Feb. 11: What I Ate: Clean Plate Challenge Menu Day

Outrageous experiments in sensible eating.
Feb. 12 2011 11:27 AM

Feb. 11: What I Ate: Clean Plate Challenge Menu Day

Today I ate the menu offered by Danielle Ricci for the Clean Plate Challenge to design my perfect eating day. Here's a screenshot of her menu.

Ellen Tarlin Ellen Tarlin

Ellen Tarlin is a former Slate copy chief and writer of the "Clean Plate" blog. Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Boston PhoenixBrooklyn Bridge, Bark, and  the RISK storytelling podcast. Follow her on Twitter.

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Black bean soup for breakfast. It was actually pretty good. I tend to go for sweet things for breakfast, but perhaps I will have to explore the world of savory breakfasts.

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I noticed two things about Danielle's menu: 1. It's vegan and 2. It doesn't seem like a lot of food, so I had to mix it up a little bit.

Mid-morning snack: a Cara Cara orange and chai tea.

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For lunch: a giant arugula salad, whole-wheat pita, and hummus. I didn't eat all that hummus. This was really good. I should definitely do more salads at lunch.

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Danielle had given me some leeway on snacks: "something that responds to your craving--salty, crunchy, sweet," she had said. I did want to get some dairy into the day, so I had this Siggi's orange and ginger yogurt with crunchy Grape-Nuts on top. The yogurt tasted like ginger snaps.

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Still hungry, I added a banana:

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And then dinner: Check it out! I made chana masala and chapati! I was going to make raita too, but, as you can see, it was already pretty late (I work until 8 p.m. every other Friday), so I topped it with a dollop of lowfat sour cream instead. The chana masala was spicy--I'd tweak the spices a bit next time. I managed to successfully halve both recipes.

I am in big trouble with this chapati, though. I love this stuff. A local Asian fusion restaurant sells these as an appetizer called Indian pancake with a spicy sauce. A local Israeli restaurant sells them for brunch with eggs and harissa. Now I can make it at home? Uh-oh.

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Overall a good menu: beans, lots of vegetables, whole grains, fruits. Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Indian food all in one day. Delicious and not too difficult. Thanks, Danielle!