Habits of Healthy Eaters: Quit the Clean Plate Club

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Was your household one that enforced the "Clean Plate Club"? Did you know that could be hurting your weight-loss efforts?

Our parents might have had good intentions, but teaching us that we had to eat everything on our plates was not a helpful lesson. When we only stop eating when our plate is empty, our brains never learn to judge when we're actually full.

It takes your brain 20 minutes to get the signal from your stomach that you're full.
Slow down, and follow the "Mind Your Manners" healthy eating strategies.

Here are some additional tips to reverse the Clean Plate Club mentality.
  • Serve smaller portions, and recognize proper portions. Parents, especially those who grew up during the Depression, remember what it's like to not have enough food. Enforcing a clean plate was less about overeating than it was about not wasting food.
  • Save your leftovers. Eyes bigger than your stomach? Put that second half of your baked sweet potato and the remainder of your chicken breast in the fridge for tomorrow's lunch.
    • Add a small green salad and some yogurt or milk and you've got a meal.
    • Add leftover vegetables to soups or scramble them with an egg for a quick lunch or snack.
    • Top salads with leftover meat or seafood, or turn extra chicken breasts into a light(er) chicken salad.

  • Divide and conquer. If you're eating at a restaurant, where portions far exceed what you should be eating, immediately divide your meal in half (or thirds at some restaurants). Ask for a box or politely move half of your meal to the far side of your plate. Eat only the portion you've doled out for yourself, and save the rest. Don't be tempted to nibble on the remaining food.

Did you grow up in a clean plate house? Do you enforce that rule? Will you change your habit?