Dietary Assessment of Shared Plate Eating: A Missing Link

Nutrients. 2019 Apr 5;11(4):789. doi: 10.3390/nu11040789.


Shared plate eating is a defining feature of the way food is consumed in some countries and cultures. Food may be portioned to another serving vessel or directly consumed into the mouth from a centralised dish rather than served individually onto a discrete plate for each person. Shared plate eating is common in some low- and lower-middle income countries (LLMIC). The aim of this narrative review was to synthesise research that has reported on the assessment of dietary intake from shared plate eating, investigate specific aspects such as individual portion size or consumption from shared plates and use of technology in order to guide future development work in this area. Variations of shared plate eating that were identified in this review included foods consumed directly from a central dish or shared plate food, served onto additional plates shared by two or more people. In some settings, a hierarchical sharing structure was reported whereby different family members eat in turn from the shared plate. A range of dietary assessment methods have been used in studies assessing shared plate eating with the most common being 24-h recalls. The tools reported as being used to assist in the quantification of food intake from shared plate eating included food photographs, portion size images, line drawings, and the carrying capacity of bread, which is often used rather than utensils. Overall few studies were identified that have assessed and reported on methods to assess shared plate eating, highlighting the identified gap in an area of research that is important in improving understanding of, and redressing dietary inadequacies in LLMIC.

Keywords: dietary assessment; lower middle income countries; shared plate eating.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Portion Size*