My husband and I were both members of the 'clean plate club' growing up.
R got it at home with his Mom and Stepdad, I got it mostly at my grandparent's house.
All those starving children in China........never mind that the food would be molded and slimy if we had actually sent it to them. Just sayin'.
When we had kids, one of the things we adamantly agreed on is that we didn't want to install the same food issues we have on them. I, especially, wanted the kids to be able to eat when they were hungry and stop when they were full.
That went well for a while.
Eventually, we noticed that the kids would leave a pretty good amount of food untouched, but then be asking for dessert or snacks within minutes. Or - they would beg for snacks all day and then not eat meals and then ask for more snacks.
Umm, no. That's not going to work.
So, we started what we hoped was a gentle yet firm crackdown.
The basic food rules in our house are this:
Once you get up from the table, you are finished eating.
If something is served that you don't want to eat, your other option is anything you can fix yourself - once R and I have approved it. Ice cream does not fly as a meal replacement.
We are fine with not eating all of your dinner to save room for dessert (if we are even having dessert), but you have to eat a balanced meal.
If you want seconds, take what you want but eat what you take.
Leftovers are our friends, and we will see them again.
People? It's not working.
I'll go to throw away something in the trash can and see a banana with a couple bites taken out of it, an apple with only a bite or two taken, half a sandwich (never the chips, though - go figure)...and so forth.
At breakfast, it's not unusual for the kids to fill up the bowl with milk (to have a little cereal with their milk, I guess) and then pour 2/3 of the milk out after they 'finish' their cereal.
Did I mention we spend a fortune on food?
I don't want to teach them to over eat or to eat when they aren't hungry, but I'm SO not okay with blatantly wasting food. Any suggestions?