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Kids no longer taught to clean their plates?

(302 Posts)
user1489670695 Thu 16-Mar-17 13:50:39

It's March break, and I've had a couple of my kids' friends over on and off for meals. (ages 11 and 14)

I've noticed they all seem to serve themselves larger portions than they can actually eat (none of that "plating" nonsense in my house!!), so there's a lot of waste food on their plates. I'd noticed that before too, whenever we had kid guests. Lots of uneaten food on their plates. It doubly annoys me as money is tight, I'm a single mom, shopping for and carrying groceries is hard work, etc etc.

There's not much I guess I can do about it (I compost, so that's a bit better than just trashing it)- but just wanted to rant, and ask if you teach your kids to not waste food?

I was raised up to be very conscientious about wasting food and I always nag at my own kids about serving themselves as much as they can eat and eating it all up. I would have thought, in this day and age, with all the stuff about environment and waste and so on, kids would have been taught to be even more careful with wasting food. But apparently not.

namechange20050 Thu 16-Mar-17 13:52:31

Maybe you should have tried that 'plating nonsense' (?!) and then there wouldn't have been so much wasted food?

Ricekrispiesquare Thu 16-Mar-17 13:52:53

No, I do not make my kids clear their plate and my parents never made me either.

If they are not hungry and they do not enjoy what is on their plate I am not going to force them to eat it as I think it is cruel

specialsubject Thu 16-Mar-17 13:53:32

teach or tell not to take too much. Not wasting food is a basic life skill.

as they don't have it, supervise.

HarryPottersMagicWand Thu 16-Mar-17 13:54:01

In this day and age, with the obesity crisis, it is important that children learn not to continue putting food in their stomachs when they are full. That's a more important message.

How about you just dish it up and stop thinking of it as 'nonsense'. How ridiculous.

TheProblemOfSusan Thu 16-Mar-17 13:54:30

I was always made to clear my plate and it was torturous. But I sympathise - I think plating up small portions then seconds offered round might be the way to go here.

megletthesecond Thu 16-Mar-17 13:54:32

My parents never made me clear my plate, I was born in the 70's. I wouldn't expect my dc's to do it either.

Hiphopopotamus Thu 16-Mar-17 13:54:32

Why is forcing kids to eat beyond what they want until they feel sick, less 'wasteful' than them leaving it?

RockyBird Thu 16-Mar-17 13:55:12

Eating when not hungry is why so many people are fat.

Mari50 Thu 16-Mar-17 13:55:22

Well if you aren't going to entertain 'plating nonsense' then short of telling them to put less on their plates there's nowt you can do- except moan about it on the internet.

Maybe try the plate thing. Kids will generally give themselves extra if they are used to having it plated for them.

I disagree with finishing your plate though but this is an issue I have from childhood that still affects me today (28). I now do not like eating in front of people I don't know and I also do not eat at places like work meetings as I never know if I will like it or not and get the fear of being forced to finish a plate of food I don't like.

user1489670695 Thu 16-Mar-17 13:55:54

How would plating reduce waste? Surely the whole point of letting them serve themselves is to let them serve as much as they can eat? If they are confronted with a plate of pre-served food, then it would be understandable if they couldn't eat it all.

@Rice- of course I don't force them- how can you force anybody to eat what they don't want? I meant that wasting food was disapproved of when I was growing up, (nobody would force it down my throat, obvs.), and I've carried on that same sensibility.

Gowgirl Thu 16-Mar-17 13:56:26

My kids get an appropriate plate of dinner, if hungry they can have more but I never make them clear the plate, that's eating for the sake of it and not right.
No dinner, fine nothing till breakfast then.

MiddleClassProblem Thu 16-Mar-17 13:56:50


If you have that much of a problem with it then why wouldn't you serve it up for them? YABU for having kids over then moaning about them doing something because the way to prevent it is nonsense to you but it's getting at you so much yet you want resolve it

FeelingSmurfy Thu 16-Mar-17 13:57:26

I think that the problem is most children will be given their food already plated, so they aren't aware of how much food to serve themselves when they encounter it at your house. I would just give them the meals plated or give them smaller plates so that they can't put as much out, and let them go for seconds if they are still hungry

Knifegrinder Thu 16-Mar-17 13:57:37

I appreciate you need to be careful about food because of your circumstances, and of course food wastage is a bad thing, but I think that a blanket message of 'clear your plate' is a terrible one. Children are not good at assessing what their appetite translates into in terms of actual food set in front of them, anyway, and in a strange house, they don't know whether the food is going to be good or not, or whether it's possible to have seconds if needed. Why not serve them what you can afford to serve as a portion, if things are really that tight? Or serve something cheaper? We lived on lentils in my student days.

MiddleClassProblem Thu 16-Mar-17 13:57:53

You plate up smaller portion and they can have more if they finish and are still hungry... that's how it saves in waste. Not rocket science.

dementedpixie Thu 16-Mar-17 13:58:22

If they are not used to serving themselves then they will maybe overload their plate without realising they are not going to eat it all. If you serve a small portion onto a plate then they can have extra if they finish it. That way you don't have to moan about them wasting your food!

Wolfiefan Thu 16-Mar-17 13:58:45

Plate what you think is enough (or a bit less) then allow them to take extra if they finish. Don't understand the angst. confused

flibflob Thu 16-Mar-17 13:59:05

I think self-service only works if everyone has a good sense of portion control - clearly your kids' friends don't. As PPs suggest, try playing smaller portions and letting them have seconds if hungry.

mrsm43s Thu 16-Mar-17 13:59:10

I don't think children should be made to clear their plates, it's not healthy to continue eating once full.

However, perhaps they are not great at judging portions. You can help with this by either plating up in the kitchen for themsmile, by serving them at the table, or by pre-portioning out the item to be served i.e mark out or cut the lasagne/shep pie into potion sized squares in the dish/cut the pizza/quiche/pie into slices.

One thing I do say with my children is that they have to finish whats on their plate before helping themselves to more. So if it's lasagne and veg for eg, they don't get to have another portion of lasagne if there's still veg on their plate to be eaten.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Thu 16-Mar-17 13:59:18

It's quite simple - dish up small portions, and tell them they can have more IF they're going to eat it.
I HATE seeing food wasted.

BarbarianMum Thu 16-Mar-17 14:00:48

Playing works because you serve a small amount of everything and then they ask for more if they want it. It takes quite a bit of experience to know how much to put on your plate and most kids don't have that, hence phrases like "eyes bigger than stomach".

user1489670695 Thu 16-Mar-17 14:01:02

I simply cannot see how "plating" would resolve it? They are not little - as I mentioned 11 and 14- when they were younger I would "plate"- and still be confronted with waste food. I would serve small portions, be asked for seconds, and then have waste food at seconds!

the obesity crisis comes more from the cheap availability of processed, high sugar food than been taught to serve yourself and eat accordingly!

BarbarianMum Thu 16-Mar-17 14:01:18

FFS plating

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