6 years ago I looked at some dishes I inherited from my great grandmother-- they were her everyday dishes from the 30's and they were noticeably smaller. I purchased a set of dishes that matched the size of hers and that was the first change I made into a healthier lifestyle.
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If you want a serving of ice cream or other indulgence, try using an old coffee
cup (not the "mega-mugs" so common now) or other similar dish as a bowl. I have an old set of dishes where the coffee cups are 8 ounces. It's easier to estimate the appropriate portion size with smaller dishes. You can also use other non-traditional dishes/containers that hold less than today's larger plates/bowls/mugs. Goodwill and antique stores may have smaller dishes, just be sure that anything you use is LABELED SAFE FOR FOOD, so that you aren't exposed to unsafe coatings or dyes.
Not an earth-shaking suggestion, but having a "special" container helps make smaller portions look better and helps train the eye to recognize what appropriate portion sizes look like.
I'm sure we've all heard the suggestion of using smaller dishes, but how about smaller silverware. Using a salad fork instead of a dinner fork and a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon to encourage slower eating for people who have become accustomed to inhaling their food (like me). I've noticed it makes a big difference--especially with using a smaller spoon.
I use children's size dishes when I serve my own food. When I can, I also use chopsticks to eat. The smaller dishes really do help to visualize a larger portion of food and I feel more satisfied with my meal.
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