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Dutchess_III's avatar

When eating, do you always clean your plate, or is there always something left?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42844points) July 4th, 2011

I almost never clean my plate. I have to be exceedingly hungry, like I hadn’t eaten all day and it’s 8:00 at night, for me to actually clean my plate. I just quit eating when I’m not hungry any more. At home I always have a little left over. At restaurants I always have a LOT left over. About half my meal.

If you almost always clean your plate, do you know why?

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59 Answers

Aster's avatar

I don’t have any plans to “clean it.” I had enough to eat growing up. Anything left over, which is often, the dogs eat. lol

laureth's avatar

It depends on many factors, including hunger level, what the food is, if I like it, and sometimes even how expensive it was. I hate to say that I “always” do anything. There’s a lot of grey area.

I will say, though, that I grew up poor and on food stamps. If I wasted food (by not eating it), there was a very good chance that it meant less food later in the month, since that money was already spent. So I learned to eat everything, shut up, and like it that way.

zenvelo's avatar

I almost always clean my plate. I think it’s a carryover from my family of origin, in that we were expected to eat everything.

It’s been a mild question between my girlfriend and me as I am about 20 lbs overweight. She occasionally mentions that I don’t have to eat everything when we get a huge portion when out to dinner.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Dogs loved my leftover BLT (with no L or T) this morning!

@laureth I guess it wouldn’t matter how expensive it was. I just literally can’t eat after I’m full. It makes me sick. Also, I meant most of the time.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I eat til I’ve had enough. Then I stop. If there’s food still on the plate so be it.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, it depends.
Spaghetti, Lasagne, certain things I can eat till I am stuffed, Thanksgiving dinner is one too.

Right now it is soooo HOT, my appetite is low, had a deviled egg for breakfast. Craving fruit right now.

Usually though I joke about my hearty appetite, that I have to be REALLY sick to ‘go off my feed.’ lol

Coloma's avatar

Oh! Fresh white sweet corn on the cob!
I can polish off about 5 ears all by my lonesome.

Step away from my corn! :-p

Dutchess_III's avatar

I used to be able to eat like that at will. Not any more. I take one extra bite too many and I start gagging! Not cool in a restaurant so I do NOT take that one extra bite! Although (and I just thought of this) at breakfast during the week I can scarf down an egg McMuffin, a sausage and cheese biscuit and two hash browns and still feel hungry. I can’t do that at any other breakfast. How odd is that.?

arches140's avatar

For a long time I always had lots of food left over after I felt full, and then it dawned on me to just take/make/ask for smaller portions when I ate. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that that was all I needed to do, but now I’m able to eat everything on my plate. Funny thing is, all my friends are astonished when they see my plate empty—but they never pay attention to how much less I take in the first place.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@arches140 That’s a good point. When we go out to breakfast I’ve learned to order just two eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, 2 pieces of toast and a small glass of milk. Perfect for me. They bring my little plate out and some people do a double take. They’re so used to heaping, plate covering portions.

Crazy thing is, my order ends up costing MORE than if I’d ordered all of that and waffle.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I eat everything on my plate, and then I wash it. So I clean my plate twice at every meal. That’s how I grew up: you ate what you took. I’ve also been doing dishes since I was 11, so I guess that’s another old habit.

Cruiser's avatar

I only serve myself what I know I will eat.

rooeytoo's avatar

When eating in a restaurant, there is almost always something left on my plate. Why do they serve such huge portions??? (My secret is though to always carry a zip lock plastic bag in my pocket, then I pop the meaty leftovers in it and the dogs have a treat too when I get home.)

At home, my mom always said only take small portions, if you want more after you finish that, you may have it. She was a child of the Great Depression and was loathe to waste any little bit of food. So that’s what I do and my plate is always cleaned when eating at home!

Berserker's avatar

I usually eat everything on the plate. Sometimes I even eat part of the plate…

MilkyWay's avatar

I finish everything on my plate. Period.

Coloma's avatar

China or paper? Don’t forget to floss, those paper plates really stick between your teeth. LOL

SABOTEUR's avatar

Are you kidding?

My grandmother used to make me sit at the table for ETERNITY until
of food

Mom Ag didn’t play when it came to throwing away food.

She always said it was better to put a small portion on your plate and go back for more than to overload your plate and then throw it away.

Then there’s the Navy…the cure for picky eaters.
Missed one meal in boot camp because I didn’t want to eat what was being served.
Didn’t eat again for 12 hours.
Didn’t miss another meal after that.

So yeah…I eat every damn thing on my plate.
But I never get more than I can finish eating.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SABOTEUR I never made my kids eat if they didn’t want to. One time I had reason to leave my son, then 3, with a babysitter for a day. She was an older lady. One evening after that I was dishing up the kid’s dinner. I got to the green beans and my son held up his hand and said, “Don’t even menshun green beanth!” (He had the cutest lisp!!)
I said, “What? Why? You like green beans!”
He then told me that that babysitter had made him sit at the lunch table for hours until he ate his green beans. Well, he never did. He was allowed to come away only when his dad came to pick him up around 5:00.
It was years before he’d eat green beans again.
Needless to say, I never used THAT woman as a care provider for my kids.
And that’s right where eating issues begin, with shite like that.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Dutchess_III You wouldn’t like my grandmother then.

And for what it’s worth, my wife and I don’t make our kids eat everything either.
But I do get miffed whenever I see them throwing away food.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

There’s usually something leftover if I eat at home because I know exactly how much of any food is enough for me but at restaurants, I can make 2–3 meals from most any entree.

ucme's avatar

I only know i’m finished eating when i’m picking bits of plate outta me gob.
It’s all gravy :¬)

bob_'s avatar

It all gets eaten.

Brian1946's avatar

I eat everything on my tectonic plate- my appetite is seismic! ;-)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Dad ‘encouraged’ us to belong to The Clean Plate Club. That meant spending years watching an older sister be required to sit at table until she finished her vegetables, which she loathed. We were also the children of Depression Era parents.

It was liberating to become an adult and not have anyone telling me to clean my plate. On the flip side, I appreciate the education at a young age on the importance of eating well-balanced meals. Today, I either serve myself small portions, or stop when I am full. A key factor was learning not to wolf down food.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My parents came through the depression too. They never made us clean our plates.

You’re supposed to say why, @bob_.

bob_'s avatar

Oh, my bad.

I’m just hungry.

Dutchess_III's avatar

O. Well. I have some lemon cake here if you want some! : )

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have more than one piece @MilkyWay!

SABOTEUR's avatar


re: And that’s right where eating issues begin, with shite like that.

You’re probably right about that. The first two experiences affected me a lot, but returning to live with my Mom after my wife left and I left the service really impacted my eating habits. Didn’t have a job for a while and Mom had been accustomed to buying just enough food to feed herself, so my being there certainly strained her budget. She never said anything about it, but I was always very conscious not to eat any more than I absolutely had to.

I think the effect of all that resulted in me continuing to eat very little today (Mom). I’m never particular about what I eat (Navy influence) and I eat whatever is cooked or is put before me (Grandma).

In fact, I don’t like to make food decisions of any kind now. I’ve developed a “menu phobia”. Restaurant menus drive me crazy…too many choices. I won’t even look at a McDonald’s menu.

Too confusing.

So if I go to a restaurant, I order the same thing every time (if it’s a familiar restaurant) or the simplest thing on the menu.

bob_'s avatar

@Dutchess_III What kind of lemon cake?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Um….lemon creme cake, bob. It’s really GOOD! I just ate a piece.

flutherother's avatar

I very rarely leave anything on my plate. As children we were told we shouldn’t waste food and I am stuck with the habit.

Coloma's avatar


Did you say lemon cake! OMG!
I love, love, love, worship, lemon everything!
Lemon cake, lemon muffins, lemon cheesecake, lemon sorbet, lemon yogurt, lemonade. Mikes HARD lemonade… that sinks it, wheres my sundress, Mikes Hard lemonade in the cold tub this afternoon, going, going, going gone!

Aethelwine's avatar

I’m the same as @arches140 and @Cruiser, I only take what I know I will eat. If I want more, I go back for seconds. I was always taught to not waste food. You eat what you take, and you ask for small portions.

Plucky's avatar

Yes, I usually finish what’s on my plate at home. I rarely take more than I can eat. If I can not finish, I put the rest away (for leftovers). I’m amazed at how many people throw their leftovers in the garbage. The only time I can make myself throw out leftovers is when the taste is horrendous and my dog can’t eat it.

At restaurants, I tend to have a quite a bit left over. I take the leftovers home and stick them in the fridge.

As a child, I was forced to sit and eat everything that was placed in front of me. The rule was that you could have nothing else until you ate that meal ..this meant it was served every meal afterwards until I finished (no heating or condiments allowed at that point either). I was taught not to waste food. Sometimes our dogs and cats would get scraps from the whole meal (like the fat from pork chops or things that would not sit well over night – unless those things were leftover on my plate).

Dutchess_III's avatar

OGM! We’re being attacked by by Forest Gump Shrimp People! @Coloma is pratting on about lemons and Plucky Dog is over yonder pratting on about puzzles “I like jigsaw puzzles, sliding block puzzles, sudoku, tetris, rubik’s cube, crossword (and other word puzzles), disentanglement puzzles, mazes, puzzle boxes, puzzle blocks….” —O, Hi Plucky Dog! I just saw you up there!

O noes. I’m surrounded!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jonsblond I agree. You learn to be careful about how much you take. It frustrates me when parents pile their kid’s plate high with food then yell at them to eat it all.

Plucky's avatar

@Dutchess_III Lol ..puzzles puzzles puzzles! You want a puzzle? I gots puzzles!

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

I ALWAYS CLEAN MY PLATE. But at restaurants it gets pretty hard to do so. If its KFC then the plate will be clean.

Coloma's avatar


I’m the queen of rambling on, that free association thing….I’d be great with the ink blots, they wouldn’t know WHAT to do with me! LOL

Hey, true cleaning your plate story.

A few years ago I woke up at 3am to suspicious sounds in my dining room, 4 raccoons came in the cat door and were all wolfing down a lemon bundt cake on my table. I’m the wildlife party house! :-D

Damn them all, lemon rabies cake had to be tossed.

Plucky's avatar

Oh, and if it has cheese in it ..I’ll most likely eat all of it. Even if I’m keeled over in pain afterwards. I like nachos with cheese, pizza with cheese, batter filled with cheese, jalapenos smothered in cheese, broccoli with cheese, buns with cheese, cheese and crackers, cheesecake, slices of cheese, grilled cheese… @Dutchess_III gets my point ;).

Coloma's avatar


Oh yeah, cheese-a-holic here too.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@PluckyDog OH NO!!!!! You guys quit that!!! : )

@Coloma…did you name the racoons?

@nailpolishfanatic…you’re supposed to tell us why you always clean your plate.

Coloma's avatar

Of course, it’s ‘mama’ coon and her kid coons, haha
She has been around here for 5 years now, and every summer she brings her babies to search for bundt cake and cat food in my kitchen.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! That is great @Coloma @Coloma!!

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@Dutchess_III Oh stupid me… forgot that part. Because I was pretty much raised so, not to spoil food, but then again I just LOVE food.

Dutchess_III's avatar

O. Hm. Well, if I had food that wasn’t getting eaten, I’d quit making so much! If I had a kid who didn’t like spaghetti, I’d only fix enough for those who did. That kid could just make do with a PF&J that he made himself.

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III @Dutchess_III @Dutchess_III LOL

What the heck is “PF&J”?

Brian1946's avatar

@Coloma “What the heck is ‘PF&J’?”

My guess is that it’s a typo for Peanut Butter & Jelly.

Coloma's avatar


Oooh, maybe, typo.

It COULD be Peanut butter, fettucini and jelly, or Peanut butter Figs and jelly, or, or, Peanut Butter and Fajitas and jelly…no accounting for some tastes. haha

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sheesh. You guys don’t know anything. It’s a peanut butter, fried onions and jelly sandwich. That’s what picky eaters get to eat around MY house! Whew! think they’ll think I really did that on purpose??

Brian1946's avatar

I think Peanut Fluthers & Jellies are the favorite foods of the Thai sea turtle.

JLeslie's avatar

At home I generally clean my plate, but I only take what I think I will eat. At restaurants I usually have leftovers. Growing up my mom hated waste, so we took a small portion, and then if we were still hungry we took seconds. We were never forced to clean our plates ever as children. For the most part I think it borders on abuse. Being force fed is disgusting. I understand some children are testing their parents or being stubborn, but hear too many stories of kids truly hating a particular food and having to swallow it, sitting at a table for hours. That would have been torture for me when I was young. I would have hated my parents beyond belief and probably never have forgiven them for it. I have a very strong gag reflex, and am phobic about gagging and throwing up, and one morsel too much and I felt nauseas, and would be freaked! Making me eat something I hated when I was little was on the level of threatening to push pins in the bottom of my feet.

People dismiss people like me who are afraid of throwing up, who cannot swallow pills easily, who need to leave the three bites on their plate, as being dramatic, or that it is all psychological, but it isn’t. We actually anatomically have a stronger gag reflux, I probably have more taste buds than average, so flavors are more intense (in fact children have many more than adults, and that is part of the reason they typically don’t like strong tasing foods) so it is a real thing.

As I have become older, I can eat more, unfortunately, but I still never want to eat so much I feel sick, or ever want to eat anything that tastes disgusting.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I rarely clear my plate. I often have “eyes bigger than belly” syndrome!

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I’m rather partial to eating the plate. The whole plate.

mattbrowne's avatar

At home I put valuable leftovers back into the fridge. At our company cafeteria I often get more carbohydrates than I want. But I usually finish all my meat, fish, vegetables and salad.

downtide's avatar

I usually eat everything but then again I don’t overfill the plate and I don’t force myself to finish it if I’m not hungry.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Brian1946 Peanut Fluther and Jellies! Most Excellent, Dude!

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