After the holidays, it is time to think a bit healthier in our way of cooking. Here are a few books to help with that task.

MY FIRST JUICES & SMOOTHIES: Healthy Recipes Children Will Love by Amanda Cross is a lovely little volume of quick recipes for all-natural ingredient juices and smoothies that will ensure your kids get their 5-a-day, the easy way. Each juice or smoothie, is accompanied by notes to explain what essential vitamins and minerals they provide. Kids will love princess peachy; wacky wizard; captain zinger; or big purple monster. There are also popsicle ideas, tips on how to juice, and the top fruits and veggies for juices and smoothies.

Gluten-Free is still on trend and there are five new books that cover the subject of gluten-free baking. The first comes from Emeril’s daughters called THE LAGASSE GIRLS’: Big Flavor, Bold Taste – and No Gluten!: 100 Gluten-Free Recipes from EJ’s Fried Chicken to Momma’s Strawberry Shortcake by Jilly Lagasse and Jessie Lagasse Swanson. Emeril’s daughters do him proud by presenting comfort foods that are gluten-free and yet still have big, bold flavors. The recipes are easy to follow with great results. Duck fat roasted potatoes; baked pork chops with apple rosemary chutney; and Momma’s strawberry shortcakes with homemade biscuits are some of the standouts.

Another good choice is a splendid book that is lushly illustrated called FLOURLESS: Recipes for Naturally Gluten-Free Desserts by Nicole Spiridakis. The author has created more than 75 recipes for quite decadent and satisfying desserts using ground nuts, fluffy egg whites, the ripest fruits, and high-quality chocolate, while using a wide range of gluten-free flour. No hard-to-find gums and other additives here. Highlights include flourless chocolate cake with salted caramel sauce; walnut torte with coffee cream; honeyed blueberry cakes; and cheesecake with Meyer lemon curd.

LET US ALL EAT CAKE: Gluten-Free Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Cakes by award-winning pastry chef Catherine Ruehle with Sarah Scheffel (personally affected by a wheat allergy), chronicles her mission to recreate classic desserts and sweet treats that are delicious and beautiful to behold. The recipes are good for bakers of all levels. Standouts include s’mores cakes; lemon meringue cupcakes; baked Alaska bombes; and chocolate-glazed raspberry-vanilla jelly roll.

From cookbook author and gluten-free expert Kristine Kidd comes Williams-Sonoma’s GLUTEN-FREE BAKING. One would expect gluten-free baked goods to be less flavorful and satisfying than those baked with wheat flour. Not so with these recipes, which are just as tasty. Author Kristine Kidd is a former editor at Bon Appetit and an expert in all things gluten-free. With details on how to set up a gluten-free pantry and an ingredients primer, you’ll be armed with everything you need on how to be healthy and gluten-free, without sacrificing flavor and quality of your favorite foods.

The last entry is BAKING YOU HAPPY: Gluten-Free Recipes from Sweet Freedom Bakery by Allison Lubert. The recipes in this book are gluten free, vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, corn free, peanut-free, and refined sugar-free. The book has beautiful photographs that make the food look amazing. I particularly liked the carrot loaf; banana chocolate chip bread; and the lemon cupcake recipes. If you are on a restricted diet, this book is an excellent source of ideas.

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