Our expert says:
I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time ! When your parents were brought up, I'm sure this is how they were trained, as in earlier generations, when food was more scarce, it was seen as essential that children must learn to clean their plates, "peas before pudding", not leave the table before finishing it all, and kids might even be made to feel guilty by being reminded of all the starving children in the world who would be so glad to have that broccolli you're being fussy about !
And you're actually raising an important issue usually overlooked amid all the modern panic about so much obesity - the way generations of children were trained to eat and clean their plates, generating a potential over-eating habit.
Of course, in those days food was healthier, with less junk food available.
Apart from working with a behaviour psychologist with an interest in nutrition to break these habits, you can start even more easily. If you feel compelled to clear your plate - make sure you serve yourself ( and/or are served ) smaller helpings ! It helps to use much smaller plates, so a smaller amount of food still looks generous.
If you feel you can't say no to food, control what food is around for you to say Yes to raw fruit and vegetable snacks, for instance, and chocolate only in a small reward ( controlled by someone else ! ) when you have reached each of a series of goals in a proper weight-loss program.
The problem isn't really cleaning your plate, but what is on the plate to start with. If its salad, clean away ! If its fried chicken and a fried mars bar, don't even put it on the plate to start with.
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