My mother cooked every single night of my childhood—and by “cooked,” I don’t mean she warmed up canned tomato sauce and boiled some water for pasta. I’m talking Julia Child dinners. She had learned to cook in Paris, so our meals were gorgeous, healthy presentations, complete with a salad when the first course was cleared. Did she teach me to cook? No. In fact, in the 11 years I lived in the same tiny Brooklyn apartment, I turned on my oven…once. My staples were burritos and vegetarian chili. The end. So it was a revelation when I got married and pregnant to discover that I actually enjoyed cooking. (I know, so 1950s!) I owned maybe one cookbook, so this, of course, sent me down the rabbit hole of food blogs, of which there are about 8 gazillion. Some are pure joy. Some feel incredibly pretentious and share recipes with 34 hard-to-find ingredients. No thank you. Here are my eight go-tos:
1. Best Granola: Orangette
Molly Wizenberg started this delicious, chatty blog back in 2004, as a single woman in her twenties. In 14 years it has grown into so much more than a food blog. She’s written about meeting her husband-to-be, opening a restaurant and bar, her pregnancy, postpartum depression, raising her daughter, and recently, her divorce and coming out. Although she shares tons of info about her life, it is mostly a wonderful place to go for easy, healthy soups and kid-friendly meals. And Granola No. 5 is, hands down, the best breakfast on the planet.
2. Best Farro: Smitten Kitchen
So Deb Perelman is not known as the healthiest food blogger. This chocolate banana bread is the best thing in the world! But she has a few recipes that are incredibly healthy and also incredibly good. Like this farro and tomato dish. It’s full of protein and flavor—and unbelievably easy to make. I guarantee you will be going back for more.
3. Best Healthy Weeknight Dinners en Famille: Dinner: A Love Story
Who has time to cook a healthy dinner every night for a family of four? Apparently Jenny Rosenstrach does, and she’s taking us along for the ride. Sushi bowls, burrito bowls, lettuce hand rolls—she has it all to keep you healthy and your kids happy and fed, often in less than 30 minutes.
4. Best Easy-to-Accomplish Meals: A Cup of Jo
This beloved blog has a bit of everything, but I adore the recipes—easy, delicious, filling, and you never feel like an idiot making them! They are almost all foolproof. Yes, you’ll find loads of delicious sweets, but there are always a lot of healthy options, like this caprese salad, and tons of advice, like this post about how not to mess up a salad.
5. Best Gluten-Free/Paleo: The Roasted Root
Grain bowls? Vegetarian? Vegan? Paleo? Julia Mueller has it all. Her meals are full of delicious, healthy ingredients (think: curried lentil, chickpea, and kale salad with citrus dressing). This is the kind of healthy eating that won’t make you miss that lump of sugar in your scone.
6. Best Vegetarian: Naturally Ella
Soups, grains, pantry stocking—Naturally Ella has got you covered. I mean, she has 15 recipes for butternut squash! If your vegetarian diet is feeling a little bland or you’re looking to streamline your diet, this is a great blog to turn to. (I made lots of her meals when I had gestational diabetes.)
7. Best Whole Food Recipes: Sprouted Kitchen
With a keen eye for whole food, the couple behind Sprouted Kitchen teaches you how to cook everything from nut’nola (granola without oats for someone on a ketogenic diet) to caramelized cauliflower soup. They also have great posts about healthy kid lunches.
8. Best Mindful Cooking Tips: Music With Dinner
Ashley Linkletter pairs recipes with music—how brilliant? Her blog focuses on viewing cooking as a mindfulness exercise, and she helps promote a sense of calm while preparing food. Definitely something most of us can use a little more of in our lives.