If you don’t think history is important, think about how many of us still try to finish a meal completely, leaving a clear plate with a clear conscience. This comes from our grandmothers from the wartime era when food waste was criminal, literally – people paid huge fines and spent time in prison. Our relatives adopted habits that they then passed on to their children, who then passed it down to their children and here we are today. Clear plates could be applauded during a time of food scarcity, it was part of patriotic duty. But nowadays, the plates are wider, the portions are bigger and finishing a meal can be seen as a challenge rather than a pleasure.
My habits were instilled from a young age, so I am a lifetime member of the clean plate club. But here’s the trick – I portion accordingly. This applies for when I’m cooking at home and can control the quantities. I’ve got a few top tips for portion control:
1) Measure your carbs. A vital part in any sensible diet, but more calorie dense than you might think. As a rough guide, I weigh out 60g-70g brown rice per person, or 90g-100g pasta per person. I use 35g porridge oats for breakfast.
2) Allocate your leftovers immediately. When I’m cooking something that I know is intended to feed four, I dish it up between two plates and two Tupperware pots. That way, there’s no heading back for sneaky seconds. If I’m honestly hungry after dinner, I can always have a small dessert or snack.
3) Bulk up your meal with vegetables. Low energy, but high vitamin content, vegetables are an excellent way to fill up your plate with goodness, without overeating.
4) I always serve myself less than Lawrence. He is a man and I am a woman and biology tells us he needs more food than I do. It’s nothing to pout over, it’s a fact of life. I’ve read articles about couples gaining weight when they move in together, but I think this tip has helped us to avoid that.
I have been able to find wiggle room in my habits so that I can leave food now, and I do so in restaurants when the portions are enormous. But to avoid waste and truly enjoy my food, no morsel gets left behind. And no regrets either.