Varying the size of our plate has a big effect on the amount of food we eat but only if self-served or portions are in line with plate size, research says.
Using smaller plates may help lose any extra kilos gained over the festive season, say researchers.
Varying the size of our plate has a considerable effect on the amount of food we eat, according to a Deakin University meta-analysis of 56 studies involving 3507 participants.
But that's only if we serve up the food ourselves or if the supplied portion has been varied in line with the plate size.
The study was published in the inaugural issue of the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.
It found that a doubling of plate size increased the amount self-served or the amount consumed by 41 per cent.
But the plate size had no effect on the amount consumed if the dishes contained the same portion size.
Plate size was found to have a stronger effect when participants were unaware they were taking part in a food study.
Professor Chris Dubelaar said one reason people are eating more is because portions, plates and packages are larger.
"Continual use of smaller plate sizes may be both habit forming and good for our health," he said.