Pick your Plates
You probably think that it’s only the food on your plate that counts, but the plate matters, too. Several studies have shown that the crockery you use can make a huge difference to how you perceive the taste of food, and how much of it you eat.
US researchers from Cornell University served an identical brownie to three different groups of people: one group had it served on a china plate, the second on a paper plate and the third on a napkin. The better the presentation, the better people thought the brownie tasted.
The size of the plate is also important, as another Cornell study demonstrated. When a fixed portion of food was presented on a large plate, diners felt they had been given a smaller-than-average portion, so ate more. The same portion served on a smaller dish appeared more substantial, so they ate less.
Similarly, a study published in the British Medical Journal discovered that people poured 20-30 per cent more alcohol into short, wide glasses than they did when they used taller, thinner ones.
Finally, further Cornell research has shown that you’re likely to eat less if the food on your plate is a different colour from the plate, and if the tablecloth matches the plate. Probably best to write that all down before you head to John Lewis’s homeware department.
If you’re trying to eat healthier foods that don’t necessarily appeal, make the effort to serve them nicely on good crockery. Bin the huge trendy platters and serve up your dinner on a side plate instead. So, to sum up, serve your pre-dinner G&T in a highball, pick a white tablecloth, serve your spaghetti bolognese on a small white plate and a salad on a large green plate. OK? Tuck in...