Parenting

Clean Plate Club

The post below about desserts got me thinking, how many people make their kids clean their plates at meals?  The comment about getting dessert if they finished dinner just got me thinking and wondering.  Eating until your plate is clean vs eating until you are full is a huge issue with being obese (along with what you are eating but that is a whole different issue).

Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 

Re: Clean Plate Club

  • To answer my question - My DH has recently lost around 22 pounds and is way more aware of this type of thing now.  He used to always clean his plate and now he is really working on being aware of when he is full and stopping.  We never tell the kids they have to clean their plates and don't make a big deal either way.  Rule in our house is you have to taste everything on your plate and if all you do is take 1 bite of everything, that is that - we just don't make a big deal about it.  DH's parents are the type who are into the you have to clean your plate and make a big deal when they do even if they are super full.  MIL was actually forcing herself to keep eating the other night when we were out with them, she had made multiple comments about how full she will but kept eating - I just can't stand to sit and watch them eat like that.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • Well, DS is super picky and has a lot of food "issues", for lack of a better word. Our only rules are that he has to eat at least one bite of everything. After that, I don't care, we just focus on table manners. Sone nights he eats 3 servings of something, some nights he doesn't eat anything beyond the one bite. I just yearn for the day that be will eat foods that are combined or have sauce in some way.
    Henry 4.23.2007 Elliot 3.30.2012


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  • My dh grew up with a mother who was the same way and still is with my children.  She was constantly force feeding ds when he was a baby.  He has always been small and it bothers her.  Dh "can't" leave things on his plate.  It took a lot for to be okay with having leftovers when I cooked.  He is will stop eating when he is full now, but I have to remind him and he is working on his portion sizes.  He has been trying to lose weight for years.

    I do not make my kids clean their plate.  They have to try at least one bite of something before they say that they don't like it.  They also do not get a "treat" or dessert unless they have had something healthy.  I try to teach them that it is okay to have treats sometimes  but our body needs healthy food more so that it will grow and be strong.

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  • I grew up in a household where we were told to finish our plates (because of people who didnt have enough to eat, etc). My brothers and i have never had an issue with overreating or obesity as children or as adults. As long as you are serving healthy portions, finishing your plate shouldn't be an issue.
  • image MamiWami:
    I grew up in a household where we were told to finish our plates (because of people who didnt have enough to eat, etc). My brothers and i have never had an issue with overreating or obesity as children or as adults. As long as you are serving healthy portions, finishing your plate shouldn't be an issue.
     

    I do agree on the whole healthy portion part of what you said but walk into just about any restaurant these days and you will not be given a healthy portion, portion sizes are huge at a lot of places.  Dinner plates have gotten bigger over the years.  I'm not saying that everyone that cleans their plates at every meal is going to be obese but telling someone to always clean their plate can lead to issues.  Kids are born knowing to stop when they are full but it goes away due to how we are taught.

    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • I think it's really relative.  I portion my kids' meals to what I know they are capable of eating, at a minimum.  DS is a much lighter eater than DD, so his serving sizes reflect that.  He is really good about asking for more of something.  So, if he asks for more of something, but leaves a little bit of something else, it's still a success to me.  DD is the queen of 'I'm still hungry, I'm still hungry.'  I typically start her off with a bigger portion, knowing what she is capable of finishing.  So, for her, we do tend more toward a clean plate because otherwise she does the 'I'm still hungry' for the rest of the night.  Do we force feed them?  No, absolutely not.  Do we encourage them to eat a good meal?  Yes.  Am I going to reward them for leaving half their dinner on their plate?  Probably not.  Because if they're not hungry enough to eat a good bit of dinner, they do not need dessert (ie, more food). 
  • The only thing he HAS to finish is his veggie.  And he knows this, so he usually will eat that first.  Sometimes he cleans his plate, sometimes he doesn't, but his veggies are always eaten. 
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  • The nest just ate my reply. argh! 

    I do a combo - I portion their meals to what they typically would eat.  Our general rule is to try 3 bites.  Ben clears his plate about 95% of the time, though.  If he's at least tried the 3 bites, he can pick something good for him....fruit/yogurt/applesauce/bread to fill him up.  Nat generally will eat what is served, but she's world's slowest eater.  I also fall into ruts of fixing only things that I know they both like....H works during lunch/dinner times, so we only consider his likes/dislikes on the weekends, and it's just as easy for me to eat salad/wraps during the week.  

     

  • We don't eat dessert after meals on a regular basis.  if my kids are still hungry after 2 servings, they can have fruit.  They're not required to clean their plates either.  If they're done, they're done.  But, they don't get a junky bedtime snack if they didn't eat their dinner (they rarely get those b/c if they ate their dinner they don't usually want a snack).  Seems to work well for us.
    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • image j*w*:
    I think it's really relative.  I portion my kids' meals to what I know they are capable of eating, at a minimum.  DS is a much lighter eater than DD, so his serving sizes reflect that.  He is really good about asking for more of something.  So, if he asks for more of something, but leaves a little bit of something else, it's still a success to me.  DD is the queen of 'I'm still hungry, I'm still hungry.'  I typically start her off with a bigger portion, knowing what she is capable of finishing.  So, for her, we do tend more toward a clean plate because otherwise she does the 'I'm still hungry' for the rest of the night.  Do we force feed them?  No, absolutely not.  Do we encourage them to eat a good meal?  Yes.  Am I going to reward them for leaving half their dinner on their plate?  Probably not.  Because if they're not hungry enough to eat a good bit of dinner, they do not need dessert (ie, more food). 

    I agree with this. I grew up where I had to clean my plate and I couldn't drink my juice or whatever until I had finished eating. The idea was that I would get full from the beverage and not the food. To this day I don't drink until I finish eating. I'm not sure how I feel about that although as I am typing this I find that I'm doing the same thing to DD about the drinks. I still can't tell about her portions since she is so young and I don't force feed her. Once she turns or tries to the plate over then I know she's done.

  • We are definitely not members of the Clean Plate Club. We have never forced DD to eat everything on her  plate. We encourage her to eat until she's full. I don't want to start bad habits of eating past the point of being full. DH and I both had to clean our plates when we were younger. While we are not overweight we do have issues with stopping before we get to the point of being absolutely stuffed.
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  • No, I would never force my kids to eat everything.  I have seen people make their children sit there and cry because they were full or didn't like something (family members).  As little as dd has always been, I never even force fed her as a baby.
  • Dessert is very rare at home, or even at another home or out to eat. They are encouraged to eat until full, but  on the rare occasion we are eating dessert, I'd rather they stop early enough that they save room for the treat, so they don't overeat. Again, it's so rare that I don't really care if they replace a few bites of their meal with dessert. I do the same thing for myself.

    I never force them to finish a meal. I do require that they try everything, unless it's something they've given an honest chance in the past and just don't like it (this doesn't happen too often). Them finishing their food doesn't help the child in Africa who doesn't have enough food for their tummies. We all serve ourselves, and they are encouraged to only put a small amount on their plate at first. They can always get seconds. 

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