Leftovers: Do You Eat Cleanup?

Are you guilty of eating children’s leftovers and counting it as your meal? Or maybe you eat them in addition to your meal? I do. And I absolutely MUST stop. Want to take the anti-cleanup pledge with me?


Eating Cleanup

This weekend I gave the girls each two pancakes by request and thought to myself that they would likely not eat their entire portion. As I went to make my own breakfast, I found myself saying, “They aren’t going to finish theirs so instead of making myself breakfast, I’ll just eat what they have leftover so we don’t waste any food.” As expected, they each ate about 1 pancake which meant that after I mindlessly cleaned their plates, I had eaten 2 whole pancakes. Two! Don’t get me wrong, two pancakes isn’t some huge mega amount but it is enough for a meal and how much I would have eaten had I made a plate, sat down with the girls, and eaten mindfully. Instead, I fluttered around the kitchen cooking, cleaning, talking, and picking at their plates while they ate. What was worse was that I barely remembered eating and was still hungry afterwards. All I could think was that I could have had two hot and fresh pancakes with my family but instead was in my own world and downed two in a matter of two seconds.

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After the meal when I was cleaning up I reflected on what had just happened and how different it might have been had I sat down with them to eat. I then realized that I am guilty of doing this alot. In fact, as I was thinking I started to wonder to myself why it is okay to focus on what I feed my children but not on what I feed myself (post…i think this will be another blog post coming up soon). If you’re a mom or live with someone else, maybe you can relate to this feeling too?

The Graceful Grazer

What would have happened had I given the girls a smaller portion to avoid potential for food waste and offered them more if they were still hungry and made myself a plate to eat with them versus being the Graceful Grazer? For one, it would have been an opportunity for us to have enjoyed a true family meal together versus me standing and grazing over them while they ate. And two, I would have been able to show them what a good example of mindful eating was. I believe the girls watch my every move and know that if they see Mom grazing and never sitting down to enjoy a meal then how can I expect them to? I’m seeing this ring true even more now since Ellie does not want to sit down for meals but instead wants to eat snacks as her meal in various places all over the house from the den to the kitchen island to her playroom.

Moving Forward

Moving forward, it’s time for me to get mindful. Mindful eating is a term I hear so often and one that I use myself when talking to others about having a healthy relationship with food. I try hard at meals (especially the ones without children) to pay attention to my food and avoid distractions like work, TV or social media) but when it is breakfast or other things are going on, I can put away quite a bit of food and never know. And goodness knows that these mindless calories add up–hello, i’m still trying to get that baby weight off (and she’s 2!). I also thought about my weight loss journey to get this baby weight off (side note the baby #2 is 2) and how quickly mindless calories add up!

At this point even though as a dietitian with a wealth of food and nutrition knowledge I should be a shining beacon of perfect eating, let’s face it, I struggle with the same issues all of you do every day. So let’s commit together to take the ANTI cleanup club pledge to eat our own food and to eat it mindfully. Let’s help keep each other accountable and go through this journey together!

If this is something you struggle with, tell me about it in the comments and let’s commit to help each other!!