Mastering Portion Control

Written on the 21 January 2015 by Studio Pilates


A few useful ways to curb overeating by making a few simple adjustments to your dining table.

Since we were old enough to sit at the dinner table, we were sternly told by our parents to clean our plates until they were spotless. Therefore its no wonder that as adults we feel obliged to finish every last morsel in front of us. Breaking this habit is not easy, but it can be done. Switching up your cutlery, plates and centrepieces can help you to master portion control (and yes, we are serious!).

Plates. Make sure they are no bigger than 15cm in diameter (or saucer-sized). A study in Cornell University in the US revealed that participants in a study who ate burgers off saucers thought that they were eating 18 % more calories than they actually were. Participants who ate off 30cm plates did not have this delusion. Whilst you may feel like somewhat of a giant when you finish eat off 15cm dishes, this will soon pay off when that waistband on your jeans is less tight!

Bowls. Its very simple, the bigger the bowl, the more food you will place in it and the more food you will consume. Try serving up your food in a small bowl, or use a teacup or a mug for food that you tend to inhale, such as ice-cream or yoghurt. Dish up salads and healthy soups in giant bowls, as they are much lower in calories.

Spoons. Use teaspoons, instead of tablespoons, even when serving your food. Cornell University conducted a study which revealed that people who used 85g serving spoons consumed a whooping 15% more food than those who served up their food with smaller 56g spoons.

Serving Dishes. Always choose a ceramic dish over a glass dish. The reason being? A study in the International Journal of Obesity showed that women ate 71% more food out of transparent dishes and containers than they did out of dishes that they could not see through. Decrease the size of your serving dishes as well. A study from the The Journal of the America Medical Association published that people eat as much as 56% more food when they served themselves from a 4 litre bowl than from a 2 litre bowl.

Candles. Get rid of them right after the salad course, or do not light them at all. When the lighting around our food is dimmer, people remain around the dinner table for longer and can result in overeating.

Centrepieces. Remove the vase of flowers and replace this with a bowl of fresh bananas, green apples or after-dinner mints. Several studies done at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in the US revealed that overweight and obese people who smelt one of these three scents before each meal lost a incredible 27kg over six months.

Walls. Paint them blue. No, we are not kidding. The colour blue is thought to be a natural appetite suppressant. In a study published in Contract magazine, guests at a Gala function who dined in a blue room consumed 33% less food than the guests that ate in a yellow or red room. Medical blogger Dr Val Dodds states that "blue lights make food look less appealing, while warmer colours have the opposite effect". Dr Dodds goes on to explain that this is why the choice of lighting and interior in fast-food joints is always a yellowish hue; so that you are tempted to eat more.

Make these super easy adjustments to your dining table and dining room today! Whilst some many sound a little too simple or a little basic, the studies have shown that they work!


Author: Studio Pilates