60-Second Science

On Thanksgiving, Smaller Plates for Larger Palates

Cornell's Brian Wansink notes that smaller plates can lead to smaller food intakes, and he has more holiday eating tips. Steve Mirsky reports

As we in approach the Thanksgiving holiday, one major question looms large for millions of large Americans: Are my fat pants fat enough?

Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season foodfest, a six-week stretch when diets and belts will be severely strained. So what can be done to keep the gluttony under something resembling control?

Brian Wansink directs the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab and is the author of the book "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think". His research has revealed that simply serving food on a 10-inch plate rather than a 12-inch plate could lead to a more than 20 percent reduction in calories, with the meal still being satisfying. He also found that even other food researchers ate more than half again as much ice cream if they served themselves with big bowls and big scoops versus smaller bowls and scoops.

You can catch Wansink's tips beyond the smaller plate in a video for the Food Insight Blog, at But as he told Prevention magazine, if there’s one day all year for some guilt-free indulgence, Thanksgiving is it.

—Steve Mirsky

[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast.]

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Starting Thanksgiving

Enter code: HOLIDAY 2015
at checkout

Get 20% off now! >


Email this Article