Monday, October 27, 2008

Clean Your Plate Club Members Eat 35% More!

Mindless Eating's and USDA's Brian Wansink, one of my favourite researchers, has released some preliminary results from a study he's been working on.

He's been looking at kids who belong to the so-called Clean Your Plate Club and has found that preschool aged members ate 35% more fruit loops than non-club members when given an unlimited portion.

35% more is a lot!

Think maybe the Clean Your Plate Club might play a role in childhood obesity?

The study will be published down the road in the journal Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

His advice?

Same as mine. If your kids aren't cleaning their plates perhaps you ought to be offering them smaller portions, or better yet - ensure your child tastes all the foods you offer and then allow them to determine how much they want.

Disband the Clean Your Plate Club!!!

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  1. AMEN! Parents of the "Clean Your Plate Club" should be subjected to having someone prepare THEIR plates with enormous portions and forced to clean their plate. Being a FORMER member of this club; I have since apologized to my children (now 12 & 10) and informed them that they are to choose smaller portions and STOP eating when they are full. It started with food being throw away form their plates, however, over time the adjusts have been made and they are portioning less food and not throwing away food. In addition they concept of cooking changed to cook less food than before as well.

  2. Anonymous2:26 pm

    It goes without saying that as parents we have to use sound, educated judgement when it comes to portion size and what our kids eat. Kids will hold out on eating much dinner when they know a dessert is coming. How does a parent determine portion size, for lets say, a five year old, who's slim, but who's appetite varies daily?


  3. Great question Jill.

    My answer's simple too.

    Let them eat less.

    Emotionally well adjusted kids won't let themselves starve. There are days when my kids eat almost nothing for dinner while others they'll have seconds and thirds.

    Regarding dessert - it's rare in our home, but even on nights that we have it, if our kids don't want to finish what's on their plates before dessert, they're still allowed to have some.

  4. Anonymous2:51 pm

    Its interesting that you say let them feed themselves. I think most people let babies and toddlers dictate how much they eat, but at some point, most parents sign up for the 'clean your plate' club. Makes one wonder where it comes from.... Thanks for the wake up call!


  5. I was a member of that club as a child. I went to a private school that served hot lunches, and we weren't allowed to leave the table until our plates were clean. In fact we were told to eat what we didn't like first, so we would eat all of the last thing left on the plate: what we liked. I don't know how many times at home and at school I heard "you have to eat everything on your plate because there are children starving to death in ....." I always wondered how my eating everything affected starving children in other countries.
    Even now, I rarely leave food on my plate, which is a big problem given some restaurant portions. However, if I eat mindfully, I realise that I don't have to clean my plate!! The eating habits we learn as kids stay with us for life!