Sunday, June 5, 2011

MyPlate – Size Matters

Updated 3/2017-- photos and all links (except to my own posts) removed as many no longer active. 

The new food “pyramid” was unveiled this past Thursday.  It is now in a much simpler form – a plate.  What I didn’t find defined at the ChooseMyPlate website is the plate size. 
So I googled “standard dinner plate size.”  Here is the answer:
It can be helpful to know the manufacturers intended use for an item, but it is important to remember that you can use the item in whatever way that works for you!
Dinner plate 10 to 10 3/4"
Luncheon plate 9 to 9 1/2"
Salad plate 8 to 8 3/4"
Bread and butter plate 5 to 7 3/4" (usually about 6")
When found, dessert plates are generally somewhere between salad plates and bread and butter plates in size. Dessert plates are not common, so the salad plate doubles as a dessert plate in most patterns.
Another size that you might see in a pattern is one that is larger than a dinner plate. These are frequently call buffet plates, service plates or chargers and are usually 11" to 12" in diameter.

Chris Maddera makes this point in his essay:  The Psychology of Dinner Plates  (bold emphasis is mine)
….the size of our dinner plates was a major contributing factor of Americans becoming overweight.
Here’s the way it works: the diameter of a typical American dinner plate is 11 inches; the diameter of a typical European dinner plate is 9 inches. πr2 shows that the 2-inch difference amounts to the 11-inch plate having 50% more surface area than the 9-inch plate. If, like most people, you fill your plate, you’re putting 50% more food on it than a person with the 9-inch plate.
This means we’re eating 50% more food, since we usually eat whatever is on our plates. Or, to look at it differently, we feel full when our plate is empty.
By the way, some restaurants use 13-inch plates, which means it’s twice as big as the 9-inch plate.

Size of the plate matters as does the choice of food we put on it.  Don’t use the larger plates for your children or if you are a petite female.  Consider not covering up the entire surface area.
And don’t forget to get up and move – walk, swim, dance, bowl, etc. 


Bob Coffield said...

Great point on the size of plates. This was one of my dad's biggest crusades as a physician discussing health issues with his patients who were overweight. The size of plates (now serving plates are used at many restaurants as plates)is probably the number one cause of our overweightness. We have some old china from the early 1900s and it is amazing to look at the difference in size of the plates and cups.

Another point that I would add is the size of glasses/cups that are used. Growing up I remember the 6 ounce size glass being uses as the standard restaurant size used where now the default is 24 ounces.

Finally, check out the Portion Plate. This plate has been available for a number of years by a WV based employer wellness company, BeBetter. The plate uses standard images to convey to the user the right "portion" amount. For example, one cup of fruit or vegetables equals a baseball size on your plate. Check them out here:

Thanks for the great post Raymona.

rlbates said...

Great points, Bob. Thanks for adding them.

BrainDame said...

In the end, it is all about serving size. Dieting by eliminating whole food groups (such as Atkins) will never succeed long term as these styles of eating are unsustainable. Eating good, real food in proper proportions does work! (Having lost more than 40 pounds this past year, I can attest to its success)

SeaSpray said...

Great post!

I have been trying to use luncheon plates for myself vs dinner.

Older now and so weight doesn't come off as quickly ...even tho I know I am usually eating less. I can hardly believe that at my worst I would eat a full dinner plate and go for seconds. Now I fill up with a lunch plate and sometimes before finish that!

But ...I have a problem in that I am naturally NOT hungry all day and then tend to eat late at night. Seems from dinner on once I start ..i want to keep eating and then repeat cycle next day. I love whole grains, etc. I do eat quality food ..but still have sugar, etc...just not as much as before.

So ..I suppose I've made some modifications but not what I truly need to do for consistent and faster success. And sometimes feels futile. I am also diabetic (niddm) and so should not skip daytime meals. Old habit from HS days.

I KNOW what to do. Lots of head knowledge ..but ...

So idea is to go to a hospital nutritionist and may help to be accountable and have someone design a plan for me. And ..need to exercise more. Supposed to have physical at end of week and was thinking of asking for a script for nutritionist.

Sorry so long ...just on my mind a lot these days. I HAVE to succeed.

I like Mediterannean diet as I like the foods and most doable.

Thanks for the post Ramona!

SeaSpray said...

PS - I think the food group plate is a better visual.

SeaSpray said...

BrainDame - I wholeheartedly agree with you!

I recently was considering the Duken (sp?) Diet because I could see where weight would come off ...but then I had a reality check and realized that when younger, I constantly went to extremes to lose weight instead of just eating normally and I got heavier in the end.

One would think that just eating normally would be easy why is it so hard? if skipping meals and doing crazy diets is easy in the short term ...even though seriously deprived ...then why is it so hard to just be consistent and eat 3 tasty/healthy meals and 3 tasty/healthy snacks? And exercise and get good amount of sleep?

That's all we have to do.

Chrysalis said...

It seems that the ADA differs from this plate method in your article.

I thought that the ADA recommended 1/2 the plate be vegetables, 1/4 of the plate be your protein, and the last 1/4 be your carb.

Also, the height of the plate of food was to be no higher than a deck of cards. Adhering to this, was to help keep bg levels as consistent as possible.

Am I mistaken? Are there two plate methods, one for the general population and one recommended for diabetics?

rlbates said...

Not sure, CA, about the ADA and the new MyPlate differences.

Chrysalis said...

Thanks for answering, Ramona. You know I'm the curious type. If anyone does know, I'd appreciate the information.

I wondered about this plate method, because fruits and grains, in the same meal, may raise the bg levels too much for a diabetic.

For diabetics trying to regulate their bg levels through diet and exercise, I would think the "Choose My Plate" method might work like having two carbs (fruits and grains) in a meal for these people. My understanding is that, that would not be a good thing in those cases.

I wonder if I am mistaken.