Trust your taste buds, they know a thing or two about what you really like to eat. I wish my parents had known more about that when I was little – and I am sure my sisters would agree. My parents were of the Great Depression era and had a couple strong food rules. One was that you had to take a little bit of everything that Mom had cooked. The other was that you had to finish everything on your plate before you could have desert. We had dessert at most every meal and it was always good, so there were times I was long at the dinner table making sure I got some.

My mom was a good cook and most of the food we had was also good. But there were a few items that only they liked and we kids didn’t have a say in it. There are some foods that I detest to this day after having to eat some – real small bites – many times. Lima beans and stewed tomatoes, sweet potatoes and canned beans (I love fresh or frozen, but canned never), beets and cream of wheat were the notables.

They had good intentions. Taking a little bit of everything is a good start for a child because everything is new. Taste buds need education and you might learn to like somethings after a few tries. But it’s not a steep curve and taste buds wise up fast. After a few times of tasting things I usually know what I do and don’t like.

And finishing what you took is a good lesson in not wasting food. But maybe the lesson should be to take less if you find you are full with what you took before? It has taken my sisters and me years to come to the point when we are okay with not finishing if we are full.

The childhood lessons are good in one way and we all turned out well. But there are side effects that are not so good. They both cause us to bypass our taste buds input. Here is what I have found. I may try something and find that my taste buds aren’t thrilled. I will try something else and find that my taste buds like it much better. If I have followed training and finished the first dish I may find that I eat too much. If I don’t finish the first meal I will have much more room to enjoy the second. My taste buds will drive me to be satisfied, so why consume “empty” (less satisfying ) calories?

There is also a money tug involved sometimes. You might say “I pad for that meal , so I should finish it and not let it go to waste” . But whether or not you finish the meal you have paid for it already, and you may find it that it goes to waist (not waste). So if I buy something and I don’t enjoy it I will resist the urge to finish and simply seek out something more pleasing to my taste buds. I have done this with candy bars, which I should avoid anyway, as well as meals I have cooked myself that turned out disappointing.

So enjoy your taste buds and don’t run over them with unpalatable food. You have my permission (you don’t really need to ask) to not finish everything on your plate, and refuse to eat things that your taste buds reject.