Quantity vs. quality. It's an age-old debate. But when it comes to food it's best to side with the latter. It can be easy to mindlessly overeat, especially when we're presented with a limitless amount of simple, one-note food that doesn't require you to stop and appreciate the flavour, smell, and texture of quality ingredients. But when we serve quality, complex food and put some thought into how we're presenting our meals, we can't help but appreciate it a bit more. Learn to eat less and appreciate by following these twelve simple tips.
Consider the vessel
The choice of eating vessel can make a big difference in portioning out food. A low, shallow bowl will do a better job of displaying your meal than a big, deep bowl.
Vintage is best
Have you ever noticed how modern plates and bowls are so much larger than the plates that your parents or grandparents used? According to the Small Plate Movement, switching from a 12-inch plate to a 10-inch plate can help you shave off 22% of your portion size! Scour some flea markets to find some beautiful old plates that you will enjoy eating from.
Add some contrast
Studies show that when your plate is a different colour from your food, you eat less. Mix and match your plates to feature many different colours.
Divide it up
If you’re having three different components to your meal (for example, a protein, a starch and salad), consider serving each on a different plate: put your salad in a bowl, your potatoes on a small plate and your entrée on another plate. You’ll feel like you’ve eaten a special, three-course meal.
Go tall and thin… for glasses
Studies show that tall and skinny glassware has more perceived volume than lower, thicker glasses.
Do as the Spanish do
In Barcelona, the locals drink beer from small glasses, called cañas because they know that by using this glass, their last sip of beer will still be cold. Doesn’t that sound infinitely more enjoyable than a giant pint of lukewarm beer?
Re-plate your take-away
Instead of eating out of styrofoam containers or using paper plates, try serving any takeout food you order in plates and bowls that you'd normally use for dinner. This way you'll get a clearer idea of how much food you're actually consuming and not overeat.
Leave food in its natural state
Roasted or steamed mini carrots that still have some of their tops will slow you down. A salad made from romaine lettuce hearts takes longer to eat when the lettuce has not been cut. Eating fruit in its whole state will help you slow down and savour each bite. Eat a kiwi by scooping the flesh out of the peel; a lychee nut can be slowly peeled and enjoyed; a pomegranate can be enjoyed seed by seed.
Put it in a bowl
A morning smoothie can become more enjoyable by pouring it into a bowl and adding some sliced fruit overtop. When eaten with a spoon, the experience of eating is slower and all the more sublime.
Embrace big flavours
Salmon is known as the “dieter’s fish” because it's strong flavour and richness stops you from eating too much of it. The same idea can be applied to vegetables – fennel has a strong, clean taste that is best enjoyed in smaller quantities; a bold cheese like Stilton gives a flavour punch that is only needed in small amounts.
But keep it simple
Try to keep your meal to three elements – for example, a protein entrée, a starch and a salad. Studies show that the more tastes we have, the more we eat.
Save it for tomorrow
If you’re crazy for a particular taste on your plate, and want to eat more, remind yourself that you can have this same food tomorrow if you want to. The science backs this up – one study found that when students were given crackers, the students who ate the most crackers reported less enjoyment than the students who ate fewer crackers.