It’s not particularly surprising that I started gaining weight. And still, I kept clearing my plate. By 2nd and 3rd grade, I was severely overweight.
My mother’s “clear your plate” strategy was certainly well intentioned. But, as it turns out, it’s not particularly helpful in creating a healthy or balanced lifestyle. In fact, quite the opposite. In addition to resulting in overeating, it teaches all of us to ignore feelings of hunger or fullness.
According to one study, portion sizes increased for every category of food except pizza between 1977 and 1996. Hamburgers increased in size by 23%. Mexican food portions are 27% larger. Sodas increased by 52%.
Another study found that today’s steaks exceed USDA serving recommendations by 144%. Not to be outdone, muffins are 233% larger. With all that in mind, clearing you plate is a recipe for disaster – and it’s no wonder that more than a third of American adults are obese.
And not clearing your plate doesn’t mean wasting food. You can certainly store food in the refrigerator or freezer and save it for subsequent meals.
It’s time to resign from the clean your plate club. Despite what your mother said, it’s okay to leave food behind. In fact, it’s a very good thing.