Monday, October 6, 2008


As many of you know, I attend a diabetic clinic every other week. It's been an interesting learning experience. This last meeting we discussed making wise choices while eating out. Of course, part of that discussion revolved around portion size.

When our facilitator pointed out that a ten ounce steak was about twice as much as the guys should be eating and three times what the women should eat, the women just nodded and went on with the program, but the fellows... well, they were not happy.

The house hunk and I regularly order one entree plus two extra vegetables and split the entree. We've done that for several years now. A nice little seven ounce steak is perfect. One baked potato cut in half. Two salads and a side order of broccoli or green beans for me. If we decide to indulge in dessert, we choose on that we both like. Of course, we rarely choose dessert and when we do, we seldom finish it, but sometimes you just want a little taste of something sweet.

When we leave the restaurant, we aren't hungry! As a matter of fact we often time it so that we will be doing some chore afterward that requires some walking (like grocery shopping!)

I've spent considerable thought on the super-sizing of America. When did that happen? When did more become the norm? And why are we so shy about speaking up? I don't have a problem asking the wait person to bring me a take-out container with my meal. Box up half before beginning to eat. Then I won't need to cook the next night, either.

I asked one of my favorite hamburger places why they didn't have a small french fry order. The fellow pointed to the menu and said, "We do!" A small order of fries in this joint fills a brown paper bag (lunch size). When we eat there, I count out fifteen fries. The house hunk counts out his fries. Then we toss a bag of perfectly good food in the trash. Yes, I know that hurts my friend Kelly, but damaging my own health by eating it will not feed starving people anywhere in the world. It won't. By tossing it in the trash, it makes a point with the restaurant, though. Less is sometimes more.

Calories and fat aside, we all eat too much. When we eat at buffets I'm convinced that there is some psychological reason for us to fill four or five plates with food and eat it when we would never do that at home. Have you ever watched people eat at a buffet? They act as though they haven't eaten in months.

Why is it so hard to buy a small meal in our country? Of course we could order from the children's menu, but quite frankly, their menus are far unhealthier than the adult menus. Really. Check it out.

I suspect that things won't change until attitudes change. And attitudes won't change as long as men (in particular) associate eating a lot with being manly. Masculinity is not determined by how much you can stuff in your face. Femininity is not determined by how much we stuff in our kids.

'nuff said. I'll get off my soapbox now.



  1. It's puzzling isn't it? We as Americans know it wasn't always that way, and perhaps even know ways to get around the system - as you do with your husband. But think about how people from other countries think about America. I've had more than one person from Europe comment to me on how incredible and outlandish they find portion sizes in American restaurants. Everyone wants value for money, but *come on*...

  2. I believe as all western countries have large aging populations, it will only be due to massive health care problems/cost that government will be forced to act in educating people by withdrawing funding from them or the fast food companies - or be adding monetary incentive to eat right

  3. For a restaurant, the food is the least expensive part of serving a customer. So they give these huge portions so that we feel like we're getting more for our money. Even if we don't, can't, or shouldn't eat it all.

    I would love to see a restaurant shrink its serving sizes to proper portions, leave prices the same, and donate the cost of the food they're not serving to an organization that feeds the hungry. It would change how people think about eating, eating out, and eating too much.

  4. When I eat out, I order soup and a side or eat off the appetizer menu. We wind up choosing places with an extensive appetizer list so that I don't have to have one of five different fried things.

    And yeah, the kids' menu is almost always the same: chicken fingers, mac n' cheese, pizza, hamburger, or fried something.

    We always have take home boxes. It looks like we are leaving with more than we consumed.

  5. When my sis lived in Japan, she said the buffet craze had just hit, and that Asians were now experiencing weight gain.

    At our fav Chinese Buffet, they offer crab legs on the weekends. We literaly watched another table full of adults eat pile after pile. They were there when we arrived, and were still there when we left! My daughter went up to get a plate of the c-legs, and was rudely jostled aside when they brought out a fresh pan by these idiot adults pigging out on the fresh seafood.

    And yes, if I can't finish my meal at a regular restaurant, I love the doggie bags! Lunch the next day:)

    When I worked at the country club, it used to amuse me to see parents who would order chicken fingers and fries for their kids; yet the chicken was always being sent home in the box. I make my kids eat the meat first.

  6. There are places in this area that won't let you order from the children's menu unless you have a child with you.

  7. I travel with teenaged boys. I only get to take my leftovers (usually half my meal) home if I order something they don't like. Sigh.

    When we went to an Italian place with my in-laws, and one of the boys wasn't feeling good, I had THREE lunches, and T had an afternoon snack (about the size of two of my meals) off the leftovers.

    It wasn't wasted, but does seem kind of silly.

  8. Seriously good point. I wish places would start downsizing a little.

  9. Since I joined WW a while back, and then went on my own "program", I've found it nearly impossible to eat out! Gluttony. I order appetizers now as my meal, or even a kid's meal. I once had a doc hold out his hands and say "this is how big your stomach is", then he held out one hand and said "this is how much food you need to feel full." Big cars, big foods, big houses, big debt, big health problems. I'm downsizing.
    xoxo Anny, hope you are well.

  10. I've learned more and more about portions in the last few months and what I've learned is that if I eat aware, not blindly stuffing food in my mouth while I read, watch a movie or drive, I don't need as much. I started u sing small chinese rice bowls for bowl portions and salad plates for dinner plates. These are more reasonable for size and I've seen results. We tend to forget our food is supposed to fit inside the rim of the plate, not overlap it.

  11. Have you watched "Supersize Me" na expose about McDonalds? It's eye opening.

    Your diabetic clinic advice sounds very much like Weight Watchers'. I have to get back into it all the way.