Clean Plate Club

Tonight’s dinner discussion featured the Clean Plate Club, meaning parents would make kids eat everything served on their plates. One of us grew up in in the Clean Plate Club, and the other did not. Even thought neither one of us is advocating that now, one of us said that it decreases “picky eaters.” The other one of us disagrees. So GoA poll time.

  • Clean Plate Club decreases picky eating.
  • Clean Plate Club increases picky eating.
  • Clean Plate Club has no influence on variety of food preferences.
  • 42 clean/dirty plates

0 voters

There’s a lot of evidence that repeatedly making your kids taste novel foods is a way to decrease picky eating. But that’s quite different from forcing them to eat everything on their plate. That’s typically more about quantity than about variety.


I still hate peas because of the clean plate club, the only way I could leave the table was to finish, meaning I swallowed my peas with milk like pills to get it over with :face_vomiting:

My kids had to try everything, but didn’t have to finish anything.

I don’t think either way creates picky eaters, but one way definitely results in less tears.


That was my rule. Two bites. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to finish it.

Also used to play with them: You can eat any of the green beans, but don’t eat these two, those are mine. Hey! You’re eating mine! [giggles] By the time they figured out the game, they liked a variety of veggies. :woman_shrugging:


My kids had to eat a “no thank you helping”, which was a bite or two, of everything we served. Except when they were five. Five year olds are picky eaters and get to reject anything they want. But they grow out of it when they turn six.

By the time they were ten or so we let them actually reject foods. But neither of them is nearly as picky an eater as either of their parents, so I feel we were successful.


I miss the Womanspeak Translation thread. :anguished:


Daniel Tiger has a lot of wisdom.

My grandma had a house rule that we kids could help ourselves to as much (or as little) of the food as we wanted, but we had to finish whatever we took.

Obviously this rule only works once kids are old enough to serve themselves.


You can probably determine who was in the Clean Plate Club and who was not and labeled a picky eater.


Tonight I complained that I didn’t like the long stems on the spinach. “Just eat the dang salad, JFG.”


You can try sushi, cause it might taste gooo-oooo-oood!!! :notes: :notes: :notes:

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You can try sushi, cause it might taste gooo-oooo-oood![/quote]


It’s bad enough making tuna sandwiches for the kid.

So what did you and JFGW serve that was so, so awful??? Was it asparagus???

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Growing up there were a bunch of foods I hated that I grew to like as an adult.

I later realized, I just had very cruddy versions of those foods growing up. I actually had remarkably good taste from a young age.

People used to give me the stink eye when I said I didn’t like mashed potatoes.

Turns out I don’t dislike mashed potatoes. I dislike my mother’s mashed potatoes.


Apparently it was spinach salad.

i don’t think it matters. i do know you need to do the opposite of whatever my sister did (and i’m not really sure what she did so sorry can’t help out there). her kids will only eat cold red hot dogs and macaroni & cheese (the kind with the liquid cheese, not the powder stuff). and fruit. I do think there are a few other things in there but i don’t remember those.

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Wasn’t sure on my vote on this topic, but doesn’t the “clean plate” rule increase obesity? I’m near-sure I read this was a significant predictor.

  1. The child should try everything on the plate.
  2. That doesn’t mean they should be forced to finish everything
  3. If they are forced, they will grow up hating the food and have issues, when in later life you may like it if prepared differently. I know so many people with food issues from this
  4. As said before, forcing kids to clean the plate does lead to obesity and other food issues as well. It is why some people train to leave a little behind (I am not one of them)
  5. BUT, never, get in the habit of making kids special food. Chicken fingers for every meal, they have to learn to eat like adults
  6. I am torn on the cheese commercials where the kids won’t eat and pouring cheese over it makes them happy. Does the eating of broccoli trump the adding of fat to make it edible? Bribing kids with french fries to eat one more green bean
  7. Brussel sprouts, Beets - hated as they were cooked in the 70’s, love them when roasted and caramelized. Forcing me to eat a boiled brussel sprout as a kid, turned me off for years

Marketing is also important. (I’d forgotten I did this stuff :joy:)

My older one was pickier. She wouldn’t eat cauliflower, but she would try “white broccoli”. She wouldn’t eat “plums” but she loved “purple peaches”.

I agree about not making separate food for them. If I was making a main dish that was different or new, I’d keep it as simple as I could for them. Make it somewhat appear familiar if you can. And also - make sure they are hungry at dinner! I’d cut out afternoon snacking so by dinner they are hungry enough to eat what I put in front of them.


Do you have a cite for that?

ouch…that’s … unfortunate

plate-clearing as an adult is associated with higher BMI

Plate clearing tendencies were positively associated with BMI and remained so after accounting for a large number of other demographic and behavioral predictors of BMI in analyses (β = 0.18, 95% CIs = 0.07, 0.29, P < 0.001); an increased tendency to plate clear was associated with a significantly higher body weight.

A quick google search doesn’t turn up any evidence that making children clean their plates leads to obesity in adults. It DOES turn up a lot of studies showing dieting among teens is associated with greater weight gain in later years.