Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Instant Portion Control

Most weight conscious folks know that our portion sizes have become astronomical over the years! Bowls are larger. Spoons are larger. Plates are larger.

I recently read Brian Wansink's Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. It's a great book, and I highly recommend it! He's done a bunch of studies about the things that cause us to overeat, such as oversized bowls, proximity and scent. It's an awesome read for anyone who thinks they may be affected by "eating" cues. (And believe me... everyone is affected by these cues. Dr. Wansink proves it over and over again.) Anyway, one of the big things he focuses on is how the size and shapes of our dinnerware, serveware and utensils can affect our idea of an appropriate "portion size."

Now some places sell portion controlled plates with little dividers or pictures to show you how much to eat, such as the Relaxor FF8PP Perfect Portion Plate. And I've also seen portion control bowls. But I figured I could get something similar without blowing a huge wad of cash.

So... I tracked down some smaller dinnerware and have replaced my old, super-sized versions with these new, streamlined options:
  • 8" plate: The average dinner plate is a whooping 11" in diameter! Just switching to an 8 or 9 inch plate can mean you'll eat significantly less. The plates I purchased (click on link to see them) are supposed to be "luncheon" plates, but I think they work fine as reasonably sized dinner plates, too.
  • 12 oz bowl: A one-cup serving is 8 ounces. I purchased 12 oz bowls, assuming I'd never fill them to the brim (to avoid spilling anything). At the max, one of these bowls would contain 1 1/2 cups. To me, that's a great size for a mini-meal of soup or rice & beans.
I kept some of the regular size stuff (which looks gigantic compared to my new, smaller dishes) for things like dinner parties. But in the future, I'm avoiding my old, oversized dinnerware as much as possible.


Fatinah said...

you bring up some interesting points here - I will be measuring my plates today for sure!

Living to Feel Good said...

I have to tell are so damn inspiring! I just read your last couple post, and wow they were motivating.

"I'm an athlete" YES! I love it.

Good idea on the smaller plates. I've heard this over and over again, but I still use all my regular dishes. Good for you for being active in changing things.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Jason The Running Man said...

great post. It's amazing to me the protions you receive at some of the restuarants today. Huge, that coupled with my no self control was the reason I blimped to over 300 pounds. Now I measure all my food out and have been for over 2 years. Great stuff thanks!

Cory said...

That is certianly one way to watch those portions, and a really good one too!!!!
I use my regular plates but am VERy careful to not fill them up. I usually can't eat a full plate anyway, so it's easier for me.

the veggie paparazzo said...

YES! I switched to 'salad plates' for us for our meals when we don't have company (and sometimes when we do), and it actually really does make a difference. I've wanted to read that book; maybe I'll pick it up for my reading on the plane tomorrow!

Gripperm said...

Does anyone remember when a large drink from a fast food place could fit into your cup holder? I mean I took my daughter to McDonald's the other day and now they have a Mighty Kids meal which is a kids meal but larger!

the veggie paparazzo said...

Pursuit, I got the book, and we got stuck in the airport (which deserves a post, actually), and I read the whole book yesterday in the airport and on the plane!

Lady Atkins said...

I use a food scale to weigh portions so I know exactly how much I am getting, then write that in my online food journal. :)