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Lean Plate Club

Lean Plate Club

Washington Post columnist despenses wisdom in this 8-week plan.

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Please note, this is not a diet. It's a club that promotes healthy habits. that means making healthy choices and being more active. The Lean Plate Club does not have a dedicated meeting location or secret handshake, and there's no membership fee. It's a virtual environment created by Washington Post Health and Nutrition Columnist Sally Squires.

Each Tuesday, Sally Squires prints a new Lean Plate Club column in the Post, which is also syndicated in papers across the country. She also has a weekly radio program that you can listen to over the Web. If you want to catch up, WashingtonPost.com has a complete library of all previous articles. In 2006, the Secrets of the Lean Plate Club was published. It is a great companion to any member of the Lean Plate Club as it elaborates on important topics, such as:

  • Rediscovering the joy of eating well
  • Avoiding nutritional mischief and exercise boredom
  • Learning to recover from "the slips" so that they don't become slides into failure
  • Making any diet from Atkins to The Zone work better for you
  • Tips to create healthier habits, smarter grocery shopping, and great-tasting recipes.

Lean Plate Club promotes itself as an eight-week program where you'll learn smarter, healthier habits. However, the program extends far beyond two months, as you can follow this as long as you like.

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  • Permits all foods, just in moderation
  • It's free
  • Endorsed by the Washington Post; new columns each Tuesday
  • Success not determined by weight, but inches around waist
  • References the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid
  • A lot of counting, measuring and tracking everything you eat and do
  • Less guidance that most diets
  • Have to do a lot of homework yourself

Eating healthy doesn't have to be restrictive or even force you to stop eating foods you love. It's about making smarter choices- grilled not fried, popcorn not chips, juice not pop. Most importantly for the Lean Plate Club, incorporate more fruits and veggies, whole-grains, protein and eat three balanced meals each day

Snacks should be an important part of your diet, according to the Lean Plate Club. Plan on about two snacks each day, not to exceed about 100 calories each. This will of course depend on the amount of calories you're already consuming that day. Squires did an article in the Summer of 2007 highlighting 16 snacks that show kids can enjoy healthy snacks, too. But even the adults can steal from this yummy list:

  • Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs
  • Carrots with ranch dip
  • Cheese sticks
  • White popcorn
  • Fruit
  • Crackers with Hummus

Lean Plate Club's site has a Recipe Finder, Daily Meal Chart, Calories for Alcohol and Fast Food Nutrition Info to help you make the most informed decisions when planning your meals.


One of the Lean Plate Club's only two real rules is that you must be more active. You can really make that happen however is best for you- just make sure you do it. You should exercise at least half an hour each day, but increase that to about 90 minutes for serious weight loss results. Lean Plate Club does offer some guidance for activity, especially in the book.


Sally Squires really seems to get it. You don't necessarily have to be a babysitter to people trying to lose weight, you just have to arm them with information, tools and new ideas to keep them motivated and working toward their goals. The Lean Plate Club is an interesting idea. Unlike most diets with regimented food plans, online subscriptions and interactive websites, this is pretty much up to you.

All of the information Lean Plate Club has to offer is made available on the Washington Post website, but it's really up to you to determine calories/day, foods to eat, exercises to perform and set your goals.

User testimonials rave about both the author and the program. Popular Oprah guest and author himself, Dr. Mehmet Oz even gives Lean Plate Club his nod of approval.

Common MisspellingsCommon Misspellings

Leen Plate Club, Lean Plat Club, Washington Post Diet

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(Page 1 of 1, 2 total comments)

dee dee

most of the time the low cost options are the ones that really work


I love the lean plate club idea...its more lifestyl change than diet, and nothing is forbidden


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