From the minute you become a new parent, how to best feed and nourish your child is always at the forefront of your mind. Cookbooks for new parents quickly become helpful resources – providing parents with inspiring, simple, and nutritious recipes.
The challenges of picky eaters, hectic schedules, and early mealtimes can make getting dinner on the table a herculean effort for any parent. Whenever I’m lacking inspiration in the kitchen (something that happens regularly as a busy mom of three), I turn to my favourite cookbooks for that needed boost. The following are my favourite family cookbooks, sure to produce some instant classics for your crew and make cooking a bit more fun again.
Whether you’re looking to simply cook your kiddos more nutritious meals, or you want to start getting them involved in meal prep, there’s a cookbook on this list for you!
My Favourite Cookbooks for new Parents:
1. It All Begins with Food by Leah Garrad-Cole
As soon as your baby is ready to start solids, there’s a cookbook for that! Leah Garrad-Cole’s is one of my very favourites (and a co-founder of Love Child Organics). She writes passionately about the importance of nutrient-rich food from a young age. Throughout her book she shows parents how to make their own purees as well as toddler friendly food the whole family will love. Kids are never too young for healthy, quality food, and this cookbook simplifies the whole process. I really can’t recommend this book enough!
2. meals in minutes by Jamie Oliver
I own many Jamie Oliver books but this one is my favourite and the one I use for family meals most often. These meals are exciting and use creative ingredient combinations that I wouldn’t have thought of myself. Thanks to this cookbook I now add chopped mint to almost everything and I feel confident cooking fish and duck! What’s great is these meals don’t take all day and are made to be eaten family-style from one large platter in the centre of the table. The perfect recipes for your next family meal!
3. simple bites and brown eggs and jam jars, both by Aimee Wimbush Bourque.
Aimee Wimbush Bourque is a Canadian mom of three and former chef who knows how to cook for a crowd and with the seasons. Her two cookbooks are among my top two cookbooks in my bursting collection. Every recipe is approachable, delicious, and healthy. Her roast chicken recipe is my new go-to, I make her winter squash pie weekly in the autumn, and her kale salad is my children’s favourite salad (Did I mention they claim to “hate kale”?).
4. in the french kitchen with kids by Mardi Michels
This book is extremely emboldening for the home cook, both to attempt recipes you believe to be “too difficult” and to bring your children along for the ride. Mardi Michels is a teacher who leads a cooking class after school at the all-boys school where she works, and if you’re nervous in the kitchen, she’s your new best friend. She effortlessly encourages readers to include kids in any and all kitchen tasks and gives step by step instructions that even a child can follow. Have your kids leaf through the book and decide on a recipe, then attempt it together!
5. smitten kitchen by Deb Perelman
This cookbook is full of recipes ready to become staples in your family’s dinner roster. Every recipe is flawless and needs not a tablespoon more or less of any ingredient. Take Deb Perelman’s all butter really flakey pie dough, for example. I now make every pie with this crust, and it’s perfection. There are some delicious pastas in this cookbook, but the sweets are our favourites for birthdays and special desserts. This cookbook also introduced our family to Jewish classics like brisket, challuh and hamantaschen, which have all become favourites.
As you pursue the good work of feeding a family, I hope these cookbooks give you a leg up. Mine are full of notes and turned down pages and one might be held together with duct tape, but they have contributed to countless family meals over the past ten years. Bon appétit!
Emily is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of three little ones. When she’s not traveling the world with her family, Montreal is home, where you can find her exploring the local markets, making a mess in her kitchen, and brewing a cup of tea. Find her on Instagram (@emmorrice) and check out her lifestyle blog, Our Nest In The City, where she documents it all.