The Cleaner Plate Club: Raising Healthy Eaters One Meal at a Time

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Overview

Childhood obesity. Diabetes. Developmental delays and disorders. Today’s parents know that what their kids eat is key to their health. Their kids are bombarded with a relentless parade of ads for junk food, fast food, and empty calorie “treats.” How can parents get their kids to eat meals that don’t come out of a box? The Cleaner Plate Club comes to the rescue. Mommy-bloggers Beth Bader and Alison Benjamin offer simple solutions, recipes, meal suggestions, and tips to help parents get kids to eat non-processed ...

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The Cleaner Plate Club: Raising Healthy Eaters One Meal at a Time

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Overview

Childhood obesity. Diabetes. Developmental delays and disorders. Today’s parents know that what their kids eat is key to their health. Their kids are bombarded with a relentless parade of ads for junk food, fast food, and empty calorie “treats.” How can parents get their kids to eat meals that don’t come out of a box? The Cleaner Plate Club comes to the rescue. Mommy-bloggers Beth Bader and Alison Benjamin offer simple solutions, recipes, meal suggestions, and tips to help parents get kids to eat non-processed food that’s been grown locally or organically and — guess what? — enjoy it. They recognize that cooking real food isn’t difficult, but it does require some know-how, which they supply with humor and compassion. Beth and Alison show readers how to prepare foods found at the farmers’ market (and how to substitute, say, asparagus for string beans if need be), plan ahead and estimate prep time, and get used to cooking food that doesn’t come with printed directions. Their fresh advice will help parents eliminate food waste, plan for leftovers, present foods that are appealing to kids, and quit fighting with their children — finally — about food.
The Cleaner Plate Club offers kid-tested recipes for every meal, basic vegetable preparations for farmers’ market finds, and more healthful recipes for sweets and snacks. Readers will also find shopping strategies, the reasons kids like the foods they do, and vegetable profiles (including nutrition information and tips on selection, storage, and preparation). Expert advice and innovative ideas about feeding kids make this book a must-have for any parent. Fresh, funny, and nonjudgmental, The Cleaner Plate Club is a recipe for healthier kids and happier parents.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This crayon-colored real food manifesto from mommy bloggers Bader and Benjamin gives parents plenty of ammo in the never-ending battle to get their kids to eat better, though it will likely be used more as a reference than a playbook at the end of a long day. Concerned parents will appreciate arguments for the benefits of eating better and avoiding processed foods; suggestions on dealing with picky eaters; shopping tips; and the organic vs. conventional debate. Profiles of common vegetables should broaden the palate and pantry, but some tips are disappointingly obvious ("don't go grocery shopping with kids who are hungry or tired"). And while recipes do present healthy alternatives, not all are time savers: few parents will want to whip up pumpkin gnocchi with walnut cream sauce and balsamic reduction after work. The duo deserves credit for a healthy take on chicken nuggets (baked), and their list of "faster than drive-thru dinners" that come together in a flash. Locavores well-versed in the benefits of a diet emphasizing fresh vegetables will likely find few surprises, but others will find a helpful resource for healthier eating. (Jan.)
Sacramento Book Review
"Authors and bloggers Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin both believe that having children should not automatically necessitate cooking one meal for the adults and a separate meal for the little ones. And their book, The Cleaner Plate Club, proves that they know what they’re talking about. This gem of a cookbook covers all the bases."
BookPage
"...thankfully written for Real Parents, meaning we who want the best for our families, but who are very, very tired...This book is jammed with info: guidelines, pantry lists, meal-planning techniques and time-savers—yet the energetic authors make it feel as fresh as our next family dinner can be, with their plate-cleaning help."
Mother Earth News
“Keeping your resolution just got easier thanks to The Cleaner Plate Club, the incredibly engaging book by esteemed food bloggers Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin.” —
Kitchen Daily
“A friendly, balanced mix of real food manifesto, vegetable encyclopedia, and regular weeknight cookbook.”
The Chicago Tribune
“The Cleaner Plate Club” won’t tell you that you’re a bad parent because your kid is a picky eater. Authors Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin won’t brag about how their own kids gulp down sushi or delight in mommy’s made-from-scratch carrot souffle. They won’t even tell you that you have to be a stealth cook, hiding spinach in brownies and zucchini in mac ‘n’ cheese. They’ll just show you how to make simple, delicious, kid-friendly food, support you in your efforts to get it on the table and remind you that, if worse comes to worst (as it often does when the food critics are too young to crayon without supervision) tomorrow is another day.”
Kansas City Star
"Bader and Benjamin’s book is packed with both familiar-sounding recipes (mac and cheese with ham and broccoli) and many that aren’t (honey-spice roasted cauliflower and curried eggplant with long beans). This is more than a cookbook, though. The pair also tackles pickiness, high-fructose corn syrup, school lunches and other issues. They offer primers on fats, sugars and e. coli and quote food activists including Marion Nestle and Barbara Kingsolver…(it offers) plenty of do-able recipes, complete with advice on shopping, prepping and adapting whole ingredients."
Boston Mamas
“Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin have waded, with great success, into (picky eating) with the recent publication of The Cleaner Plate Club: Raising Healthy Eaters One Meal at a Time. The book is a cookbook, with many easy-to-handle recipes that claim to help kids develop their palates without frightening them away from new flavors, but also a good how-to manual for the parent…. The book also contains lots of helpful information — generally presented in a non-preachy way — about nutrition and the food industry and the value of farmers’ markets and the difference between whole foods and processed foods. And while I’ve just begun to explore the recipes, my early efforts with the fish curry (page 221) suggest that I will have a long and happy relationship with The Cleaner Plate Club. Whether your kid eats everything or nothing, this book will have something for you.”
The San Francisco Book Review
“For every parent facing the age old question of how to get kids to eat better food comes The Cleaner Plate Club. This book is more than a cookbook: it is a guide to feeding your children vegetables in a way they will enjoy. The authors, Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin, are both experienced and successful bloggers with children; they know what they’re talking about…The recipes are simple and delicious, the information is eye-opening and thoughtfully arranged, and the overall book design is extremely user-friendly and just plain fun. This book is a valuable resource for parents with children of all ages.”
Sixty Second Parent
Besides Nigella Lawson’s “How to Be a Domestic Goddess,” I can’t think of another cookbook that causes me to laugh out loud. From page one, I felt like I was sitting at my table with old friends. This isn’t just a cookbook: it’s an educational arsenal to wield your way with grace and dexterity through the carnival that is the modern American food system…Without increasing my weekly budget, I increased our vegetable consumption at our evening meals by two vegetable dishes a night. It was no longer a battle of eat your veggies,’ but a question of ‘which vegetable would you like to eat tonight?’”
NextReads
“Co-authors Beth Bader and Alison (Ali) Benjamin met through Ali’s food blog, bonded over kale chips, and launched this book out of shared concern for raising kids on healthy food (wait for it…) that they’ll actually eat! More than a manifesto, it’s a personable modern guide to choosing and cooking tasty, healthful foods for your kids–and you, too. Cheerful graphics and a chatty tone make its recipes, strategies for smart grocery shopping, and nutritional info appealing to the whole family. You’ll love this book’s practicality (as well as Marion Nestle’s What to Eat) if The Omnivore’s Dilemma caught your eye.”
Odyssey Books
“This colorful cookbook is great for kids or adults. The introduction profiles different ingredients, as well as shopping strategies and information on nutrition and food in the United States. Other sections include how to cook seasonally, how to convert recipes for your slow-cooker, and why to shop at farmers’ markets. Fun, colorful illustrations and photos accompany these sections. The recipes include such delicious dishes as Pumpkin-White Cheddar Soup, Carrot-Quinoa “Biryani”, and Pumpkin Gnocchi. An informative cookbook for children, parents…just about anyone, really!”
Sustainablog
I really really like this book…It’s a very thorough book, very readable, very friendly…ultimately, it gives you tons and tons of strategies, recipes, instructions for how to use whole foods — which of course don’t come with instructions — to make mealtime not only more pleasant, but more healthy for the kids and for the rest of the family.
— Jeff McIntire Strasburg
Cookbook Digest
"Check out The Cleaner Plate Club by Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin, two moms that strive to feed their families fresh vegetables and whole foods. Before you roll your eyes, these authors do seem to understand that all children are different—and admit that theirs are not aliens that would reject fried chicken strips when given the chance to eat them, so many of their recipes have a bit of a sweet edge to appeal to the younger palate. One hundred kid tested recipes and profiles of 25 different veggies that include nutritional info and tips on selecting and preparing them are included. There is also a seasonal index of recipes that enables you to cook freshest items in your market. With all of the above this book will have you well on your way to improving the nutritional content of your next delicious meal.”
Experience Life
"If your offspring don’t devour the zucchini-bacon fritters and pumpkin white-cheddar soup, you most certainly will."
author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe Elizabeth Kolbert
A down-to-earth guide for busy parents trying to raise healthy kids.
Jennifer Shu
In our hectic, fast-paced, busy lives, parents often put healthy eating on the back burner. The Cleaner Plate Club is full of tips to help families go “from nuggets to nutritious.” Authors Beth
Bader and Ali Benjamin remind us how we can enjoy real food again and share recipes that both taste good and are good for you. Their encouraging emphasis on healthy and simple ways to prepare whole foods is enough to turn even the most resistant parent into a “kitchen convert.” A must have for every family’s kitchen!
Kansas City Public Media KCUR
“It's like Michael Pollan for real people."
Sustainablog - Jeff McIntire Strasburg
I really really like this book…It’s a very thorough book, very readable, very friendly…ultimately, it gives you tons and tons of strategies, recipes, instructions for how to use whole foods — which of course don’t come with instructions — to make mealtime not only more pleasant, but more healthy for the kids and for the rest of the family.
Library Journal
"Real moms" and food bloggers Bader and Benjamin join forces to educate, inform, and inspire us about feeding the kids. They've endeavored to create a kind of handbook with guidelines for family nutrition by providing healthy recipes, supermarket strategies, and vegetable profiles. Sprinkled with quotations (from Michael Pollan, among others, of course!), the book also includes interesting information on pesticide residues in produce, analyses of oils, and tips for dealing with sugar fiends and balky eaters. The resource section lists organizations, publications, and favorite cookbooks. Presented in a colorful, kid-friendly style, with mom-next-door chatty text, this guide offers advice on what to choose and how to cook it in a fast-food age. VERDICT The market for books on this subject continues to grow following Pollan's 2006 best seller, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and this is a useful addition. Great for public libraries and all readers interested in healthy cooking/shopping for the family.—Barb Kundanis, Longmont P.L., CO
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603425858
  • Publisher: Storey Books
  • Publication date: 1/15/2011
  • Pages: 305
  • Sales rank: 720,344
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Beth Bader has been a photojournalist, writer, and shark wrangler. As much activist as cook, she is, most of all, a mom determined to make the world a better place for her child, one meal at a time. She is a food blogger and contributes to EatLocalChallenge.com and EatDrinkBetter.com, and TheEthicurean.com.

Ali Benjamin has worked for big companies, grassroots non-profits, and the Peace Corps. Still, one of her greatest achievements so far is seeing her children dive into a bowl of kale. She writes the blog Cleaner Plate Club.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2012

    what the devil?

    i loved the print version but this wont open on my nook!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 4, 2011

    Recipes for Healthy Family Eating

    Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin wrote The Cleaner Plate Club out of a desire to share what they've learned as they've sought to feed their own families healthy meals and raise healthy children. The first part of the book is about nutrition. Included in this section is a discussion of how to cope when they don't eat and how to feel about it. The authors are not psychologists and wisely don't try to deal with the nonfood aspects of this--they don't deal with the aspects of obedience and discipline. Instead, they focus these two pages on the nutritional aspects and how to view it. The next chapter is about shopping for food. I thought their list of ingredients for a well-stocked pantry was really pretty good. There's a few that I might substitute or say are optional, but for the most part, I think it's a very affordable, well rounded list. The next section explains CSAs and farmer's markets. If you've wondered how a CSA works or what the benefits are, the authors do a good job of explaining them. The remainder (and bulk) of the cookbook is about vegetables with recipes for your family. The recipes I've made have all come out except for one. My husband (and two of my children) loved the chicken chili, the fig balsamic salad dressing (which is about as simple as you can get), and the kale salt and vinegar chips. The kale chips were truly one of the most surprising recipes in the book. I made them on a whim not thinking anyone in my family but my husband would eat them--and all but one of my family loved them! I did also make the tomato and bread soup, which did not turn out to be a hit with my children because they love their Trader Joe's tomato soup and couldn't quite get used to the new texture of this soup.

    So, here's my very honest opinion, I do love this cookbook. But, though these recipes are family friendly, they may not be eaten by your picky eaters. I think children who normally eat vegetables will love the recipes in this cookbook. I was pretty shocked when my oldest daughter, a non picky eater, gobbled up the kale chips. I hadn't even tried to get her to eat kale. And some picky eaters may grow to love these recipes. At the very least, the recipes in this cookbook are a great place to start. They aren't too spicy, but they are flavorful dishes (just go light on the salt the first time you make the kale chips). I don't have especially high hopes for my middle daughter, but I hope that she will eventually grow to love other foods. She has been more willing of late at least to take a few bites and has been able to swallow them--I know that sounds extreme, but I am sincere when I say that I really do have a picky eater. I think it's a trap that we as parents can begin to fall into when we cater to our picky children and stop cooking dishes that we enjoy. I've heard from several moms that they just can't do it anymore so they just start feeding their kids nuggets and mac and cheese every night. I don't want to go down that road. I love food. I especially love good food! If 2 of my 3 children will eat a dish, then I consider it a successful meal. So, if majority rules, this cookbook is a winner in our house. It doesn't have all the answers for your picky eaters, nor does it pretend to. But, it will be a good guide to help you know what to feed your children, how to shop, and give you some yummy recipes to cook for your family.

    Please note that I did receive a complimentary copy of The Cleaner Plate

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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