Were you told by your parents to eat everything on your plate? And to make you feel guiltier about it, they would even say, "Think of the farmers who have worked hard in raising and harvesting those foods for you."
Although your parents may have the best of intentions, eating everything on your plate is never a helpful lesson as it could hurt your weight-loss efforts. Because you only stop eating when the plate is empty, your brain never decides when you are actually full.
If you feel conflicted about "wasting food" on your plate, here are some tips to mentally beat the Clean the Plate mindset.
Take your time eating
Your brain takes about 20 minutes to receive the signal from your stomach that you are full. Remember to chew your food slowly until it is completely mashed before swallowing.
Recognize proper portions
Whether it is a family dinner with home-cooked meals or dining out in a restaurant, people serve more-than-enough food on the plate, even building skyscrapers out of pancakes or bacon. Having to eat all of it is simply a case of overeating and not about keeping any food from being wasted. You can opt for a smaller portion.
Save your leftovers
If you cannot help but keeping the food remaining on your plate, put it in the refrigerator, then reheat and eat it once you go hungry again. You can also mix-up leftovers into a whole new meal. For instance, add leftover veggies onto soups or on scrambled eggs for a quick omelet.
Divide your servings
If you are eating at a restaurant and the serving is more than your body could handle, divide your food in half (or thirds if the serving is too big for you). Ask the wait staff to have the remaining servings put in a box so you could take them home with you for another meal.