According to research done by Brian Wansink of Cornell University, changing size and color of plates and glasses can make enough look like enough (not less). Studies have shown that smaller plates make healthy portions look more satisfying than when they are surrounded by the empty space of oversized plates. The same goes for drinks in tall skinny glasses (compared to wider ones). The more space we give ourselves, the more likely we are to try to fill it up and then eat it all.
When there is a bunch of food on our plate, we eat and eat and eat and eat until it's all gone. This is because our visual cues of what is left on the plate reach our brain before our stomach can signal that we're full. If we cut down how much we put on our plate and give our brain time to process the stimulus, then we could avoid stomachaches from eating too much.
But how do we cut these portions without making people feel cheated when they're paying money at restaurants and fast food places? At Duke University, they have a theory: The focus of a dish is the entre, right? So instead of taking away from the main attraction, portions of side dishes (that are often packed with calories) can be reduced with little, if any, notice.
At a glance, the portions above look the same but there's actually about half the amount of rice in the picture on the right. The light color of the plate and the rice gives the illusion that there's more than if it were to be set on a dark plate. Also, the entre is what probably got your attention initially. If you don't focus on what's missing and pay more attention to your stomach's cues, portion control could be a piece of cake.
Cutting back doesn't mean starving yourself; it means taking control and adapting to the way your brain and body works so that you maximize the nutrition you get from every meal. Most of us don't have the self-control to throw away perfectly tasty food. Adopting these simple tips will help lessen the amount you eat and how much you end up wasting once you do realize that you are way too full to eat another yummy bite.