It recently came to my attention that my youngest daughter, Virginia, was getting some fairly interesting nutrition information from a surprising source.

Instagram.

She’d been soaking up dietary tips from a pretty young woman with an Instagram account approaching 150,000 followers. Said Instagrammer seems perfectly well-intentioned, but appears to lack much in the way of a nutrition background or education. The fact that many of the products and brands she touts are likely paying her for mentions never occurred to my 13-year-old.

This all led to a teaching opportunity whereby we discussed what it means to be a smart consumer of information in the age of Instagram. I reminded Virginia that there are thousands of social media accounts, blogs, and books written by registered dietitians, who are excellent sources of nutrition advice that is founded in fact, not the latest trend to blow across Snapchat. I’m proud to be among that community and thought I’d take the opportunity to share six recent favorite RD-authored reads.

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Healthy, Happy Pregnancy by Stephanie Clark, RD & Willow Jarosh, RD

Written by a pair of registered dietitians who are partners in a nutrition consulting practice, this book puts a positive spin on eating during pregnancy, emphasizing what you can and should eat more than what you can’t. It features dietary prescriptions, delivered in a light-hearted tone, for common pregnancy ailments, including nausea, heartburn, leg cramps, constipation, and water retention. The book gives all the basics of nutrition, as well as 125 appetizing recipes to sustain you through nine months of pregnancy.

Best for: Anyone who is pregnant, particularly first timers

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Whole Cooking and Nutrition: An Everyday Superfoods Approach to Planning, Cooking, and Eating with Diabetes by Katie Cavuto, MS, RD

Although it’s published in partnership with the American Diabetes Association, Whole Cooking and Nutrition reads more like a beautiful recipe book than a dreary dietary prescription. Author Katie Cavuto finds the perfect intersection between food that is delicious while being diabetes-friendly.   Recipes that grabbed my eye right out of the gate include Socca with Poached eggs, Roasted Tomatoes, and Fresh Basil, Moroccan Carrot and Red Lentil Soup, and Blueberry Yogurt Lemon Bars.

Best for: Anyone with diabetes or interested in eating delicious, healthy, mostly vegetarian food

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The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian by Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RDN

This is not new to the market, but new to me. I bought it for my oldest daughter, who is vegetarian, but have enjoyed it so much that I’ve yet to give it to her. Whether you have a child who is vegan, vegetarian, or a meat minimalist, this is a terrific, bright, charming resource packed with useful information. It includes everyday meal ideas and recipes, tips on eating when you’re away from home, how to meet your body’s nutrient needs, and how to deal with pesky relatives who won’t leave you alone about not eating meat.

Best for: Anyone who is a vegan, vegetarian, or almost meatless, particularly girls and young women

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Eat and Color the Alphabet by Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RDN and Liz Weiss, MS, RDN

A creative way to engage kids about eating good, whole foods (beyond cutting them into dinosaur shapes) is this sweet coloring book that features 26 healthy foods from A to Z. The book gives fun facts and serving ideas for each food, starting with Avocado and ending with Zucchini.

Best for: Kids of all ages…and adults who still like to color in  (and outside) the lines.

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Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation by Alexandra Caspero Lenz, RD

The subtitle of this cookbook says it all, “100 Full-Flavored Vegetarian Dishes That Prove You Can Stay Slim While Eating Pasta and Bread.” It flies in the face of our present-day low-carb current with recipes that sound as delicious as they are healthy. Ones on my list of standouts?  Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo and Grilled Ratatouille Panzanella Salad.

Best for: pasta- and Italian-food lovers who want to eat well and still be able to zip up their jeans. Ideal for vegetarians. 

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The MIND Diet: A Scientific Approach to Enhancing Brain Function and Helping Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia by Maggie Moon, MS, RD

I’m intrigued by the Mind Diet, a relative newcomer to the diet scene and one focused less on minimizing our waistlines and more on maximizing our cognitive capabilities. The diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean approach and the DASH diet (which is designed to lower blood pressure). The book explains the science behind mental fitness and shares an easy-to-follow program for maintaining brain function through everyday food choices. Includes 40 recipes, from Apricot Glazed Salmon to Banana Chocolate Cookies.

Best for: This book is suitable for anyone interested in the relationship between diet and disease, particularly those focused on wellness of mind and body as we age.

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