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It seems obvious that eating smaller portions will make us lose weight, yet there’s nothing more depressing than seeing your giant dinner plate with a tiny cluster of leaves in the middle.

When we have our favorite food in front of us, be it pizza or cake, or whatever other not-so-healthy concoction we love, we convince ourselves we’ll just have a few bites and push it away, but rarely do. After all, our moms always instructed us to clear our plate…

Research recently published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research has found that simply eating off smaller plates will reduce the amount of food we consume. In fact, the study discovered that halving the plate size led to a reduction of about 30% in food consumed. A full plate of food, even a smaller plate, leads us to feeling full sooner.

“Here's my 2 cents: We are visual eaters, so eating the same amount of food on a regular plate vs. for example, a salad plate, the smaller plate ‘appears’ to have more food,” says Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, MS RD CDN CDE, a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. Plus, it’s just basic math – less space, less room for food, you just eat less.

“Based on this study by just changing your plate size you can reduce calories by 30%. This is significant -- if dinner has 700 calories on a large plate, by just changing to a smaller plate you'll eat 210 calories less. This 700-calorie meal now clocks in at 490 calories and can equal a 21-pound weight loss over a year!” says Malkoff-Cohen. We’re into that.