Eat. Train. Repeat. Fitness

Leave it on your plate

Don't feel obliged to finish everything on your plate. Do more than just overeating in the name of not wasting  

A lot of our rules and norms are from a different time and understandably, some are still applicable and some are not. One such rule we’ve been asked to abide by is “finish everything on your plate!” While still applicable today, this is from a time when food was available in just the right quantities. It was also from a time when food was cooked and not manufactured, when food only meant real wholesome food and not the nutritionally empty “junk food” we’re exposed to today and when food perished easily since storage and reuse were not as easy. 

Until today we still embrace this rule and that’s great. But are we doing it right? While the rule still applies to good home-cooked food, we have conveniently extended this to store-bought, nutrition-less foods that are engineered and manufactured in millions. That last bite of cake, that little gulp of milkshake, that last slice of pizza - How often do we finish up what is left on our plates even though we are already stuffed? 

Cakes, cookies, pizza and every other mass produced and boxed food you buy from a store or a restaurant are produced using machinery with the goal of producing as much as possible at the least cost and then selling it for most profit. While still food, it is produced in quantities that are much much more than is required. Thanks to the marketing side of things, this excess is smartly moved from factories to store shelves to your shelves. You’re tempted and told you need to buy more than necessary and you end up frequently seeing more food than you need on your plate. But when you reach a point where you feel full, you feel compelled to keep going and finish everything on your plate. How is this helping you or anyone? Does pushing that extra food down your gut do anyone any more favours than throwing it into the trash or giving it away? 

I’m not suggesting you stop eating half way, disrespect food and throw away whatever is left over. I’m suggesting you tackle the problem differently and smartly. I’m saying do more than just overeating in the name of not wasting. 

1. Firstly, stop feeling compelled to finish everything on your plate. I understand world hunger real well. But here is some truth - no good comes from you eating more than you need. No lives are saved from your fatness. It’s quite the opposite, actually. 

2. Choose better. The smarter way to not waste food is to choose better both with respect to 'what' and 'how much'. In other words, don’t fill up your plate. Take what you need. Finish it. Chill for a couple of minutes. If you still need more, go get more, just a little more. 

3. Do better. Don’t overeat and don’t throw food away either. But choose better, preserve the extra food and give it away to someone who needs it. 

Always remember - be it in your trash or in your gut, food is too powerful and precious to be wasted. Use it wisely. 

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 12:21:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fitness/leave-it-on-your-plate/article6275273.ece

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