Looking to get your portion sizes under control? It’s surprisingly easy to trick yourself into eating less simply by changing the design, size or color of your plate. If you’re ready to step up to the plate (ha ha), try these three science-backed tactics that will help you eat less at each meal without an ounce of struggle or sacrifice.
1. Change the design:
Designed with feedback from nutritionists, the ETE plate takes the guesswork out of proper portion sizes. The plate is divided into different sections, so you can easily gauge the recommended serving sizes for vegetables, protein and starches, such as pasta or rice. The goal? To prevent people from overeating and encourage them to eat more balanced meals.
2. Change the color:
Red may be the color most associated with passion, but it’s also commonly linked with stop signs—and it’s the shade’s latter effect that may help stop people from eating too much. A study in journal Appetite found that when study participants were served popcorn and chocolate chips on a red plate, they ate less. It’s possible that we read red as a warning sign, so we consume less as a result.On the flip side, research by Brian Wansink, author of Slim By Design and director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, found that when people were served food that matched their plate — think a white dish loaded with pasta covered in Alfredo sauce — they ate more. Having color differentiation between your plate and the food you’re eating may help you gauge portion sizes better so you eat less.
3. Change the shape:
Eating less could be as simple as eating off smaller plates. A study in the journal Obesity found that bigger plates can cause portion distortion and tempt us to pile on more food to avoid the plate looking sparse, according to YouBeauty Nutrition Advisor Kristin Kirkpatrick. Simply switching from a dinner plate to a salad plate tricks your eye into thinking you’re eating more food, even when you logically know the amount hasn’t changed.
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