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Plate and Utensil Sizes Affect How Much People Think They Should Eat, Study Says

Plate and Utensil Sizes Affect How Much People Think They Should Eat, Study Says



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While you think you’re eating less with smaller utensils, you might be wrong

Plate sizes can affect how much food you think you should eat.

The size of our utensils and plates might actually distort our judgment when choosing portion sizes.

There have been a few studies proving that people eat more when given food on larger plates, presumably because they make portions appear smaller. The Journal of Experimental Psychology, for example, published a study in 2013 in which the authors found that people who ate with larger plates at a Chinese buffet consumed 45 percent more food than they normally would.

On that same token, people who eat with smaller utensils are more likely to eat more. A recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that people do not feel as satisfied when using smaller utensils, because they need to take more bites than someone using a larger utensil.

So what is the right portion size? The study concludes that “people do not have clear internal cues about the appropriate quantity to consume.” The main takeaway is that you should not let a restaurant’s plate or utensil sizes dictate how much you do or do not eat.


Instead of trying to memorize lists of ounces, cups, and tablespoons, simply compare the serving sizes of foods to familiar things.

For example, a single serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips is about the size of a cupped handful.
  • Apple is the size of a baseball.
  • Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • Bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • Pancake is the size of a CD.
  • Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
  • Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).

The best way to determine the amount of food in a serving is to look at the Nutrition Facts label and measure it.

For example, fill a measuring cup with the proper-sized portion of vegetables, rice, etc. and then empty it onto a plate. That will help you learn what these serving sizes look like.


Instead of trying to memorize lists of ounces, cups, and tablespoons, simply compare the serving sizes of foods to familiar things.

For example, a single serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips is about the size of a cupped handful.
  • Apple is the size of a baseball.
  • Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • Bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • Pancake is the size of a CD.
  • Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
  • Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).

The best way to determine the amount of food in a serving is to look at the Nutrition Facts label and measure it.

For example, fill a measuring cup with the proper-sized portion of vegetables, rice, etc. and then empty it onto a plate. That will help you learn what these serving sizes look like.


Instead of trying to memorize lists of ounces, cups, and tablespoons, simply compare the serving sizes of foods to familiar things.

For example, a single serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips is about the size of a cupped handful.
  • Apple is the size of a baseball.
  • Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • Bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • Pancake is the size of a CD.
  • Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
  • Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).

The best way to determine the amount of food in a serving is to look at the Nutrition Facts label and measure it.

For example, fill a measuring cup with the proper-sized portion of vegetables, rice, etc. and then empty it onto a plate. That will help you learn what these serving sizes look like.


Instead of trying to memorize lists of ounces, cups, and tablespoons, simply compare the serving sizes of foods to familiar things.

For example, a single serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips is about the size of a cupped handful.
  • Apple is the size of a baseball.
  • Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • Bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • Pancake is the size of a CD.
  • Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
  • Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).

The best way to determine the amount of food in a serving is to look at the Nutrition Facts label and measure it.

For example, fill a measuring cup with the proper-sized portion of vegetables, rice, etc. and then empty it onto a plate. That will help you learn what these serving sizes look like.


Instead of trying to memorize lists of ounces, cups, and tablespoons, simply compare the serving sizes of foods to familiar things.

For example, a single serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips is about the size of a cupped handful.
  • Apple is the size of a baseball.
  • Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • Bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • Pancake is the size of a CD.
  • Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
  • Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).

The best way to determine the amount of food in a serving is to look at the Nutrition Facts label and measure it.

For example, fill a measuring cup with the proper-sized portion of vegetables, rice, etc. and then empty it onto a plate. That will help you learn what these serving sizes look like.


Instead of trying to memorize lists of ounces, cups, and tablespoons, simply compare the serving sizes of foods to familiar things.

For example, a single serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips is about the size of a cupped handful.
  • Apple is the size of a baseball.
  • Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • Bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • Pancake is the size of a CD.
  • Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
  • Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).

The best way to determine the amount of food in a serving is to look at the Nutrition Facts label and measure it.

For example, fill a measuring cup with the proper-sized portion of vegetables, rice, etc. and then empty it onto a plate. That will help you learn what these serving sizes look like.


Instead of trying to memorize lists of ounces, cups, and tablespoons, simply compare the serving sizes of foods to familiar things.

For example, a single serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips is about the size of a cupped handful.
  • Apple is the size of a baseball.
  • Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • Bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • Pancake is the size of a CD.
  • Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
  • Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).

The best way to determine the amount of food in a serving is to look at the Nutrition Facts label and measure it.

For example, fill a measuring cup with the proper-sized portion of vegetables, rice, etc. and then empty it onto a plate. That will help you learn what these serving sizes look like.


Instead of trying to memorize lists of ounces, cups, and tablespoons, simply compare the serving sizes of foods to familiar things.

For example, a single serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips is about the size of a cupped handful.
  • Apple is the size of a baseball.
  • Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • Bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • Pancake is the size of a CD.
  • Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
  • Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).

The best way to determine the amount of food in a serving is to look at the Nutrition Facts label and measure it.

For example, fill a measuring cup with the proper-sized portion of vegetables, rice, etc. and then empty it onto a plate. That will help you learn what these serving sizes look like.


Instead of trying to memorize lists of ounces, cups, and tablespoons, simply compare the serving sizes of foods to familiar things.

For example, a single serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips is about the size of a cupped handful.
  • Apple is the size of a baseball.
  • Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • Bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • Pancake is the size of a CD.
  • Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
  • Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).

The best way to determine the amount of food in a serving is to look at the Nutrition Facts label and measure it.

For example, fill a measuring cup with the proper-sized portion of vegetables, rice, etc. and then empty it onto a plate. That will help you learn what these serving sizes look like.


Instead of trying to memorize lists of ounces, cups, and tablespoons, simply compare the serving sizes of foods to familiar things.

For example, a single serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips is about the size of a cupped handful.
  • Apple is the size of a baseball.
  • Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • Bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • Pancake is the size of a CD.
  • Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
  • Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).

The best way to determine the amount of food in a serving is to look at the Nutrition Facts label and measure it.

For example, fill a measuring cup with the proper-sized portion of vegetables, rice, etc. and then empty it onto a plate. That will help you learn what these serving sizes look like.