Can dining with a smaller plate help you lose weight?

Many people base their portion sizes relative to the size of their plates and bowls or utensils. People also feel the need to finish all of the food in front of them, even when they are no longer physically hungry.

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This is often because people ‘mindlessly eat’ which can lead to overriding the bodies cues of feeling full.

It is also common etiquette to be polite and ‘clear the plate’ especially when someone else has done the cooking.

Brian Wansink a food psychology professor believes we have ‘mindless’ eating habits. He believes we eat with our eyes and not our stomachs. We can confuse our ‘head hunger’ with physical hunger which can lead to overeating.

Follow these 5 top tips to for a smaller waist.

1. Dine with a smaller plate

Dinner plate sizes can vary and be up to 13 inches in diameter. According to professor Wansink, the size of our dishes have increased by 22% since 1960.

As part of the small plate movement, it is recommended to use a side plate of up to 9-10 inches in diameter for your largest meal of the day.

If you reduce the size of your plate you will be reducing your portion size and calorie intake.

This is a great way to tackle head hunger. You can ‘clear the plate’ guilt free, haven eaten just the right amount to feel physically full!

2. Follow the plate model for weight loss

Fill 1/2 of your plate vegetables, 1/4 of lean protein and 1/4 of slow release starchy carbohydrates.

Always have a glass of water before eating and if you find you are still hungry after a meal, then wait at least 10 minutes before eating more. Sometimes, it takes a while for our brains to catch up with our stomachs to register we are full.

Also try drinking a glass of water after your meal, as our brains can confuse thirst for hunger.

portion size weight loss_2If you are still hungry, then simply increase your vegetable portions! There is no limit to how much vegetables you can have, as they are low in calories and packed full of nutrients!

3. Measure portions with smaller utensils

Try using a table spoon to measure a portion instead of a large serving spoon. For example, when serving cooked rice, a  portion would be about 80g which is equivalent to 3-4 heaped table spoons of rice.

Also trying using a teaspoon to measure fats and oils when cooking; it is easy to over pour oil, so this way you have full control of your portion! For weight loss you should only have two portions of fats and oils a day. For example, one portion = 1 teaspoon olive oil.

4. Drink from a tall glass

It’s okay to have a drink or a cheeky cocktail once in a while but alcohol is energy dense and can easily rack up the calorie count! Instead, pour your drink into a tall glass, top with ice and sip slowly through a straw.

This will trick your mind into thinking you’re having more!

A Study published in the BMJ  by Wansink and colleagues, revealed that the shape of a glass could affect our perception of the volume of drink being poured. The study revealed that experienced bartenders poured a higher volume of alcohol in short and wide glass compared to a tall and slender glass!

5. Don’t eat out of a packet

If you are having a snack such as popcorn, pretzels or crisps it is to over eat and mindlessly dip your hand in for more even when you are not physically hungry.

Instead, limit your portion to a small handful. Place your snack portion into a small dinner ware bowl relative to the portion size and nibble slowly, to prevent overeating.

Portion control is the best way to limit your calorie intake with out having to restrict whole food groups in your diet. So if you want a smaller waist, then use a smaller plate!

If you would like a tailored nutritional plan or personal advice for long term weight loss, then please feel free to contact me on my page! 

Connect with Expert Susan Anderson.

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