Clean Your Plate!

Discussion in 'Health and Wellness' started by Benjamin, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. Benjamin

    Benjamin
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    Maybe it was just a generation or two ago this became a common command. Most likely this began in the depression era when you didn’t know when your next meal might be coming.

    Another reason might simply be because of not wanting to waste perfectly good food. Of course there are Ziplock baggies and/or the option to freeze leftovers.

    So do you think it a good idea to teach your child to clean their plates? Do you always try to clean your plate by habit, and is this due to your upbringing? How do you think one should go about instructing their children while at the table and what is most important to you?
     
  2. TC

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    I was always told to clean my plate because children are starving in Africa. Children are still starving in Africa and all I did was get fat. So, was it a great idea to force me to eat everything on my plate no matter what?
     
  3. Jon-Marc

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    Food was scarce when I grew up, and I was taught not to take more than I could eat. Of course, my mother often went without so that I could have enough.
     
  4. menageriekeeper

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    I don't believe I ever specifically taught my children to clean their plates. My parents fought (and lost) the food wars with me and I was determined not to fight them with my own children. So I did things totatlly different from the time they began to eat solid food.

    First, I realized that my children's stomachs are much smaller than, yet they have the ability at time to expand to much greater sizes than mine. So in the beginning, I served small portions and gave more upon request. AS they grew older, I still served small portions but taught them how to serve themselves seconds. After that it was up to them how much to serve themselves. *I* didn't have to cross the bridge of taking too much food until they were teens! LOL, hollow legged teens. At that point we had "grocery discussions" and they were taught that certain foods mom only prepares a certain amount of that must be shared. Teens are easy to teach.

    I didn't fight the food preference war either. If they said they didn't like something, fine. There is always peanut butter and jelly or cold cereal! I knew from my own food texture issues that the words "I don't like that" cover a host of issues and mom's cooking skills don't count. Its not an insult if my children tell me they don't like something.

    Yes, I was that mom who let her kids eat cold cereal for supper for weeks on end if that is what they wanted. Know what? Every single one of them got over it and moved on to "real" food. None of them have the food texture issues that I have. (I was the kid who freaked if her corn touched her mash potatoes. Who wouldn't eat all sorts of things because I couldn't tolerate the way they felt in my mouth. When forced to eat stuff I didn't like, I literally learn to swallow my food whole, when I couldn't find some way of disposing of it while claiming I had cleaned my plate. I was a master at getting rid of the food I wouldn't eat)

    At this point, my kids all being teens, I find more food gets wasted because I cook to much than because someone takes more than they can eat.
     
  5. annsni

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    We have kind of a clean plate rule although we don't call it that. Everyone is expected to eat what is on their plates, though. If they leave a lot, I'll wrap it up for the next meal but most of the time they do finish what I've put on their plates. I know my kids' appetites so I don't give them more than they can finish and they usually tell me if they are hungry or not. I also accommodate their preferences (with meatloaf the youngest 3 don't like gravy on the meat and only on the mashed potatoes, the oldest does like gravy - thanks like that) within reason.
     
  6. GBC Pastor

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    I actually have very strong feelings on this subject. I was raised in a home where you had to finish everything on your plate. And while I have no scientific proof, I have always felt this only added to my struggles with weight all my life.

    When my children came along (ages 4 and 6) my wife and I made a commitment to not have this rule in our home. And again although I have no proof there is a direct correlation both of my children are very physically fit for their ages. By the time I was my sons age (6) I was already overweight.
     
  7. Jon-Marc

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    I had a brother who wouldn't put two different foods on his plate at the same time, because he didn't want them touching. The Navy cured him of that.

    One rule I did have with my daughters was that they had to try something before refusing to eat it. They found that they actually liked things they didn't think they would. I could cook a lot better than their mother. Things she would cook that they wouldn't touch, they liked it when I cooked it. Their mother and I separated when they were little. She didn't like cottage cheese and never bought it. My older daughter said at my home "We don't like cottage cheese." How did they know when they had never had any? When she told me that their mom wouldn't buy it, I made them try it. I told them they had to try it and didn't have to eat any more if they didn't like it; they liked it. The same with goulash; they didn't like goulash (or so they thought) because of the way their mother made it; she over-cooked everything. I made them try my goulash, and they liked it. I watched their mother make chili one time, and the hamburger was hard little nuggets when she was finished "browning" it.

    I was a very fussy eater, and , unfortunately, my mother catered to my fussy eating habits. That made me a very fussy eater as an adult.
     
    #7 Jon-Marc, May 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2010
  8. TC

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    Those are same feeling I have over the issue. My dad was such a control freak that he would dish everyone up and that was it - you finished everything on the plate or else. Eventually, as I got older and could eat more, I felt short changed. Dad would cook two turkey legs and divide one between me, my brother, and my mom and he would take the second one for himself. One day, I grabbed some off of his plate and he twisted my arm way behind my back. I was surprised that it didn't break or separate the shoulder. I still have food and other issues to this day.
     
  9. Crabtownboy

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    I was always told, "Clean your plate! Think of the starving children in China!"

    I told this to a Chinese friend. She laughed and said, "Do you know what my mother always said?"

    "No, tell me," I replied.

    "My mother always said, 'clean your plate, think of all the starving Capitalist children in America.' "

    It is probably a universal phrase.
     
  10. Benjamin

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    I have noticed there are a lot of traumatic childhood memories concerning food and this rule. My father would get so upset with me because of my refusal to even try things. I would gag when he tried to force me and would shake in fear over his escalating anger and frustrations with me. I spent many hours sitting at the table because I was not allowed to leave before eating certain things. My stubbornness and refusal sometimes ended in spankings and being sent to my room after the long stay at the table. I still get knots in my stomach from thinking about this and to this day am a picking eater.

    Odd, how these things stick with us and are so hard to let go of.
     
  11. Alcott

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    No, we didn't have such a rule, but I know that having really no 'rules' at all hasn't fallen out positive for me or for the other 3. I mean fried foods, junk foods too available, sweets, and even our vegetables were caloried up with ham or bacon tossed in the pots as they boiled. So all except one of us, who walks a 7-mile daily route as a mail carrier, have weight contol problems.

    I never had the chance to approach the issue better with kids, and I won't now, I'm certain. But I certainly think that by example and inspiration, rather than rigid rules and arguments, you can condition them to eat the right foods in the right amounts, prepared the right ways, and limit the junk.
     

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