I was raised to always finish everything on my plate, so as not to waste food.
Taking that one step further, I remember always finishing everything on the table (that I liked), because, well, who knows when we might not eat next?
Of course, that last question is one of fear.
For our grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, that fear was a harsh reality.
While we’ve recently seen empty supermarket shelves for various reasons, and cultural parallels can be drawn between now and then, the truth is that thankfully, if you’re reading this post, you’ve probably never gone hungry due to a lack of available food, not even for one day in your lifetime.
Yet regardless of what’s going on in the world, the fear of a lack of food is a primal fear that has existed … well, as long as we have.
We’re never going to get rid of that – and that’s a good thing, because there are good physiological reasons why we want our bodies to tell us to get up and go eat.
We should want to eat when we are hungry … and also stop when we are full.
In my own life, and in the lives of the hundreds of people I’ve coached on nutrition, there have been countless times that we miss the mark on both sides of that coin.
What if we brought positive awareness to the fear of the potential scarcity of food?
What if we stopped admonishing the ‘wasting’ of food?
What if instead we celebrated when our children stopped eating halfway through a plate because they were full?
Wouldn’t that teach them how to listen to their bodies, and achieve nutritional & caloric balance?
Wouldn’t that actually reduce more food waste in the long run?
Isn’t the root cause of food waste cooking too much … not eating too little?
I am 100% in favor of fixing our food system, being independent and prepared for shortages, and so forth.
The possibility that we might not have food tomorrow doesn’t mean that we have to overeat today.
Nor does overeating today prevent the problem of not having food tomorrow.
If anything, it makes it worse.