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4/18/13blog post

how big is your dinner plate?

A study conducted by Temple University Department of Public Health in Philadelphia researched if the size of the dinner plate made a difference in the energy intakes of children. Did you know obesity affects 17% of children? A group of first graders served themselves their lunches on either adult sized plates or kid sized-portion plates. The findings: the children eating off the adult sized plates served themselves more food and ate 50-90 more calories at the meals! When favorite entrees were being served, they ate even more!

Figure 50-90 calories extra a meal for 2-3 meals a day…that can add up to a weight gain of a pound over one month. It’s a science: energy in (via food) related to energy out (via activity) equals weight status.

This study supports that portion sizes are truly important to healthy eating habits and our waist belts. It also supports the reality of our busy lifestyles, the lack of time to plan for healthy food and to eat mindfully.

Changing plate sizes is a common tip we do use here at Dayton Children’s with our children and families to curb intakes. In our own home, we often set the table with all of us eating off the salad plates – and noting to choose one helping.

Bottom line: As parents, it is our job to help our children learn healthy eating habits AND healthy food options. Giving our kids the tools – one simply being making the dinner plate smaller – can help all family members curb their overall food intakes.