We all have childhood habits, some good and some not so good. We also know that most habits are hard to break, so my Mom used to say, don't start a bad habit if you can avoid it...so how to do so when it comes to eating habits? Luckily, I was never asked to clean my plate as a child, so it was easy for me to avoid the "clean plate syndrome" or habit because my Mom used to remind me to fill my dinner plate with only what I thought I could finish. She did not want food to be scraped and wasted into the garbage. (She preferred leftovers that she could use for lunch the next day.) As a grown up, I realized that my Mom taught me portion control. And now, I practice my version of this rule at home. Before I fill plates or have my kids fill their plates at dinner, I always ask them "How hungry are you? Please take only what you can eat, you can always have more if you are still hungry afterwards." I do not worry about my kids eating variable amounts at dinner because I realize that they are not always hungry. I am helping my children develop healthy eating habits by asking them to recognize their feelings of hunger and to practice portion control in response. I ask them to stop and think about their hunger before they fill their plates. I hope that this gives you food for thought :)
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