I’ve been thinking a lot about the instruction I received from my parents in childhood of “cleaning your plate”. I grew up in a family of very modest means. Like many other parents in our economic situation, my parents did not want to waste a morsel of food. They didn’t like leftovers (in fact, I can’t remember even once seeing leftovers in the fridge). I believe my parents felt that leftovers were not fresh a day or two later and they had such pride about the family meal that serving leftovers was unacceptable. Additionally, with 11 mouths to feed, my parents always seemed to worry about having enough to go around. And, they always made twice as much food as needed, and I grew to realize they prepared double food because our culture was one where people were always dropping by at the last minute for dinner, so we needed to have enough for an unexpected guest.
Fast forward to today, I became one of those adults who tended to continue to eat everything on my plate. It seemed wrong not to do so. It never feels good to me to leave food behind that will get tossed out, especially when hunger is a real problem in America and all over the world. But as I’ve matured, I’ve realized it’s not good for weight management to always eat everything served. It’s also important to have some consciousness about food resources (“waste not, want not”). Unlike my parents, if I make a little too much food, I try to repurpose it for another recipe. It’s still fresh to me if you use it within a couple of days.
Looking at this image, #5 caught my attention….consider this: “Serve Just Enough”.
Over the last few years, I’ve been checking my impulses and being more conscious of preparing, serving and eating an appropriate amount of food. I make a little extra, a ‘safety’ amount extra. It takes a little practice to get the hang of this and not go into automatic pilot with large portions. In many ways, we live in a culture that promotes ‘excess’, so making this change to serving ‘enough’ but ‘not too much’ food might feel weird at first. But stick with it. You’ll get a payoff of feeling like you are following common sense. And that feels really good.
Join me in taking a moment to think about our food resources with respect, care, and sensibility.
Please share with me any experience you have on this topic. I’d love to hear your thoughts!