Portion control tableware has been described as a potentially effective approach for weight management, however the mechanisms by which these tools work remain unknown. We explored the processes by which a portion control (calibrated) plate with visual stimuli for starch, protein and vegetable amounts modulates food intake, satiety and meal eating behaviour. Sixty-five women (34 with overweight/obesity) participated in a counterbalanced cross-over trial in the laboratory, where they self-served and ate a hot meal including rice, meatballs and vegetables, once with a calibrated plate and once with a conventional (control) plate. A sub-sample of 31 women provided blood samples to measure the cephalic phase response to the meal. Effects of plate type were tested through linear mixed-effect models. Meal portion sizes (mean ± SD) were smaller for the calibrated compared with the control plate (served: 296 ± 69 vs 317 ± 78 g; consumed: 287 ± 71 vs 309 ± 79 g respectively), especially consumed rice (69 ± 24 vs 88 ± 30 g) (p < 0.05 for all comparisons). The calibrated plate significantly reduced bite size (3.4 ± 1.0 vs 3.7 ± 1.0 g; p < 0.01) in all women and eating rate (32.9 ± 9.5 vs 33.7 ± 9.2 g/min; p < 0.05), in lean women. Despite this, some women compensated for the reduced intake over the 8 h following the meal. Pancreatic polypeptide and ghrelin levels increased post-prandially with the calibrated plate but changes were not robust. Plate type had no influence on insulin, glucose levels, or memory for portion size. Meal size was reduced by a portion control plate with visual stimuli for appropriate amounts of starch, protein and vegetables, potentially because of the reduced self-served portion size and the resulting reduced bite size. Sustained effects may require the continued use of the plate for long-term impact.