The encouragement to eat everything on your dinner (or breakfast or lunch) plate comes in many forms. “Don’t be wasteful.” “Make a happy plate!” “Finish your food or you’ll get no dessert.” Or, my personal least favorite, “There’s starving children in _____ that would love to have that food.”
No matter how you phrase it, most of us are taught from a young age to eat everything that is placed before us.
While wasting food is never a good idea, there are plenty of ways to prevent waste that don’t include stuffing ourselves with every last morsel of food.
However, if you’re part of the clean-your-plate crew, you’re not alone. The average adult eats 92 percent of the food on their plate, Shape Magazine reports, no matter what that food may be.
Eating everything on your plate, healthy or no, could be causing you to overeat without you noticing. In turn, that could cause unwanted weight gain.
Happily, there are some simple steps you can take to “reprogram” yourself out of the need to eat everything placed in front of you.
Fill up on Veggies — Try upping the amount of vegetables on your plate. You may still eat most of it, but the vegetables will help you feel fuller, faster which can prevent overeating. Also, you’ll be closer to eating the number of recommended servings of vegetables per day!
Use a smaller plate — This sounds too easy to actually work, but give it a try. Using a smaller plate is another way you can still eat all of whatever is served to you, but in smaller portions. It’s also a great trick to use at those all-you-can-eat buffets.
Serve yourself — Speaking of buffets, when you can, try to use the serve-yourself method. You know how hungry you are, so only put that much food on your plate. If you finish it and are still hungry, then go back for another small portion.
Listen to Your Body – This one is hard at first, but eventually you learn to listen for exactly what your body wants. Using a hunger scale to determine your hunger can also help. Try to eat before you get super hungry, and stop before you become completely full.
Eating everything on your plate is a habit most of us pick up as kids. Happily, as with most bad habits, it is one that can be broken!