Today’s news included a new study citing our ability to serve ourselves more or less food based on the contrast, or lack of contrast of the plate on which we serve ourselves. The upshot? The more contrast between the food and the plate the better. The closer the plate resembles the color of the food, the more we serve ourselves.
Good Morning America did a swell test with this, finding that indeed, the more closely the food color matched the plate color, the more we served ourselves. We tend to pour on a couple of extra ounces of food, which can quickly add up to additional pounds per year (joy).
This research is nothing new, however. If you like reading about this sort of thing, check out the wonderful book, Mindless Eating, by Brian Wansink. Sounds like a diet book but it’s an beautifully written book (now cheap at $8 in mass market paperback!) about experiments showing that we respond with our eyes rather than our tummies a lot more than we think. Glass size, tub size, plate size — it all makes a huge difference. The experiments, along with Wansink’s jocular prose make for a surprisingly entertaining read. The endless soup bowl experiment is hilarious, and the stale popcorn experiment is not to be missed.
Keep your dinner plates smaller than a charger (the huge plate that usually goes under a dinner plate and is more like a platter). Blue provides the most contrast from food since there’s not a lot of blue food out there. Or white, provided you get a little color in your eating life.