The Cleaner Plate Club   -     By: Beth Bader
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The Cleaner Plate Club

Workman Publishing / 2010 / Paperback

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Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 272
Vendor: Workman Publishing
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 9.25 X 7.5 (inches)
ISBN-13: 9781603425858

Publisher's Description

If you’ve ever had to grapple with picky eaters who won’t touch anything but chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese, Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin have a solution. Their unique ideas will help you present fresh foods that appeal to kids, eliminate food waste, and help you quit worrying about what your children eat. A must-have for every family, The Cleaner Plate Club is an easy recipe for healthier kids and happier parents.
 

Author Bio

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 the websites EatLocalChallenge and EatDrinkBetter.

Ali Benjamin is the co-author of The Cleaner Plate Club and the author of the YA novel The Thing About Jellyfish. 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. 

Publisher's 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.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

"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.”

A down-to-earth guide for busy parents trying to raise healthy kids.

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!

"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."

“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.”

“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.”

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?’”

“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.”

“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!”

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.

"If your offspring don’t devour the zucchini-bacon fritters and pumpkin white-cheddar soup, you most certainly will."


"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."

"...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."

"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."

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.

  “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.”                                                                                                                     —

“It's like Michael Pollan for real people."

 

“A friendly, balanced mix of real food manifesto, vegetable encyclopedia, and regular weeknight cookbook.”


“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.”

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