Are You a Clean Plate Club Member?

BG-emptyplateAre you a member of the clean plate club? Did your parents encourage you to eat everything on your plate?

Growing up, my sisters and I had to finish everything on our dinner plates to be excused. It could be a long sit at the dinner table if you didn’t like the food that was served! Sound familiar? Well guess what, a new Cornell University study shows that the average adult eats 92% of whatever he or she puts on his/her plate. The study authors analyzed 1179 diners in eight developed countries, including the U.S. and Canada, and concluded that we’re a Clean Plate Planet! If we serve it, we’ll eat it, regardless of gender or nationality. Part of the reason we finish what is on our plate is that we know about how much we normally eat and serve ourselves accordingly.

Interestingly, the finding was very different with children. Analysis of 326 participants under 18 years old showed that the average child eats only 59% of what he or she serves. Perhaps they are less sure whether or not they will like a specific food. Or maybe they just lose interest in the activity of eating. I have seen that happen many times! Or they stop eating when they get full? Hard to say.

What can we learn from this study? When you serve yourself, be more mindful of appropriate portion size as you are very likely to finish everything on your plate! Remember, if you are still hungry, you can go back for seconds!

I am curious, what do you do when you go out to eat and you are being served by someone else? I like to share plates; but sometimes I am not with people that want to share! Would love to hear your strategies!

Cornell Food & Brand Lab. “The 92 percent clean plate club: You’re not alone in eating everything on your plate.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2014. <>.

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