There is an age old dilemma for many families and cultures. Picture yourself enjoying a nice dinner with your favorite foods. You start to notice that you are feeling more full with each bite and have the physical sensation of a packed stomach. You look down at your plate and see that you still have that half a piece of chicken left with some rice on the side. There is only a little bit left you think to yourself - can I just fit it in?
This is where most people fall into the trap of believing they must eat everything off their plate! Whether you learned from your parents to “clean your plate” or feel a moral obligation to finish your food - this is a very real problem that can lead to overeating.
Now I speak about this because I am well aware of this feeling. I have both of these sentiments in my head telling me that if I don’t finish the food on my plate I’m throwing money in the garbage. I’m also pushed with the thought of millions of people in the world who are starving and can’t afford or have food available to them multiple times throughout the day! This leads to feeling guilty that I have this delicious food in front of me - and opt to finish it off my plate to rid myself of that guilt for wastefulness.
We’ve all been in this spot where we feel the urge to finish the rest of the plate but find ourselves over stuffed after we finish. We don’t feel guilty for wasting food however we do feel lethargic and bloated. We’ve told our bodies that our hunger and fullness isn’t priority but rather the moral and financial obligation of food is priority. I’m not saying there is anything inherently wrong with finishing your plate - but that there is a mind game that we play with ourselves that leads us down a path of calorie surplus - and weight gain!
What exactly can we do to try and mitigate this? Here are a few tips you can use to help you work around this!
Make a well balanced meal- This works better when you are cooking and making your own plate at home. Be sure to fill your plate with a protein, vegetables, carbohydrates, and fat. If you have a well balanced plate you will be more likely to eat better options but also maintain a caloric number that is closer to your daily recommended. Vegetables and fat more satiating.
Eat mindfully - This is a common trend for us here at Forever Fit. We believe that a mindful approach to eating will lead you to better understand how much food it takes to fill you up at your current hunger level. For example , try to rank your hunger level on a 1-10 scale prior to starting to eat a meal. The more hungry you are - the more likely you are to want to put more food on your plate because “your eyes are bigger than your stomach”. Be realistic and only put food that you know you can finish comfortably to avoid the dreaded dilemma of food waste.
Be okay with throwing food away - Sometimes food must be thrown away - those extra desserts from Thanksgiving will do more harm than good if you decide to eat it for the sole purpose of preventing food waste. Once you accept that sometimes it's better to throw food away - you will feel the freedom to stop eating when you are full and to learn better for the next time you eat that meal, how filling that is!
Save leftovers! - If you find yourself facing that last half eaten piece of chicken - why not store that in a container and have it at another time? If it’s a small amount it can be used as a snack for the following day. Invest in some Tupperware and have storage techniques ready to go when you are debating on finishing that plate. Know that you can always save it and have it another day!
Try these tips next time you feel yourself feeling guilty about finishing your plate. These will help you gain control over your plate but also your mindset when it comes to eating. Your eating habits should reflect your goals. Remember that your nutrition habits are always in a state of evolving and learning. As you become a master at your hunger and satiety levels - you will find yourself putting the right amount of food on your plate to avoid our inner mantras of “clean that plate” and “don't waste food!”