Having trouble controlling how much you eat? Want to eat a smaller sized portion and feel like you’ve satisfied your hunger without wanting more? Some researchers suggest you might want to try serving your meals on a smaller plate or in a smaller bowl, as studies have shown people tend to eat less when they shrink their dinnerware.
The Relationship Between Plate Size and Waist Size
Over the years, plate sizes have grown larger and so have people. According to researcher and professor, Brian Wansink, the author of “Mindless Eating”, since the 1960’s the surface area of a dinner plate has increased by 36%.
It is not uncommon, nowadays, for the surface area of many dinner plates to be 12 inches or larger. This fact, coupled by the fact that many restaurants – typically those of the fast food variety – offer extra large portions, means the average American consumes far more food than is required, on a daily basis.
Switching to a Smaller Plate Diet
Can eating your meals off of a small plate really help? Yes! This can be an effective weight loss strategy. While this method certainly won’t work for everyone, it has lead to a lot of dieters finding success in controlling the food quantity they consume at meal times. It allows you to fill up a dish using a smaller serving of food, which means you eat less and can prevent yourself from consuming hundreds of unnecessary and unwanted calories.
Aim to use a smaller plate and serve yourself a nice big portion based on that plate size. That said, it’s important to remember that the balance of food on your plate remains important. It’s still a good idea to fill half your plate with vegetables and divide the second half of your plate between lean proteins and whole grains. That way, you’ll not only naturally guide yourself toward eating the right portion size, but you’ll also eat the right ratio of the different types of foods.
After all, it’s just as important to achieve a healthy nutritional balance as it is to keep your calories within a healthy range. This will only help to satisfy your hunger even more as well as provide your body with everything it needs to run at its top efficiency level.
What About Smaller Portions on a Big Plate?
Why doesn’t serving smaller sized food portions on a large plate not work for most people? The main reason is that it is not visually satisfying. Many of us are accustomed to believing that filling the entire surface of a plate is what will satisfy our hunger. If this surface isn’t filled, years of habit tricks our brains into believing that we will still be hungry once we’ve eaten what is on our dish because it wasn’t full. Hence filling up a smaller plate tricks our brains into thinking we’ve eaten enough.
It really is about a smaller plate diet. It provides you with the opportunity to use your senses to show yourself that you are getting enough food and aren’t being deprived. Instead of looking at lots of open space on your plate, you see mostly food.
Choosing Your Plate
What size plate should you use? Choose a plate that is no larger than 10 inches in diameter. Fill it as you normally would. The goal is to adjust how much you take so you only cover the surface and you don’t overload the plate with a mountain of food.
Many recommendations surrounding a smaller plate diet indicate that using a bread plate is better than a dinner plate. However, it is a good idea not to aim for a plate that is too small. You shouldn’t be eating off a tiny plate or feel like you’re eating a child’s portion. Indeed, if your dinner plate set is large enough, the side plates may actually be adequate. However, if your plate is 6 inches in diameter or less, switching dishes may have the opposite effect. Instead of seeing a lot of blank space on your plate, you’ll see a lot of blank space at the table where your plate would usually be. For most people an 8 to 10 inch plate is usually ideal.
Your Utensils on the Smaller Plate Diet
At the same time, you may think that while you’re on the smaller plate diet, you’ll do better using smaller utensils, too. Interestingly, research indicates that this is not the case. Instead, using regular large forks, knives and spoons are best for convincing yourself that you’re eating the right amount of food. That said, if you’re willing to eat with chopsticks, you may do even better.
These force you to slow your rate of eating and take smaller bites. As a result, you’ll give your body and mind the time needed to feel satisfied when you’ve had an adequate amount of food, instead of letting you eat so fast that the fullness feeling doesn’t register until you’ve already had too much.