Slash the Scavenging – How to STOP eating your kid’s leftovers

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Moms are all too familiar with their kiddos rejecting meals. I would love to feed my kid a healthy, freshly prepared meal complete with organic raw veggies every day, but realistically this is not what my two year old desires…and time may not be on my side depending on what the other baby needs at the moment. So…yea, we do kid pizza, we do hot dogs, we do meatballs.


As hard as I try to purchase “healthy” kid food, the nutritional components of these products don’t necessarily line up with my PERSONAL healthy lifestyle guidelines…BUT I think it’s safe to say that if your kid is a bit picky, you’ll try EVERYTHING to get them to eat. So nuggets it is…and at least he eats MOST of it…



That’s when the trouble starts. I don’t know about you, but when my little guy won’t eat his last chicken nugget I don’t want to just TOSS it! Actually…I do. I want to toss it in my mouth. So I do that…but not before dipping it in the leftover ranch, because…hey, it’s ranch.


I’ve been reflecting on how often I do this. Turns out, it is a lot. Generally, I don’t even bother to log it with my food app because it’s not like it’s a whole meal…or a real snack for that matter.


Yesterday I made my bub a SECOND PBJ sandwich because he said he wanted it. Rookie move, Mama, you know he isn’t really hungry, he just wants to lick the jelly off of the plate. Surprisingly, he ate about half of it and proceeded with said jelly licking. Then he was “all done”. There were approximately 6 little squares of PBJ left, and he left the best part…the middle, who does that?! The crust can enjoy itself in the trash, but the middle?! COME ON! I tried to coax him to eat the few center pieces by explaining that there was no better part of a PBJ…but he wasn’t buying it.


So I just ate the middle pieces and called it good. No big deal right? I got to thinking about it. How many calories did I actually consume? I did a little research on kid food.


1 Chicken Nugget = 30 calories
1 Tbsp. Mac and Cheese = 30 calories
¼  Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich = 80 calories
¼ Grilled Cheese = 70 calories
¼  Corndog = 55 calories


It’s a bit of an eye opener. If you had three bites of mac and cheese (which I might have done last night)…it’s almost 100 calories! You can spend 100 calories on WAY better food that will fuel your body and keep you full (apple, yogurt, avacado, almonds, hummus, peppers, carrots)! So how can I refrain from scavenging these scraps? I’ve done some Googling, polled some family and friends, and come up with a few action items that might help! USA, LLC


Grapefruit is great fruit

I’m not the biggest fan of grapefruit, but apparently I need to give it another shot. A study at the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego revealed that people who ate half of a grapefruit with each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds in three months. Ken Fujioka, M.D., the study’s head researcher, found that grapefruits lower your post meal levels of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar and fat metabolism.


Chew Gum

According to WebMD, chewing gum can be a great way to curb your appetite and keep you from consuming more calories between meals. They reference a study from the University of Rhode Island that revealed gum chewers consumed less calories, refrained from high calorie treats, and burned more calories than non-gum chewers. Maybe this is why my husband is skinny….


Follow Your Nose

The New York Times has an article detailing the findings of Alan Hirsch, M.D. The Neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago says that certain aromas like peppermint, green apples, banana, and vanilla can trick your brain into thinking you’ve eaten! Try a whiff of that vanilla candle before cleaning up leftovers.


Save It

Even if it doesn’t seem like much, put it in a plastic baggy. They can have it as a “side” for a later meal. Then you don’t have the guilt of tossing it (until three days later when you forgot it was in the fridge…lol…jk…but seriously).



Have someone else take care of the cleanup! Teach your little ones early on to toss their scraps, ask your older kids to help with the dishes, or give the ole ball and chain a nudge to clean up so you aren’t tempted to snack on extras. I like this option because it’s less work for you AND less calories!


Ok Mamas, let’s put these tips to the test! Do you have any other methods for resisting the urge to scavenge? Let me know!


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27 thoughts on “Slash the Scavenging – How to STOP eating your kid’s leftovers

  1. I admit, it is so tempting to just finish their half eaten food! Lately, I’ve been saving food my toddler doesn’t finish and if she says she’s hungry later, she has to eat that before I’ll give her anything else. And brushing my teeth is a huge deterrent from extra snacking!

    1. That is a great idea, we all know they get hungry shortly after they don’t eat their food anyways! YES! Brushing teeth would be a great way to refrain from snacking as well!!

  2. I can so relate to this! I eat my kids’ leftovers every day! It never even crossed my mind that it all adds up! Going to be implementing these tips!

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one, it’s just so easy to take a few bites here and there! I’m excited you’ll be trying these tips, let me know how it goes!!

  3. I remember reading about eating kids left overs when my bubs was little and i scoffed who would do that – fast forward to the begining of toddlerhood *raises hand*
    So loving these tips, definately going to keep these up my sleeve!

    1. I was totally in the same boat! Who would eat their kids food after their grubby little hands were all up in it…oh I would, lol! Let me know how these tips help, I will be doing them, too!

  4. Sam

    I can relate to this post all too well. I am very guilty if eating my toddler’s leftovers. You have presented me with quite a few “ah ha” moments.

    Thank you for incorporating the article as well, I have never heard of the fact that certain smells can affect your desire to eat (or not to eat).

    I am planning on using some of these tips because for the success of my waistline, I do need to stop eating thie food.

    1. So glad you found it helpful! I learned a lot writing this post, there are a lot of scientifically backed tips to help curb your appetite…who would have thought!!

  5. I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THIS. Wow you really opened my eye! I’m on a healthy kick and sometimes I will eat the last little bit of my sons meal if he doesn’t.

    1. I didn’t think about it for a awhile either, it’s crazy how easy it is just to sneak in their unfinished food! Hope these tips help you on your healthy kick!

    1. A bite isn’t a deal breaker by any means, but all day every day can certainly add up! Thanks for reading!

  6. Oh my. I felt like you’re speaking directly to me🙈
    I eat all the leftovers then blame my metabolism for not making the scale move🤦🏻‍♀️
    Definitely going to work on this, thank you for this eye opening piece!

    1. I’m so glad you found it beneficial! I’m totally there with you, we can work on this together 🙂

  7. I’m definitely guilty of scavenging, and it’s a lot to do with the fact that I hate to throw away food! Saving even small leftovers is such a great idea – I must remember to do it more often! And on the flip side, my kids love to eat fruit so at least I sometimes benefit from sharing their snacks! 🙂

    1. Yes! It is definitely important to think of the flip side too…I am eyeballing some cucumber right now that my little guy will probably not eat, which is OK in my book!

  8. Portion sizing and calorie counting are the keys! Thanks for sharing ♥️ ♥️ By any chance you are interested on doing collaborations, you can check out the collaborations portal of and connect with amazing brands!


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