Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What size plate should you use?

I've been re-reading Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink and he has this fabulous graphic in chapter 3, Surveying the Tablescape.  Look at the picture above.  Which dot is bigger?

The answer of course is that both dots are the same size but depending on what you put around it, the dot either looks larger or smaller.  This goes for food as well.  Per Brian:

"If you spoon four ounces of mashed potatoes onto a 12-inch plate, it will look like a lot less than if you had spooned it onto an 8-inch plate.  Even if you intended to limit your portion size, the larger plate would likely influence your to serve more.  And since we all tend to finish what we serve ourselves, we would probably end up eating it all."

So, how to do you trick your mind into eating reasonable portions?  Get rid of all your 12 inch dinner plates.  Try eating on a salad plate and see how your portions sizes change.

America's expanding waistlines didn't happen over-night and our weight gain has been accompanied by a disturbing expansion of chinaware.  Another tidbit from Dr. Wansink

"Serving-size norms were different 50 years ago.  How do we know this?  One way is by comparing Grandmother's dinner plates with our own.  An antiques dealer told me that when people shopping for antique plates find a pattern they like, they often take a dinner plate up to him and say, "I like these cute little salad plates.  Do you have matching dinner plates?"  One woman even asked if he had any duplicates of the serving platters that she could use as dinner plates."

I'm thinking it might want to go get a fabulous antique china set to help me limit my portion sizes!

1 comment:

  1. "Serving-size norms were different 50 years ago. How do we know this? One way is by comparing Grandmother's dinner plates with our own."

    We have to remember that some of our grandparents had 3-10 course meals every day not counting all the afternoon teas. So they eat enormous amounts of food.