Dinner Plates: Size Matters!

Plates:  Bigger Isn’t Better

The size of our dinner plates might be contributing to our country’s obesity problem.

Since 1960, the surface area of our average dinner plate has increased 36%. Today, the average dinner plate measures 11 to 12 inches across, but a few decades ago they were 7 to 9 inches. By comparison, a European plate averages 9 inches and some of our restaurants use plates that are about 13 inches across.

Supersized Eating

Just as serving sizes in restaurants have been supersized and package sizes in the market have grown, so have the plate, bowl, and glass sizes we use in our homes — by 36% in some cases.

Our ideas about portion sizes and how much we need to eat and drink to feel full have grown along with the size of our dishware.

Six ounces of cooked rice with a little chili looks like a good portion on an 8 inch plate. The same amount on a 12 inch plate would look paltry  and probably cause the typical person to add more rice to the plate — which ends up increasing the portion size and calories.

What To Do

The fact of the matter is that we eat most of what’s on our plate regardless of the size of the plate.

But, when you switch to a smaller plate you eat a smaller serving. According to research done at Cornell, when you switch from a 12 inch plate to a 10 inch plate you eat 22% less.

So, you can control your portion sizes by downsizing the size of your plate. You can switch from a dinner plate to a salad plate or search vintage stores for older plates that are smaller in size.

Go Small – But Not Too Small

It sounds too good to be true, but using smaller dishes can also help you feel full even when you’re eating less. Amazingly, studies show that people are more satisfied with less food when they are served on 8 inch salad plates instead of on 12 inch dinner plates.

Use smaller plates and bowls. It’ll keep the portions smaller and you feeling fuller.

But — be careful not to go too small with your plate.  With too little food you might end up going back for seconds. A plate 2 inches smaller than the one you normally use is probably about right.

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