Ashley Mozingo

Hi everyone! My name is Ashley, and I am a stay at home mom to two girls, Paislee, 3 and Keely, 1. My husband is in the Coast Guard, and is currently stationed at a Coast Guard unit on Camp Lejune. We have been married for five years now and have spent two of those years in Alaska, where Paislee was born, and two in Maine, where we had Keely. We were lucky to get stationed here in 2012, and call North Carolina "home". We were both born and raised in different cities in eastern North Carolina, and we are super excited to get to spend some time here with our girls and introduce them to some of our favorite places that we had as children. Before I met my husband, I attended East Carolina University, where I earned my Bachelors Degree in Communications. I have a love for writing, and a huge passion for being a mom, so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to write about my experiences and exciting moments of this rocky ride that we all call 'Motherhood'.


The Clean Plate Club

Growing up, Chad and I were definitely members of the Clean Plate Club.  Our parents always insisted that we eat everything that was put on our plates at every meal.  The reasons were threefold.  First, it prevented us from wasting perfectly good food.  Second, it ensured that we ate a balanced diet.  Third, it somehow magically helped the starving kids in Africa.  I know, I never quite understood that last one either.

Recent research, however, has indicated that the Clean Plate Club might not be such a good thing.  At birth, our bodies come programmed to tell us when we are full.  Joshua will push his bottle away when he’s done.  He’ll also turn his head away when he’s done with his solids.  Our body knows when we’ve had enough to eat.

The problem with the Clean Plate Club is that the point at which you’ve had enough may or may not be the point at which your plate is clean.  Oftentimes, the full point comes long before the empty plate point.  If we as parents enforce the clean plate rule, the empty plate becomes the point at which kids finish eating, not when they are full.  Over time, they learn not to listen to their bodies and override the message that their little tummies are full.  They instead eat until the plate is finished.  They learn to overeat.  The long-term implications of overeating can be quite unhealthy.

So, Nathan, Emily, and Joshua are not card-carrying members of the Clean Plate Club.  They can eat as much or as little as they would like of their meals.  If there is a dessert that night, they do have to have at least a few bites of everything on their plate.  If they weren’t hungry enough to eat their dinner, then they’re certainly not hungry enough for a treat.  We also limit snacking so that snacks don’t become substitutes for uneaten meals.

We’re trying to do our best to teach our children healthy eating habits, and for us, part of that is the elimination of the Clean Plate Club.  We can’t save the hungry children in Africa just by cleaning our plates.

Do you have the Clean Plate Club at your house?  Why or why not?

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