Don’t Make A Happy Plate

Going to a restaurant is always fun. Ordering from a menu, receiving good service, and of course eating delicious food all make eating out a nice experience. But sometimes the pleasant vibes can push us to maximize the pleasure.

As a boy, young man, and even now as an older dude, I have sometimes felt obligated and challenged to eat the entire contents of the plate put forth in front of me. But this can be an unfortunate practice, especially when you are eating somewhere like Texas Roadhouse or Cheesecake Factory.

Even though I still fall short from time to time, I have learned that “making a happy plate” (as my wife calls it) isn’t always the best way to go. Here are my five reasons for not cleaning your restaurant plate—even if you really want to…

Often, it can be tempting but also unnecessary to eat everything on your plate at a restaurant.

1. Self-discipline – Nothing like a challenge to refrain from gorging yourself, right? Although it might not be fun when you are in the middle of really enjoying your meal, you will feel like a champ walking out of the restaurant.

2. Leftovers – Make no mistake about it, restaurant leftovers usually taste better the next day and provide something to look forward to.

3. Gift for someone else – I truly think it is a thoughtful act when my wife goes out to eat with her friends and returns with a to-go box and hands it off to me. “This pasta was delicious and I wanted to bring some of it home for you.” Bringing a portion of your meal home to give someone else is a way to selflessly share an experience that they weren’t able to attend.

4. Promote health – This might be the most obvious reason on the list, but it isn’t ideal to consume 3,000 calories in one sitting. Even if you don’t want the psychological challenge of not eating everything on your plate, perhaps following basic guidance for daily caloric intake will provide a good enough reason to look out for your overall health.

5. Score re-usable containers – When you ask for a “box” at a restaurant, sometimes you receive a container that is pretty spiffy. Yep, some restaurants have really elevated their game when it comes to what they give customers to load their extra food in. Sidney and I have re-used some of these containers long after the leftovers are gone.


If you want to increase your will power, create another meal for later, brighten the day of a loved one, save some calories, or bring home a re-usable container, you might consider not cleaning your plate. But, as this blogger is very much aware…easier said than done. Don’t Blink.

One thought on “Don’t Make A Happy Plate

  1. Agreed……but I’m so old school, I still tend to clean the plate. Probably depends on how you were raised. Our home was a a clean plate household……this is a thoughtful read………

Leave a Reply