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Eat Everything On Your Plate….Not!

Full Plate
Photo by peasap via Flickr

So, you went to a restaurant the other day.  When they brought your dinner out, it was huge. By the time you finished half of it, you were full.  You wanted to stop eating, but subconsciously you remembered what your dear old mom always said about finishing everything on your plate.  Think about those poor starving kids in Africa, or was it India?  I can never remember.  The only thing that I can remember was that you were supposed to keep stuffing yourself like a pig because someone else was starving on the other side of the world.  Now how does that make sense?

Stop eating when full

The answer is, it doesn’t make sense.  The point is that we’ve been trained to continue eating even after we’re full.  I’m advocating exactly the opposite.  As soon as you start to feel slightly full, stop eating.  You’re not hungry anymore, so you don’t need anymore food.  But what you are going to do with all the leftover food, you ask?  Well, you have a few options:

  1. You can throw the food away: Of course that would be a waste of perfectly good food and your mom would be upset.  So, that might not be the best choice.  But, at least you wouldn’t be damaging your health to assuage your guilt at having enough food to eat while others are starving.
  2. You can have it as leftovers: Pack up the remaining food and put it in your refrigerator and save it for another meal.  You can always eat it the next day for lunch.  This is especially good if you had a healthy meal.
  3. Eat it the same day as a snack: No, don’t go making it an additional snack during your day.  You’re trying to eat sensibly, remember?  But, if you normally have a snack later in the day and you could replace it with the leftovers without increasing your normal snack size or its nutritional benefit, then why not?  Just don’t ruin your health by eating more calories during the day than you would have otherwise.

Now that you’ve dealt with that extra food at the end of the meal, don’t you feel better?  What about those starving children, you ask?  If you’re still feeling guilty, instead of stuffing yourself to bursting when you go to a restaurant, try ordering less and take the money you saved by ordering less and send a donation to a charity that will feed them.  Besides, if you eat the rest of those fries, they won’t be any less hungry, but you will be less healthy.  And don’t worry, I won’t tell your mom that you’re “wasting” food.

Comments (5)

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  1. Blake says:

    Great post. “They won’t be any less hungry, but you will be less healthy.” Loved that part!

    When I go out I try make sure I have leftovers to take home. For some reason I just feel better when I get 2 meals for the price of one.

  2. Rosy says:

    Great post, Talli! I am a firm believer on eating slow. When I was really heavy, I would eat like I was racing someone! Now, I make sure to take my time and enjoy my food. And when I eat slowly, I do eat less. I usually take the rest home and eat if for lunch the next day. YUMMO!

  3. I have another theory about why we can’t stop eating… I think it actually goes back even further than our moms telling us to clean our plates. I think it went back to when we were true hunter/gatherers, and we would eat on avergage 200-300 cals a day for weeks on end, and then finally someone in our clan would kill a deer, and we’d all gorge ourselves on 40,000 calories.

    Humans have a unique ability to store massive amounts of extra fuel and still be mobile (where other mammals have to hibernate)…

    I think it’s the caveman inside of us…. if we see food we’re compelled down to our core to eat it.

    This is why I think this only works if you ask the server to bring out a doggy bag/box right away. And immediately put 1/2 to 3/4 of your food in the box.

    What’s left on your plate is probably still more than your really need.

    Anyway, great post!

  4. Emily says:

    Don’t forget another option: instead of throwing it away, give your leftover food to hungry critters outside! Since it’s not feasible to ship our extra food halfway across the world to children who need it, we can maybe help out the animals who live around us who are hungry. And if nobody eats it, at least it will help enrich the soil and give food to earthworms, who keep our soil healthy.

  5. Mariano says:

    Wow, this paragraph is good, my sister is analyzing such things, therefore I am going to convey her.

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