I found a recent article very interesting, because it goes against everything we are told about single serving foods, basically that they will help us eat less. The thought has been that small single-serving packaged foods encourage us to eat just a portion and be done with it. The article, Overindulgence in Small Packages, reports on a study that involved snacking by two groups of students. One group was given full size bags of chips and the other group got a number of single serving bags. I would think that the single servings would be helpful, but in fact the students were less inhibited about eating more from the smaller packages. It was actually easier for them to open a new package, presumably because each one contains fewer calories than the big bag.
The article gave me a new perspective on this topic. I can see how the bigger packages could inhibit some people from overeating, but I also see that many of my clients find the small portions a great way to increase awareness of their calorie intake. Opening a new package signals an intake of additional calories, whereas eating out a big package makes mindless eating all too easy. I would recommend that you take an honest look at how small and large packages affect your calorie intake, and then do what makes sense for you. Studies are performed using groups of people, and the results reflect the majority, not always everyone.
Another interesting point is that this was a market research study designed to give information to manufacturers of snack foods. I doubt that potato chip companies will be using this information to help you with your weight control goals. Something tells me we will see more snacks in cute little packages. Hopefully you are one of those people who will benefit from the single serving containers. I would love to hear opinions on this topic.