Awesome winter gifs… wish I had the source?
Saying Good Riddance to the Clean-Plate Club
By Maryann Jacobsen
Dear Camp Counselor,
Thanks for making camp a fun experience for my daughter. When it comes to her lunch and snack, please allow her to decide when she is done eating and to eat her food in any order she likes. Thanks!
This is the note I include in my 6-year-old daughter’s lunch box when she spends the day at summer camp. I know from experience that she is often asked to eat more than she wants, or is instructed to eat her “healthy foods first” when others supervise her eating.
As a family nutrition expert, I don’t make my children eat more when they say they are done, and there is no order in which they must eat their food. But when I go to birthday parties and observe other families in restaurants, I can see I am in the minority. There was the 4-year-old boy at a Mexican restaurant who declared he was full, only to have his mom instruct him to finish his taquito, and the 6-year-old at the party who was told to finish her broccoli and ended up throwing it up at the table. Then there are the parents who tell me their toddlers beam with pride after finishing all their food, because they learned at day care that an empty plate is a “happy plate.”
Research tells a similar story. A 2007 study, published in Appetite, revealed that 85 percent of parents attempt to get young children to eat more at mealtime using praise, food rewards and reasoning. Another study, published in Pediatrics this May, showed that more than half of parents asked their adolescent children to eat all the food on their plate, while a third prompted their kids to eat more even when they stated they were full.
This isn’t about pointing fingers at parents. After all, getting children to eat all of their meal was a necessity for most of human history, when food was scarce. Children didn’t have the luxury of taking only a few bites or skipping a meal, because the next meal wasn’t certain. But today, we live in a food-plenty environment in which the next meal, snack and eating opportunity is certain and bigger than ever. Despite this reality, children are still born with the ability to regulate their food intake. Unfortunately, research shows controlling feeding practices, like “clean your plate,” negatively affect food regulation skills as children age.
Leann Birch, director of the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Penn State, first examined the effects of “clean your plate” in 1987. She found that preschoolers asked to focus on external signals of eating (like food on the plate) ate more food after a high-calorie meal than the children focused on internal cues. In 2008, Brian Wansink, author of “Mindless Eating,” found that boys required to clean their plates also asked for large portions of food outside the home. And in a 1999 study, obese adults remembered more food rules growing up than their leaner counterparts, with “clean your plate” being the most common. Of course, none of these studies prove cause and effect, but they are significant nonetheless.
Pushing food is not always about getting children to eat more — it’s also about the quest to get them to eat healthy. For example, caregivers may insist children eat fruits and veggies before other items, or reward children with dessert for eating more healthy food. Unfortunately, this strategy makes children less likely to (intrinsically) prefer healthy foods while making sweets even more desirable. And with all the negotiations at the table, children lose sight of their internal signals of hunger and fullness. By the time they are adults, the “shoulds” of eating rule over their body’s own wisdom and they don’t even know what being “full” means.
The good news is that we are starting to see research showing that approaches that focus on internal cues of eating have real benefits. For example, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that young adults who used hunger and fullness to guide eating not only had a lower body mass index than those who didn’t, they also had lower instances of disordered eating. The girls were also less likely to diet and binge-eat. In the latest edition of “Intuitive Eating,” the authors Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch highlight 25 studies to date touting the benefits of an intuitive eating style.
So I’m saying what we don’t say often enough in the age of obesity statistics. It’s time to say good riddance to the clean-your-plate club and other practices like it. A “happy plate” is one in front of a child who’s permitted to listen to her body, not our out-of-date “rules.”
After decades of promises from the biotech industry that genetically engineered (GE) food would feed the world, cure the sick, reduce agricultural dependence on toxic chemicals, and save countless crops from imminent collapse, industry is poised to finally release a product they think will solve a problem humans have struggled with for centuries… an apple that doesn’t brown when you slice it… Seriously; we couldn’t make this stuff up.
Tell USDA to Reject this GE Apple! Comments are due December 9th, so please sign the petition today: Take Action
Please write your senators immediately and tell them to stop Sen. Durbin’s attacks on your right to use supplements! We need our access to nutritional supplements to be protected. Please write your senators today!
Gorgeous Autumn pics. I wish I could credit them. Please leave credits or put credits when posting!
I’ve lectured on this subject a number of times, and invariably the audience groans when they find out that vegetables, fruits, yogurt, eggs and the living cells in raw meat are all “screaming” when they are cooked and/or eaten. Even hard-core vegan/vegetarian/raw foodists who consider themselves to be on a “cruelty-free” diet are now faced with the fact that the food they eat must go through measurable distress—at least from a human’s perspective. Even if you do not cook your vegetables, your digestive activity still has a “burning” effect. [Dr. Cleve] Backster did tell me that if you “pray” over your food, by sending positive, loving thoughts, it then seems to accept its role in helping you stay alive—and these severe reactions no longer occur. Many cultures and spiritual traditions encourage us to “thank our food.” With Backster’s research we now see that this seemingly unimportant behaviour—from a scientific standpoint—has a definite purpose.
Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.
At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’
At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’
At the third gate ask ‘Is it kind?’
~Sufi saying (via shellfoo)
This day will never come again and anyone who fails to eat and drink and taste and smell it will never have it offered to him again in all eternity. The sun will never shine as it does today…But you must play your part and sing a song, one of your best.
Herman Hesse (via shellfoo)