If you are struggling with your portion control then then this will really make you think.
Did you know that 10 years ago, our average dinner plate was 25cm wide (10 inches) and now it is on average 30 cm wide, which is a whopping 12 inches bigger. Just stop and think how much more food you are shovelling on to that bigger plate? The other interesting thing about plates is that in the 1960’s 1970’s and 1980’s the fashion was to have smaller dinner plates with patterns on them. I can remember swirly flower plates and willow pattern type plates that we used to eat off. Now we tend to go for big round or square charger type plates in plain colours and the fashion currently seems to be boutique style huge white plates. Think about it, on those smaller chaotic looking plates the pattern blended with the food to produce a riot of colour, textures and patterns so there were no gaps! With the big white plates you feel the urge to fill them up, otherwise your dinner looks meagre and small, when there is oodles of white space around the food.
Burgers are twice the size they were 20 years ago and pasta servings are nearly five times bigger!
And have you noticed the tendency for restaurants to pour your wine into goldfish bowl size glasses. Again this is very fashionable and matches the huge white plates. Drinking a large glass of wine can increase your calorie intake by 30%. And you probably know already that alcohol in particular provides empty calories without you even noticing the amounts you are drinking. Using a big glass, where the fashion is to have it about a quarter full, it is easy for the restaurant to keep topping you up, encouraging you to drink more, (and of course by more wine!). But it makes it very difficult to keep track of the amount you are actually drinking.
So what can you do about all of this?
1) Plate sizes – choose a smaller dinner plates and bowls for your dinner. Only cook what you need for that dinner and if there is any left over either freeze it or give it to the dog/cat or dustbin. (I know you were told as a child not to waste food, but you are not a dustbin and you no longer need to put left overs into your own mouth!)
2) Avoid eating anything straight from the packet. Use a plate so that you can see exactly how much you are eating. It’s amazing how eating biscuits from the packet can suddenly become half a packet instead of the two you originally told yourself you would have. Put the two biscuits on the plate, put the packet away and go and sit down, eat them and enjoy them.
3) If you are having something like a burger, leave the bun and fries and choose a jacket potato and salad to go with it. These are healthier more filling options. (As long as you don’t smother either in high calorie dressing). Choose a lighter dressing if you can’t eat bare potatoes and salad.
4) If drinking at home, then choose a smaller glass- a champagne flute maybe which is usually 125ml or a small wine glass. Decide in advance how many glasses you are going to have and fill the glass to that level, so that you are consciously aware of how much you are drinking. If possible, intersperse a glass of alcohol with a glass of water, to help keep you dehydrated. You could try this in a restaurant too, ask for a smaller glass or a champagne flute and for every glass of alcohol, have a soft drink or water.