Thinking big? Plate small!

Overeating is not just an activity spurred by hunger.  According to researcher Brian Wansink, the size of our plates and serving utensils contribute to the bulge of our waistline.  Nutrition experts served themselves 31% more ice cream when they were given a larger bowl and 14.5% more when using a larger scoop.  You’d think nutrition experts would know better.

When food is in plain sight – and is physically closer to us – we eat nearly twice as much.

And family style dining, where all the pots and pans and bowls brimming with supper are on the table, eating seconds is almost a guarantee.  A group of folks decided to make environmental changes – those like serving food off the counter instead of the table, moving a candy dish further away, and using a smaller plate lost 1 1/2 pounds per month.  The comparative group who made diet-related changes only, like eating oatmeal for breakfast, GAINED 2.5 pounds per month.

What most of us don’t see is plates and bowls are twice as big as 20 years ago.  Friends have taken dishes back to the store because they don’t fit into their cabinets. Utensils are colossal – you could pierce your throat with those long folk tines.  Dr. Wansink has demonstrated over and over again that size does matter – smaller dishes and utensils reduce our intake. Tall, thin glasses hold less calorie-laden beverage than short, fat ones.

Peek into your cabinets.  Place the smaller dishes on the lowest level so they are in easy reach and will be used more often.  Hide the dinner forks and soup spoons and eat only with the salad fork and teaspoons.  Hide treats in opaque containers. Ask a co-worker to keep their candy and chocolates in their drawer – if you want one, you’ll ask.  Show them the data!

Enjoy your thinner waistline!  If you struggle with making changes like these, let’s get together and create your personal plan.

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