Remember how we decided to move over to 9 inch dinner plates instead of continuing to use our 11 and 12 inch “standard American” dinner plates? Well it’s been a few weeks and I have some interesting results to report.
One night we were having kielbasa, veggies, and pasta (one of our favorite comfort meals) and I decided to do a few things with the servings.
First I took a regular larger plate and I put what I thought (completely eyeballing it) was a normal serving on the plate.
Here it is.
Then I moved that serving over to the 9 inch plate, and this is what I got. That’s a bit more than I would have served myself as a normal serving.
Next I took the 9 inch plate, put a serving (again eyeballing it) on the plate.
Here it is.
I then then took that serving and moved it over to the standard dinner plate.
And here’s the thing. Even though I thought it was an adequate portion on the 9 inch plate, it looked anything but adequate on the larger plate. To the kids and me, this was a very clear lesson in “you definitely eat more food when you have bigger plates.” People eat more just because of a visual trick, larger plates make it look like you don’t have enough food and so you fill up the plate until you “think” it is enough. Just think of the cost and calorie savings you’d have if you switched to 9 inch plates in your house and never used a 12 inch plate for your diners again.
For the record, I had the 9 inch plate serving and I was satiated for the entire evening. In this particular case, size really does matter.
And then about a week ago, for a very rare family celebration, we ordered Chinese takeout. Because Addy was obviously chomping at the bit for the food and in order to make sure she got her full share, she grabbed the one large dinner plate I left in the cupboard. Honestly, it looked like she was eating from a platter. Every single person commented on how big the plate appeared. And this is just from a short time of using the smaller plates. It’s pretty amazing how you can train yourself to behave differently in a few weeks.
Lastly, this holiday weekend, we took my oldest son Spencer out to a birthday lunch so that he could order his first legal drink in a restaurant. We all had burgers with unlimited fries. I think it’s interesting to note that every single one of us had stomach distress from the food (it wasn’t that it was bad, there was simply too much.) No one ate dinner that night and two had to carry buckets with them because their stomachs felt that queasy. Unlimited anything sounds like a good idea until you realize that there is no immediate feedback on how much you’ve eaten. You only realize that you’ve eaten too much after the fact.
There are a few lessons we’ve learned from all this.
Seeing how much food you are going to eat is very important. Seeing how much food you are going to eat in relation to a reasonably sized object for feedback may be even more important. We like small amounts of meat and we also really, really, like a diet heavy on plants. Our lunches were good but there were no vegetables, (unless you counted the leaf of lettuce in the burger and the anemic tomatoes) and there was no salad (well, to be honest there could have been salad if you were willing to pay $7.99 more.) As a family, we’ve decided that we don’t want to eat that way and my kids have a new appreciation for the vegetables and salad that is standard operating procedure with regard to our dinners.
Bottom line? We like our 9 inch plates and we like our veggies. We have absolutely no desire to ever go back to larger plates or big pieces of meat.
With regard to a learning lesson for my kids? Couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. Mission Accomplished.