When I was offered a copy in March of Fitness Gourmet, published by Jacqui Small, publisher of the Honestly Healthy cookbooks, I was a tad dubious. All of the alkaline-eating, slightly faddy food from the Honestly Healthy recipes I’d seen didn’t appeal, so I was curious to see if the new book was similar.
It’s written by Christian Coates, founder of Soulmatefood, that deliver healthy meals to busy people, and he’s also worked with a variety of clients right up to elite athletes to help with their nutrition, before writing Fitness Gourmet.
Rather than just being a recipe book, this one has a lot of information in it about how to balance your diet, and what I found especially helpful was that the example eating days, instead of following calorie counts, divides meals into ‘Burn’, ‘Balance’ and ‘Build’, with a good explanation of when to use the three options. The recipes throughout the book (a large selection of tasty-looking ones), are then coded the same, and, a feature which I particularly liked, all of the recipes have an adaptation into how to make them suitable for rest days or ‘Burn’ meals (such as smaller portions, or replacing the pasta with vegetables), as well as how to make them ‘Build’ meals suitable for big training days (for example, an extra portion of carbs, or adding nuts for extra fats).
If you’re an avid calorie counter or macronutrient tracker, then this is not the cookbook for you to find healthy recipes, because none of the recipes have calorie information. If, like me though, you follow general principles rather than precise numbers to structure your diet, it’s great- and is really good if you have a sporty other half to feed, and want easy ways to up the calories in their version of the same meal without resorting to just giving them massive portions.
Some of the recipes, I’ve come back to time and time again, like their stem ginger and orange flapjacks and my personal favourites, their healthy take on Millionaire’s Shortbread, which regularly pass the boyfriend test, for not being obviously ‘weird and healthy’ (his words, not mine, about beetroot brownies).
The downside? Well as regular readers of my blog will know, I don’t tend to invest in ingredients like chia seeds or quinoa, as they can be pretty expensive and I’m on a student budget, and a fair few of the recipes, particularly the breakfasts and the baked treats, utilise these ingredients. That said, I was pleased to see that the book doesn’t talk about any of the current fads like paleo, ‘eating clean’ or specific diets, just eating healthy, delicious food and a balanced diet.
For the most part though, the recipes are straightforward to make, though some of them feature a lot of steps, tasty and healthy. If you are stuck in a bit of a rut, and have a reasonable budget to play with, I’d recommend the book to give you some fresh ideas and help structure a balanced diet around your training.
I was sent a free copy of the Fitness Gourmet cookbook by the publisher, Jacqui Small, to try out the recipes and review. All opinions are my own, and I was not paid to write this post.