Today’s parents (and grandparents) constitute generations of adults who likely spent their childhoods being told that the meal wasn’t over until one’s plate was licked clean.
As the Saying Goes...
For those of you who were subjected to this nutritional philosophy-turned-food-fight, you’ll certainly recall that the argument often continued something like this: “…and there are starving children in [insert developing country of choice here] who would be very grateful for what you’ve left uneaten on your plate.” Aside from the fact that it always led us, as kids, to wonder just how one might actually get one’s leftovers sent overseas, this method of mealtime management sends the wrong message by emphasizing quantity over quality (with some guilt added in for good measure).
The Clean Plate Club
Unfortunately, recent studies suggest that more than half of Americans are now members of what we refer to as the Clean Plate Club. When parents require children to adhere to the policy of eating everything that is put on their plates—it often leads to significant overeating.
We strongly suggest that you pay less attention to how clean your child’s plate is at the end of any given meal and instead focus your attention on what you serve her in the first place. This quality-over-quantity approach to feeding will serve you well, and help your child grow up with a healthier attitude toward food that includes knowing when to say enough is enough.