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Eat a Little Better: Great Flavor, Good Health, Better World: A Cookbook

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  294 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Sam Kass, former chef to the Obamas and White House food policy advisor, makes it easier to do a little better for your diet--and the environment--every day, through smart ways to think about shopping, setting up your kitchen so the healthy stuff comes to hand most naturally, and through 90 delicious, simple recipes.


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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 17th 2018 by Clarkson Potter Publishers
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  294 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I have imaginary boyfriends. There are some that are higher on the list like this guy...

So when I saw that his personal chef had a cookbook response was "yes, please."

Even though I knew that the Obamas ate way healthier than I do at the moment. I was surprised that this book isn't preachy about what you eat. Yes, Sam Kass does advocate that you eat pretty healthy but he is actually realistic in helping with your goals.

I've made a few of these recipes and so far this book is a win for
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A cookbook with a lot of good reminders for organizing healthier eating. Although the book is not original or groundbreaking, it is organized in an appealing way. One of his tips is to expose yourself to healthier foods from the beginning in your pantry and refrigerator. Another is to cut out sugar.
Kelly Krucki
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wouldn't normally count a cookbook as reading a full book but this one was chock full of information about sustainable farming, how to organize your pantry, White House politics and how to eat a little better. All of this information I found incredibly helpful and the recipes look delicious and fairly easy for someone with only a minor level of cooking skills. I enjoyed learning about how some small changes in my life can help both my health and the environment. I am looking forward to trying ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cookbooks-2018
Sam Kass worked as the Obama's personal chef during Barack Obama's presidential campaign and then continued working as their chef in the White House. He also worked with Michelle Obama to create better food policies, the White House garden, etc. during Barack's two terms in office. In his introduction (which is LONG) Kass gives his background and how he got into cooking, then he goes through his food philosophy which can be summed up in the title Eat a Little Better. He doesn't advocate crazy, s ...more
Beth Robinson-Kinney
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this cookbook. It is rare that I sit down and read a cookbook cover to cover in one sitting, but that is exactly what I did with this one. It is certainly and primarily a cookbook, but there is a good bit dedicated to food policy and nutrition as well. I LOVE READING ABOUT FOOD POLICY. As a pescetarian who leans toward vegetarianism, I feel as if this were written just for me. Sam Kass lays out several principles (Eat more vegetables; make it simple; don't beat yourself ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, I was motivated to look into this book.

This is the first time that I ever read an entire cookbook!

I came across plenty of cookbooks in the past where I would just flip through them and see if they had any eye candy pictures. But this is unlike any other cookbook.

This book is like a helpful guide on how to make better lifestyle changes in my own home kitchen while at the same time being practical about it all.

I really appreciated all the information i
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was very curious to see the recipes for the chef from the Obama's White House. They were such advocates for healthy eating and I was interested in what some of the foods they would have eaten were. Sam Kass shows that you don't have to deprive yourself while still making good choices since every little good food choice you make adds up. It's about building up healthy habits instead of making one big change to start living a healthy lifestyle. The recipes look really appealing and have ingredie ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Eat a Little Better is definitely more than a cookbook. Former White House chef Sam Kass shares not only recipes but also tips for how to make eating healthy easy. Kass teaches you how to set up your kitchen and pantry so that eating healthy is instinctual. This is a great book for developing healthy habits in the kitchen, and the recipes look pretty good too!
Becca Sloan
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WOW best book of the year. Has completely changed how I run my kitchen. The book caused a paradigm-shift for me and gave me a sustainable, fun, and delicious way to walk in that shift. Highly highly recommend.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

"Don't count calories. Make calories count."

This is a beautiful looking and well laid out cookbook by the chef and senior food policy advisor to Barack and Michelle Obama. This is a book about mindful cooking and eating.

As a book about food, the emphasis is on food that is healthful and flavorful. The first 50 pages of the book discuss food and how to eat better and how to avoid waste while being a better judge of what you can use when you cook. (If you make broth, all those stalks and
Dec 02, 2018 added it
Shelves: cookbooks
"if perfection is the enemy of progress, then so is pretense. no one eats ONLY healthy, sustainable meals."
"lets stop trying to make perfect choices and focus on making good ones."
"we eat what we see. -- this simple truth might be the most important lesson in this book. the key to eat better isn't trying to be mindful about every decision you make, its acknowledging that you cant be. set yourself up for success. swap out the cookies on your counter for something better. use smaller plates or bow
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
To Read: Yes. Do you want to read stories about the author hanging out in the kitchen with the Obama girls or cooking for the president on Air Force One? Then you should read this book. Kass also writes about nutrition and food policy, but he doesn’t really hit you over the head with his opinions.

To Look At: Sure. The photos are fine, but this book definitely has that hipster vibe, where the photos are toned down and are more about ingredients than the recipes. There aren’t photos for every reci
Jill Blevins
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a cookbook with a motivating story. If you enjoy your recipes with a touch of background, of a beautiful story of a decent human being's journey, and want to feel good about being a human, about being you - this is the cookbook for you.

I only read cookbooks for the story, so this had plenty of story and I have to say, was so inspiring that I couldn't stop. When the memoir section ended and the recipe section began, I kept going. I almost felt like I would get up off the couch and go in t
Terry Maguire
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am not the type of person who casually reads cookbooks- much less memoirs that include recipes (which is what this one is)- but I was so intrigued by Michelle Obama's discussion of Sam Kass in her memoir Becoming about the role he played in helping her promote healthier, budget-friendly, working-parent friendly cooking & nutrition that I sat down with this one and read it pretty much straight through. Kass' anecdotes about cooking in the Obama's modest Chicago apartment kitchen to joining the ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: selfhelp
First this book has amazing pictures!

Don't read it while you're hungry.

It's basically divided into two parts:

(1) The first part is a very good discussion of food policy and what constitutes healthy food. Kass takes the approach that is unrealistic to get everybody to only eat seasonal, locally grown organic kale, but instead we have to take small practical steps to eating a bit healthier, by reducing our consumption of some of the worst foods and increasing our consumption of veggies, whole grai
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adore Sam Kass and was excited to see this book.

While the intro is long Kass talks about his background and how he became the chef for the Obama's and his involvement in Let's Move!. He shares tips on how he organizes the pantry and how best to shop for healthy food. Yes, some of this is common sense, but it is helpful in thinking about a healthier lifestyle as a whole, which this book is about, and as Kass notes you're not going to eat more vegetables if you don't know how to cook them.

Courtney Westerberg
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book. Not only does Sam have some great simple healthy recipes, but he also includes information like nutrition, food policy and sustainability in his cookbook, which are all interesting topics and I wish more cookbooks had. He keeps his information very simple and easily understandable, so even people who don't have a nutrition degree like me can understand. He understands how overwhelming the topic of food and health can be and he really just simplifies it. I highly sugg ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
A combination cookbook/manifesto on the small changes we can make to our diets for big environmental and health impact. This isn't a tell-all so don't go in expecting hot goss on the Obama's - the juiciest detail is what they ate the night of the 2008 election (bbq chicken, brown rice and broccoli, you're welcome).

If you're even vaguely comfortable in the kitchen none of these recipes are particularly innovative or groundbreaking - most of them don't even have more than 8 ingredients. But someti
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book packs a ton of information in a short amount of time. It gives you the fast and loose version of what those thicker, heavier books on ethical eating and food production say. There are also insightful passages about working in the White House, what foods worked for him, in what contexts they did, etc. Fascinating stuff. Lastly, the recipes look simple and delicious. Kass emphasizes trying more than exacting a perfect recipe. He gives you blueprints instead of just instructions. These ar ...more
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Food policy expert, and private chef to the Obamas, Sam Kass lays out his ideas for making the world a better place and eating healthier by making small incremental changes in your diet. While I would have liked even more private anecdotes about cooking for the first family, the real gem here is the simple recipes that make healthy food seem even more exciting. Gorgeous food photos are a must in my favorite cookbooks, and you find them in abundance here. I hope to try some of these recipes soon.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Kass has a great philosophy of food and eating. He reminds us that we don't need to eat organic or locally sourced or vegetarian (although those are fine if we choose to). For many of us, it's enough to just start trying to eat a little better. And he gives some great guidelines for how we can accomplish that. He also provides a variety of recipes, and he encourages cooks to use them as springboards for creativity, not as strict maps to follow. All in all, a helpful book written by a kind an ...more
Apr 22, 2021 rated it liked it
None of the recipes jumped out at me or made me feel that I must make them tomorrow but the text in the book motivated me to have a desire to improve my eating habits and make an effort to return to a less processed way of eating that I was better about when my kids were younger and I had more time and my kids were less picky. I really feel that I would eat much healthier without a family, alas, I like them so I will keep them around. I may revisit the chapters on grains and veggies at some poin ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Light and Breezy Writing, Yummy Recipes

I didn’t even finish the book before I tried the Charred Cabbage—-unexpectedly wonderful! The author’s writing style is easy-going. He makes foods that sound intimidating into easy to follow recipes (for the most part—-there’s a few foods he couldn’t convince me to try)! I like his approach of doing what you can to improve your buying and eating habits without piling on guilt.
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don’t typically count a cookbook as “reading a book” but this was full of INFORMATION (potato industry, shopping for seafood, reorganizing your pantry, grocery shopping, organic/local, etc.), STORIES (inadvertently cooking in Vienna, cooking in Chicago for the Obamas, planting a vegetable garden at the White House, working in nutrition policy, etc), and RECIPES. Fun read and lots of simple ways to “eat a little better.”
Mark Doton
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting account of Sam Kass' time with the Obamas before and during the presidency. His philosophy on healthy eating: Don't get so caught up in trends and what you shouldn't do that you give up. Take little steps and develop healthy habits over time. The recipes are simple and approachable and offer lots of variation. ...more
Libby Beyreis
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
A good book for people who are intimidated by the idea of eating better and cooking more. There's lots of good information, some fun anecdotes about working in the Obama White House, and a bunch of simple recipes. I would have liked some more complex recipes, but as I said before, for someone who is intimidated by cooking, this book seems like a great place to start. ...more
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cook-books
Excellent recipes and background stories from the Obama's personal chef, Sam Kass. While First Lady, Michelle Obama cared so about making American children healthier ...and this is the guy who helped her. Kass also emphasizes how eating healthier (more veggies and grains) is even good for the environment and will help combat the effects of climate change. ...more
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking
Kass starts with a moderate point of view -- we don't have to change our diets completely, we can just eat a little better, and that will improve our eating and the effect of our eating on the environment. He then spins that into a nice variety of simple preparations that encourage variety and experimentation. ...more
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Simple, accessible recipes, and some story-porn for anyone who is a fan of Obama and his fam + food.

He also sprinkles in some stories about what he learned working on food policy, his past as a cook, and more, which are all interesting to read.

Great practical tips for a beginner cook (like me).
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cookbook +

Straightforward advice and simple recipes that I think I could actually make. I agree with the notion that if you try to eat Perfect you’re going to fail- but we can all eat a little better for our selves & environment
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