You Don’t Need to Clean Your Plate

24 Jan
Honestly, I don't even know what all is on this plate. I do know you don't need it all, though.

Honestly, I don’t even know what all is on this plate. I do know you don’t need it all, though.

Living your life means enjoying all of life’s pleasures. One of those pleasures for me is going to a nice restaurant. Lucky for me, New York has no shortage of them.

One of the things I noticed when I moved here is what I like to call New York-sized portions. As a girl from St. Louis, I’m used to food being piled high on my plate. I’ve seen steak covered in roasted potatoes taking up every inch of my plate, with my vegetables brought out in a separate bowl. Depending on where you go here, you’ll have the tiniest sliver of steak sitting atop a bed of sauteed spinach with a couple of potatoes dotted on the plate. And that’s your full meal.

This isn’t typical of every place, but it’s not uncommon. But maybe you’re not a steak eater. Maybe you’re in the mood for fish. It doesn’t really matter, because you’ve got a food plan you’ve got to stick with.

No matter how much or how little food is on your plate, remember you’re not a child anymore. You don’t have to clean your plate. But how do you enjoy your dining out without paying heavily for it in the morning?

Save some for later: Many restaurants give you way more food than you need. One of the tricks I learned early on is to slice the dishes on my plate in half and and take the rest home in a doggy bag. If that’s not your thing, a lot of restaurants give away food at the end of the night to people in need. You can offer up your extras, or maybe you’ll pass someone in need on your way home. Now you’ve done a good deed and avoided wasting food. Don’t you feel better about yourself?

Water is your friend: One of the many added benefits of water—besides lubricating your joints, hydrating your skin and keeping you alive—is that it can help as an appetite suppressant. When I get cravings, I drink water and chew gum. If I’m still hungry in about 15 minutes, it’s time to eat. When you drink water before meals, you’re keeping yourself from overeating. And it’s water! I love water (weird but true). A nice cold glass of water will get me every time.

Knowledge is power: There are certain chain restaurants that boast a healthy menu when it’s loaded with sour cream and cheese and cooked in salted butter. I like a hearty meal as much as the next gal, but if you’re on planned eating regimen, you should know what you’re putting in your body. Ask the server how your meal is prepared. See if it can be cooked a different way. Or ask your server for a lighter suggestion. There are plenty of places that offer lighter fare on the menu. Try  out something new.

Dining out doesn’t have to be the death of your new healthy lifestyle. Look at it as a new beginning. You can try smaller portions of different foods that work with your plan. Just don’t forget the water.

What do you do to stay on track while dining out? And if you’re a cafe fanatic, like myself, Well+Good did a great post about what to get at your local coffee shop.

 photo credit: jypsygen via photopin cc

3 Responses to “You Don’t Need to Clean Your Plate”


  1. #WorkThatBody2015 | I'm Skinny, Now What? - August 24, 2015

    […] changes in your body and gain a new admiration for your skills. You know how to control your portions. You’ve mastered the art of balancing your fitness regimen with your calorie counting. […]

  2. Cravings vs. Hunger: Thanksgiving Edition | I'm Skinny, Now What? - November 26, 2014

    […] Leave some white space on the plate. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you don’t have to clean your plate. We usually tell the young kids to make a “happy plate” to get them to eat what’s […]

  3. No Time Like the Present | I'm Skinny, Now What? - November 17, 2014

    […] Know that your eyes are always bigger than your stomach. As I said before, you don’t have to clear your plate. A lot of restaurants give you way too much food. The stomach isn’t that big. And if you go […]

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