The other day I attended a webinar given by Brian Wansink, PhD, Cornell professor of consumer behavior and nutritional sciences. The name of the webinar was called from Mindless Munching to Mindless Eating. This title immediately grabbed my attention as I am one who preaches the benefits of mindful eating and being present at mealtimes to ensure that you are enjoying your food and listening for internal hunger cues. So from the title I assumed the author would not agree with the mindful eating strategy, however this was not true, as the author purely opened my eyes to another healthy living strategy to use with my patients and myself.
The author mainly studies the effect that our dinnerware has on the food choices we make. Specifically Mr. Wansink studies how the size of our plates, bowls, and cups as well as what we place on our dinner table effect the amount we eat. The research Mr. Wansink completed was an experiment in which he gave 60 participants a bowl of soup; half got regular 22 oz bowls while the other half received 22 oz bottomless bowls in which the bowl would slowly refill through a pressure fed hose under the table. This study found that those with the bottomless bowls ate 73% more until stopping yet they didn’t think they ate more!
For those looking to take control of overeating and bingeing, changing the size of your bowls, plates, and cups can help you to control overeating and lessen anxiety about eating a healthy portion. This simple change is one that you only think about once (when purchasing dinnerware) and then you don’t have to think about it again. In conjunction with therapy and strategies of mindful eating, the right dinnerware can help make healthy changes more accessible and less intimidating. In time, you can rely just on your internal hunger and satiety cues.