Do you feel compelled to “clear your plate” every time you sit down to eat a meal?
You are not alone. New research from Cornell University demonstrates that the average adult consumes a whopping 92% of everything put on his or her plate.
To put it bluntly: If it goes on your plate, it goes in your mouth.
Interestingly, while this held true across the eight countries studied, kids under 18-years of age only ate 59% of what they were served. What gives?
I can’t help but wonder if the message of “you have to finish everything on your plate to not waste food” at some point collides with emotional eating. A full plate of food, adult life stressors, and the imbedded message of finishing everything on the plate, is the perfect recipe for over-consuming. This notion gets further amplified by the the ever-expanding portion size.
A client recently confided that he finds it nearly impossible to resist eating everything on his plate, and at record speed. To combat this deep-seeded habit, we put in place mindful eating practice. Within just a few days he began eating less and by the end of the first week lost a couple of pounds. Being aware is the first step.
6 Ways To Break the Clear-Your-Plate Habit
- Use A Smaller Plate — Clearly, if you use a smaller plate, you have less room for heaping servings of food. Refrain from seconds!
- Put Down Your Utensils/Food Down Between Bites — This forces you to actually take the time to chew your food rather than taking another bite before your finished chewing the first bite.
- Remove Distractions — How many times have you eaten in front of the television or the computer to look down at your plate and wonder, “Where did it go?” Resist the urge to play on your phone and pay attention to what you are eating.
- Sip Water Between Bites — This will slow you down and fill you up. It takes about 30 minutes for the brain to catch up with the stomach.
- Eat A Salad Before Your Meal — Rather than making a salad part of your meal, eat a salad 30 minutes to an hour before your meal. That gives your brain enough time to send you a signal that you really don’t need all that much food.
- At A Restaurant? When you order tell the waiter that you want half of it to-go. Easy!
Oh, and I give you permission to leave food on your plate!
Leigh Burton says
Definately an issue for me. I am a die hard lover of food. Thank you for the insight…
Melissa, I love how your 6 tips help us be mindful and aware of ourselves and our surrounding. Simple and so effective. Wonderful!
Natasha Botkin says
So true, I was raised with clean your plate, there are starving people in China mantra. Lovely ides when one gets in that mode.