If your New Year’s resolution was to forsake sugar in 2016 and you’ve held on this long, then I applaud you. Making a dietary change like that is a challenge, and holding true for over a month is impressive. But even if you’re like me and slip the occasional candy bar into the cart after a long week, there’s still hope! Staying committed to any diet for the long haul can be daunting, especially when you’re passing the bakery aisle. But don’t cave in yet! Here are a few cookbooks to help inspire some sugar-free, healthy meals that just might bring your resolution all the way into 2017.

I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook, by Sarah Wilson

 When explaining her sugar-free lifestyle, Wilson says, “When I quit sugar I found wellness and the kind of energy and sparkle I had as a kid. I don’t believe in diets or in making eating miserable. This plan and the recipes are designed for lasting wellness.” Her cookbook and meal guide will help jumpstart your life sans sugar, and help you cook and plan for the long haul. The program includes 108 recipes that cover every meal, along with contributions from Gwyneth Paltrow, Curtis Stone, Dr. Robert Lustig, Sarma Melngailis, Joe “the Juicer” Cross, and Angela Liddon.

The 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook, by Diane Sanfilippo
As the companion to The 21-Day Sugar Detox (which includes meal plans and over 90 recipes), Sanfilippo’s latest is here to help double your sugar-free cooking repertoire. With recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and even desserts, this book will delight cooks in search of a healthier path. Whether you use it on its own or in conjunction with the 21-day detox plan, you’ll find loads of variety, along with additional information for athletes, pregnant or nursing women, and others who follow limited diets. (The sugar-free ketchup and BBQ sauce recipes alone make this a worthy addition to any kitchen library.)

The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking, by Peter Reinhart and Denene Wallace

 Oftentimes when people think of giving up sugar, they worry about missing dessert. Cakes, pastries, cookies, and even breads can be packed with refined sugars; they can also taste amazing. Reinhart and Wallace have put together 80 recipes that really do let you have your cake and eat it, too, all while skipping out on the pounds of sugar the average American eats. No matter your reason for going sugar-free, the recipes presented here, ranging from banana bread to cheddar cheese and pecan crackers to brownies and blondies, make the transition a lot tastier. Pair the baked goods from this book with the meals found in any of the cookbooks listed here, and you’ll never look back.

Thug Kitchen Party Grub: For Social Motherf*ckers, by Thug Kitchen
This sequel to the tasty, funny, and health-focused Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook focuses on larger dishes, things that can be shared, and all the tasty party foods you want to eat but feel guilty about. The desserts may include sugar, but the queso dip, curry tempeh salad, and “worth-the-mess sloppy joes” (all of which are sugar free) will leave you so full and happy you won’t even know what to do with yourself. Like the first book, this one is full of useful tips to help you make your own broths, sauces, almond milk, and other staples (often omitting sugar and saving money). The racy language and unique photography are just added perks that make cooking a bit more fun.

Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat, by Melissa Joulwan

 Like vegan eating, paleo recipes tend to emphasize food that is processed as little as possible, has few additives, and can be found in nature. Not many Paleolithic humans were adding refined sugar to their morning coffee, so this is a great avenue for steak-loving sugar-free dieters to take. With more than 115 recipes, made with zero grains, legumes, soy, sugar, dairy, or alcohol, and an emphasis in planning and preparation, this is a nearly no-fail way to get more sugar-free days under your belt. The author also introduces the idea of “Hot Plates, a mix-and-match approach to combining basic ingredients with spices and seasonings.” If you can master the basics you can eat a huge range of things, with no sugar added.

The Vegan Stoner Cookbook: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes to Munch, by Sarah Conrique, Graham I. Haynes

 This falls in the category of “I want to eat healthy, but I don’t have time.” Most recipes have less than a handful of ingredients, few have any added sugar, and all are tasty. The hilarious illustrations and no-nonsense instructions are an added bonus few cookbooks have. The book may look deceptively small, but with 100 recipes there’s enough to change up your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options for nearly a month, on a budget, and with very few processed additions. The deviled potatoes are a must eat, and would be a great party snack in place of the been there, done that, deviled eggs.

The Everything Naturally Sugar-Free Cookbook, by Annie Forsyth, Holly Forsyth, Chelsea Forsyth

 The Everything series really does seem to have a book that covers everything — and they do it well. With a great overview of sugar-free options, from breakfast to dessert, there are plenty of choices to help expand your palate and satisfy some of those cravings. The beauty of this book, and many of the books in this series, is that the recipes are straightforward and cover a wide range of tastes. I frequently turn to The Everything Vegetarian Slow Cooker Cookbook (which also has some sugar-free options) for days when more intensive cooking isn’t in the cards, and each recipe presented is foolproof. If you need to jump start that sugar-free life, or you want more options, start here. You’ll be glad you did.

Originally published at www.barnesandnoble.com on February 9, 2016.


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