Plate size – What’s in your Cupboard?

Straight up?  This is a post about the importance of plate size.  In the States, the average dinner plate size has increased by a third since 1960 – from 9 inches to 12 inches.

Bigger plates encourage larger portions and the consumption of more calories.   In 1961, the average US citizen consumed 2,880 calories per day.  By 2013, the total had climbed by 24% to approximately 3,600 calories per day. (source)  The increase is across all food groups, but importantly, vegetable oils account for almost half of the calorie upsurge.

Plate sizes in the USA

In the 1960’s, the average dinner plate was approximately 9 inches across, and held 800 calories comfortably.  By 2009, the average dinner plate size had increased by a third, to approximately 12 inches across holding 1,900 calories.

Plate size history

Portion sizes

Portion sizes have swelled since the 1950s.  Especially at fast food restaurants.

Fast food portions increase since 1950s

Delboeuf illusion

Perception of food portions is important.  Our mind plays tricks on us sometimes.  The Delboeuf illusion shows that the mind will misjudge relative sizes.  For example, the two black dots below are the same size, but the mind will tell us that the solid dot is larger.


Delboeuf illusion
Source: Wikipedia


This same illusion is true regarding food portions on plates.  The same, satisfying portion of food will appear smaller on a larger plate.  This can lead to overfilling the plate, increasing portion sizes and total calories.  “Right sized” plates will help with portion control and total calories consumed, with the same satisfaction.




Living a healthy life has it’s challenges.  One, relatively easy step towards eating better is having “right sized” plates.

Spanish dinner plates from GringoCool
Our “European” size dinner plates that hold a healthy and satisfying portion of food.

Right Sized Plates from Cactus Canyon Ceramics

We are proud to offer several collections of handcrafted and hand painted Spanish dishes.  Our plates and serving dishes are “right sized” for most households.  Our White Terracotta Collection and our Terracotta Tierra Collection each include:

“European Sized” Dinner Plates (Sets of 5):  Our dinner plates measure a little over 9 inches across.  They are perfect size for a healthy, delicious portions.

Salad Plates (Sets of 5):  Our salad plates measure approximately 8 inches across.  They similar in size to most other “salad” plates in the market.  I find them a wonderful “go-to” for breakfast and for eating alone.  Just the right size – not to big and not small.

Tapa Plates (Sets of 5):  These beautiful “small” plates are perfect for bite size snacks or small portions of appetizers.  You can not clutter these little beauties with food.  They hold very little.  But sometimes when snacking, socializing and partying, you need little plates for “grazing” from table to table.  Another little know fact about our tapa plates, is that they balance easily on top of a wine glass, or a cup.  So you have one hand free to snack or refill the plate when you are socializing.

Spanish plates hand painted
Terracotta Tierra Collection Plate Sets from Cactus Canyon Ceramics


Spanish plates hand painted
White Terracotta Collection Dinner Plate Set of 5


Our terracotta collections also include serving dishes, dipping bowls and a 2 quart, hand thrown pitcher.  everything is hand painted in Andalusia, Spain.

Terracotta White Collection from Cactus Canyon Ceramics
Top view of pieces offered in our White Terracotta Collection


Check us out at our online store (, or for your convenience, on at amazon (search for “Cactus Canyon Ceramics”).

Thanks for reading.  Comments and questions are always welcome.  – Steve





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