If you care about good nutrition then you know it isn't just about eating the right foods. You also have to get the food portions right, otherwise you might end up eating too much of a good thing, which is bad. That's why I used to hand out measuring cups and spoons to all of my first-time clients. My hope was that by using them for a few weeks they would become familiar with standardized serving sizes and eventually be able to estimate the amounts they actually ate.
Now all they need to do is set their table with portion control plates, bowls and glasses.
What Determines the Amount You Eat?
If you were raised as member of the "Clean Plate Club," then you took the oath not to waste food. That means you are obligated to eat everything on your plate whether you are still hungry or not. What no one could have imagined back in 1917 when the Club was first formed due to food shortages created by World War I and in 1947 when it was reactivated after the Great Depression and World War II is that food would soon be plentiful and cheap.
Without any changes in the Club rules, food went from being rationed to being abundant. Soon the recipes in cookbooks were producing larger serving sizes right along with the food and beverage portions in restaurants. The size of our dinnerware also gradually increased over the last 50 years, so if your only gauge of how much you're going to eat is how much is in your plate, bowl or glass, you are doomed to over eat.
How Can Portion Control Plates Help?
Learning how to control the amount of food we serve ourselves at home is one way to prevent the overeating that occurs when we have too much food on our plate. By using portion control plates we can train our eyes to become familiar with what a cup of beef stew looks like, or a 3 ounce serving of meatloaf, or ½ cup of baked beans, so we'll be better able to estimate those amounts when eating out.
I've written about the difference between serving size and portion size before and the dangers of mindless eating, but many other factors contribute to overeating and can lead to obesity. Dealing with how much food is on your plate is one way to reduce the food portions you eat, and using portion control plates can help.