As kids many people were told that having “a clean plate was a happy plate”. It was a waste of food otherwise and it was probably one of the many strategies parents used to get kids to finish all of their vegetables. While this may have been a helpful tactic back then, it may also be one reason why people are overeating in their adulthood without even realizing it.
How do people eat too much without even realizing it? Besides possibly being hungrier as adults, portions sizes have unintentionally increased. One reason is because our dinner plates have mysteriously enlarged as the years have passed. The change isn’t as noticeable at first when it is just an inch or so. However, looking at the change over the last 50 years a 12-inch dinner plate is significantly larger than a 8.5-inch plate.
The history of the dinner plate:
8.5-9-inch dinner plate → 1960’s and can hold about 800 calories (of a balanced meal)
10-inch dinner plate → 1980’s and it can hold about 1000 calories. This is a 20% increase in calories.
11-inch dinner plate → 2000’s and it can hold about 1600 calories. This is a 38% increase in calories from the 80’s and 50% increase from the 60’s.
12-inch dinner plate → Current dinner plate size that started around 2009. It can hold around 1900 calories. This is a 16% increase from year 2000 and a 58% increase from the 60’s.
Each meal is going to vary in calories depending on what you eat, but the point is the dinner plate has increased and as a result portion sizes have as well. It is only natural to fill up your plate to its capacity especially when you are hungry, and as the picture above shows a 12-inch plate can hold far more than the 8.5-inch plate. This is one of the reasons why people have started to eat more without even realizing it.
So what can you do? Read my tips below for suggestions!
Dietitian Tip #1: Try to use smaller plates.
You don’t have to go out and buy a whole new set of dinner plates to do this. Try using a salad plate, a kids plate or just fill your plate half full.
Dietitian Tip #2: Load up on non-starchy vegetables.
Fill up most of your plate with non-starchy vegetables before adding any of the other food groups. Vegetables are loaded with fiber and water, which can help you feel more satisfied and keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time. They are also naturally low in calories, and have an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are necessary for optimal health.
Here are some examples of non-starchy vegetables:
This is the easiest way to decrease calories without even thinking about it. Email me today to learn more!
Kelsey Nicholson RD, LD