There are many contributing factors to the rising rate of obesity globally, and growing portion size is a big one. In the U.S., the average plate size has creeped up from nine inches in diameter to 12 since the 1950s--and portions have expanded with the plates.
Research published in the journal Appetite showed that using larger plates correlates with eating more calories. Entrepreneur Tatyana Beldock combined this research with nutrition recommendations from Harvard to create a plate that helps you to plan your portions visually. Slim & Sage uses pretty geometric designs that divide the plate into quarters.
"Interlaced lines hide the recommended portion of one-quarter lean protein, one-quarter whole grains, and one-half vegetables," said Elizabeth Kline, who works on marketing for Sage & Slim. "If customers follow food guidelines by filling your plate with the recommended low energy dense foods, such as lean meats, veggies, and whole grains, people will stay fuller for longer periods of time."
In other words, these plates might help you eat fewer calories without really changing your diet, just by reducing the quantity.
The cost of obesity not only takes a toll on financial resources, but also on natural resources. For example, one study found that a 10 percent increase in the percent of people overweight in the U.S. corresponded with a 2.5 percent decrease in miles per gallon of new vehicle purchases. So, bigger people appear to be buying bigger cars (although there are definitely some confounding variables too).
It's often easy to see how activities like commuting by bike and eating less meat have benefits for both our bodies and the environment, but seeing how unhealthy habits negatively impact the environment can be harder to tease out. Creative efforts like this not only help people be healthier, but also the planet.
The Slim & Sage plates are a very cool idea, but they're made in China and come with a $99.00 price tag for a set of four. I wonder how they might translate into a downloadable design that could be made with local materials. Perhaps there's an awesome printable stencil business in their future.