Graduate Program

Nutrition and Dietetics

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Tamatha (Lisa) L. Brooks


Lack of portion control is one of the main causes of obesity. Restaurants offer portions larger than recommended by the USDA. This can lead to portion distortion among consumers and increased consumption. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of offering a to-go box before a meal on reducing consumption.

In this quasi-experimentally designed study, a convenience sample of diners (N=35) served as subjects. The experimental group (n=18) was offered a to-go box before the meal, and the control group (n=17) was offered a to-go box after the meal. The food was weighed before and after the dining occasions to measure consumption, and a survey was administered to measure satiety, portion size awareness, and health awareness.

There were no significant differences between groups in the amount consumed during of the meal (p= 0.06) and their feelings of satiation (p=0.20), although there were minor correlations established between consumption in relation to portion size awareness and health awareness.

The results of the study did not support the hypothesis that offering a to-go box before a meal would decrease consumption. This could have been due to confounding factors, such as the significant difference in age (p=0.007) between the cohorts and diners' unfamiliarity with receiving a box before the meal. Replicating the study with a better representative sample could possibly yield significant results.