Clean Your Plate!

by Sherry Riter in Alyssa,Brittany,Health,Memory


I started a discussion in the BlogFrog community with the question “Do you make your children eat everything on their plate even if they do not like it and it is “good” for them?”

I just got home to sit down and read everyone’s replies which I found to be very interesting. I think most of these mothers are at least ten or even twenty years younger than me. Their answers fell into the same category of how I practiced my motherhood, however, completely opposite of how my parent’s generation would have answered the question.

Alyssa could not start eating any kind of food or cereal until she was nine months old because her digestive tract was not completely matured. I was her only source of nourishment and I can tell you, she truly sucked the life out of me! I lost a bunch of weight, but she was extremely healthy.

When Alyssa finally started eating, I didn’t give her jars of baby food. I would do things like:

  • after cooking the peas, I would pop the inside of the peas out of their shells and then smash it into a soft mush
  • squish the carrots
  • cut the chicken up so tiny that it was also almost a paste
  • I would even chew some of the food in my front teeth and then give her the bite – I know that probably grosses everyone out, but since my body made hers, I didn’t really think it was that big a deal. Heaven forbid you bring it up to Alyssa now. She will nearly throw up at just the mention of my “spit” as she puts it. I have to laugh.

As she got older, her food became less smooshed. By the time she was two, she ate EVERYTHING. Both my niece, Brittany, and my daughter’s favorite meal was Caesar salad and wheat bread with freshly made strawberry jam from the la Madeleine Country French Cafe. We had one about ten minutes down the street and I know that I took both of them there for lunch at least three times a week. People would watch Alyssa, kneeling in her chair so that she could see her plate, eat one bite after the next of salad. I have to admit, it was strange seeing such a tiny girl eat so much green lettuce.

I have never believed in “clearing the plate” and my only rule was that if you said you didn’t like something and you hadn’t ever tried it, you had to take a bite. If it tasted really awful and you hated it, then after five chews you could spit it in the napkin. That was not a common occurrence mostly because she ate so great and Alyssa preferred healthy foods over junk.


Actually, I AM SO LUCKY because she still eats wonderfully!

metal canned peachesIn contrast, I had to eat everything on my plate. I was usually the last to leave the table. I would dip the bites of whatever I hated in the jelly, the green bean juice, vinegar, or anything to try and disguise the flavor. To this day, I HATE CANNED PEACHES. If I can’t get them fresh, I won’t eat those funky tasting peaches in metal cans. GROSS!

Think about it…Do you think a canned peach’s flavor is any better when it is dipped in green bean juice, a little vinegar, some mustard, rolled in the crumbles of fried chicken, with a shake of salt and a shake of pepper?

I can assure you, it is still awfully sick tasting.

Alyssa, on the other hand, eats the metal canned peaches.

Poor misguided child.

I’m going to ask you the same question as I did of all the people in the BlogFrog community“Do you make your children eat everything on their plate even if they do not like it and it is “good” for them?” and/or “What were the “eating” rules when you were a child?”

The Redhead Riter


This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katrina January 15, 2010 at 5:23 am

I don't make my son clear his plate. He's never been a picky eater and will try pretty much everything I put on his plate. If he doesn't like it, I won't force him to eat it.

Stopping by from SITS.


2 Gabrielle January 15, 2010 at 7:20 am

I don't make them clean their plate if they are truly full, but they have to eat what I make or they don't eat. PERIOD. I'm not a short order cook, I tell them. But they are all older now and if they hassle me, I eat ice cream in front of them. hahaha That will teach them to like lima beans, right?


3 PJ January 15, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Hey Gal! Those peaches look yummy! I have to agree with Alyssa. I am the same way by stuff like green beans or any other "Home canned" vegetables. I want "grocery store metal canned" veggies. I don't like fresh cut meat, I like it from a grocery store. LOL! I'll be in trouble if it gets to the point we can't buy from the grocery stores without the "mark". I'll have to learn to eat all over again or starve! LOL!

Love ya bunches!



4 Teresa @ ? TOO MANY HEARTBEATS ? January 15, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I LOVE peaches, no matter if they are fresh, frozen or canned. However, I actually prefer them baked – in a cobbler and I do love me a good ol' southern fried peach pie! YUM!!

As for your question, I was very blessed that my 3 girls all love to eat and will eat just about anything you put in front of them. I joke that my youngest daughter will eat anything that doesn't eat her first! She nearly killed me breastfeeding, she ate almost NON-STOP! Then when she was a little bit older but still at the age where they eat with their hands, I would turn around to see her with her mouth full of food and both her fists clinched full waiting to fill her mouth again. She would chew, swallow, quickly shove more food in her mouth and then she'd grab more off her tray for her little fists to hold again. It was SO funny to watch! Somehow, it isn't as cute now. LOL! :0)

It is my personal and professional medical opinion that you should never force children to eat EVERY LAST THING on their plate. I totally agree with Gabrielle. I believe children should eat what the rest of the family is eating or they just don't eat. However, forcing them to 'clean their plate' when they are already full is setting them up for potential problems with child and/or adult obesity, eating disorders, diabetes, etc.

Well, I hope you and your family have a great weekend. I'd love for you to come by and check out the changes on my blog AND the Pay It Forward Give-Away I'm hosting. Stop by when you get a chance!


Teresa <><


5 PJ January 15, 2010 at 8:23 pm

I didn't answer your question. I can't remember if my mom made me eat everything on my plate or not. I do know when I was married to my 2nd hubby and we were raising his son, I would put a teaspoon of everything on his plate for him just to taste, then if he liked it I would give him more. Most of the time he was pretty open to the idea, but I remember one time when he definitely was not.

Love & Prayers,


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