Friday, June 04, 2010

Clean your plate, or not. No big deal either way.

I was always a picky eater, and I never cleaned my plate. Because of this, I've never made my kid clean her plate. If she dishes the food onto it and she decides how much to get, then I do try to get her to finish it, but if she doesn't then she doesn't. Same with Tommy, although he's too young still for this to really apply to him. But I have seen parents force-feed the last of the baby food jar, or the last couple ounces of a bottle, to a kid so I guess it could.
People say they're opposed to "wasting" food, so they make their kids eat it. I've never understood that concept. Whether you feed it to the dog, the garbage disposal, the trash can, or a crying child, it's still wasted. The money has already been spent on it (it's not like you get a refund or rebate if it all gets eaten) and a certain amount of food has already been prepared. Throwing some down a trash chute or the throat of a kid who isn't hungry makes no difference, either way it cost the same and that money is gone. You can learn from it and not serve your kid as much in the future, or not, but the theory that food uneaten is wasted but food swallowed against someone's will isn't baffles me. I've heard parents use the "some kids don't have food" line to justify this. Do they really think those kids are somehow happier if excess food gets shoveled into someone who is already full than if it got thrown away? Does it make the starving kid less hungry if my kid gets made sick by it? And none of this even touches on the part where teaching kids NOT to stop eating when they get full contributes to obesity later, how linking uneaten food and guilt in a person's mind can lead to food issues later on. I'm just talking about the part where somehow it's wasteful to put food in the trash but not to put food in an unwilling child.

No comments: