured

Cons

  • lacks information on certain conditions, according to some reviews
  • doesn’t offer specific brand recommendations, which some people may prefer
  • includes limited information on less common herbal supplements

Best book about the food industry

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

  • Price: $$
  • Author credentials: journalist and author
  • Who it’s best for: health enthusiasts

In this book, author and journalist Michael Pollan takes an in-depth look at the food industry. “In Defense of Food” includes an examination of how the industry has changed over the years, as well as the role of ultra-processed foods.

It’s our pick for the best read about the food industry because it’s one of the most detailed and well-written books on the topic.

In addition to taking a deep dive into nutrition science, food politics, and the modern diet, the book explores how to make thoughtful food choices and redefine what healthy eating means.

Pros

  • provides insight into several aspects of the food industry
  • offers simple, actionable steps for making more thoughtful food choices
  • detailed and informative

Cons

  • may be too dense for those unfamiliar with the topic
  • can be repetitive
  • can be dry and tedious to read, according to some reviews

Here is a closer look at how these books compare:

AuthorAuthor credentialsTopicPriceWho it’s best for
Food RulesMichael Pollanjournalist and authorhealthy eating$nutrition beginners
The Well Plated CookbookErin Clarkefood bloggercookbook$$$home chefs
Diet for a Hot PlanetAnna Lappésustainable food advocatesustainability$$eco-conscious consumers
Intuitive Eating for Every DayEvelyn Triboleregistered dietitianintuitive eating$$beginners to intuitive eating
Complete Food & Nutrition GuideRoberta Larson Duyffregistered dietitianbasic nutrition$$$nutrition newbies
Not a Diet BookJames Smithpersonal trainernutrition and fitness$$those who are trying to lose weight
PeakMarc Bubbnutritionistfitness$$$athletes
Food PoliticsMarion Nestleconsumer advocate, author, and nutrition expertfood policy$$$informed consumers
MetabolicalRobert Lustigpediatric neuroendocrinologistdiet and disease$$$science lovers
The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and ToddlersAnthony Porto and Dina DiMaggiopediatricianschild nutrition$$new parents
How to Be WellFrank Lipman, MDfunctional medicine doctorhealthy eating$$nutrition beginners
Fortify Your LifeTieraona Low Dog, MDphysiciansupplements$$$health-conscious consumers
In Defense of FoodMichael Pollanjournalist and authorfood industry$$health enthusiasts

Reading about nutrition is a great way to improve your health. Through reading, you can learn how to make meaningful changes to your diet.

Reading can be especially beneficial if you have specific health concerns or fitness goals, as many books provide in-depth knowledge, tips, and resources from experts and professionals.

Plus, many books offer recipes, meal ideas, and sample grocery lists to help you get started with healthy eating.

What’s more, reading about nutrition can help you become a more conscious and informed consumer.

For instance, you can learn what to look for when shopping for supplements, how government policies may affect your diet, and how the food industry alters your food choices.

What can I expect to learn from a nutrition book?

Nutrition books can cover a broad range of topics, from healthy eating and supplements to food policy, sports nutrition, and sustainability.

Be sure to look for a book about the areas you’re most interested in and check the reviews from other readers before you buy.

Why is good nutrition important?

Following a nutritious, well-rounded diet ensures that you provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function and thrive.

Good nutrition also plays a key role in many aspects of health, such as preventing chronic disease and improving athletic performance (1).

How can I start to eat healthily?

One of the easiest ways to start eating healthier is to slowly increase your intake of whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. At the same time, cut back on products that have been heavily processed or refined.

Many of the books listed above, including “Food Rules” and “How to Be Well,” offer simple, straightforward guidance on how to start eating healthier.

There are a few things to consider when you’re shopping for books about nutrition. Here are our top tips:

  • Consider the source. Check the author’s credentials and look for books written by experts in their fields. For instance, prioritize material from dietitians, physicians, or personal trainers whenever possible.
  • Be wary of outlandish health claims. Steer clear of books that make exaggerated claims that seem too good to be true. Instead, look for authors who back up their statements with studies and references from credible sources.
  • Look for realistic approaches to nutrition. We recommend avoiding books that promote fad diets, unhealthy habits, or overly restrictive eating patterns. Instead, look for books with a more realistic and sustainable approach to healthy eating.
  • Read customer reviews. Customer reviews can provide insights to help you decide before you buy. Reading reviews is also a great way to assess whether a book is a good fit for your level of nutrition knowledge.
  • Make sure the recipes align with your health needs and goals. When purchasing a cookbook, it’s important to make sure that the recipes and advice cater to your dietary needs and preferences.

There’s no shortage of books on healthy eating to choose from.

When shopping for a book, be sure to check the author’s credentials and credibility. Also, opt for a book that caters to your interests, needs, and nutrition knowledge level.

We’re confident that, by using this list as a guide, you’ll find a few reads to add to your bookshelf.