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The move for smaller portions in restaurants

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Old 06-04-2006, 10:28 AM   #1
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Default The move for smaller portions in restaurants

Pulled this poll question and calculated results from myway.com. Today's poll is asking whether or not restaurants should serve smaller portions. The results, so far, are as follows.

A new report funded by the Food and Drug Administration suggests that restaurants should serve smaller portions. The report concludes that since burgers, fries and pizza are the favorite "eating-out" foods in the United States, restaurants are in prime position to help improve people's diets and combat obesity. (AP)

Do you agree or disagree with the report's recommendation that restaurants serve smaller portions?
39% Agree
56% Disagree
4% say they're not sure.

I'll look at the poll later to see if the numbers change. But so far the majority of people disagree. And, in a way, I can understand why. When you go into a restaurant and pay for a meal, you don't want your plate coming back with hardly nothing on it. In a way I disagree as well. I believe it's up to us to exercise portion control. Eat half the meal, take the other half home. But if we want to sit and eat all of it, that's our choice too. I don't believe it's a restaurant's responsibility to force people to eat less to combat obesity. That's OUR responsibility.

However, there are some restaurants that are out of control with the portions. But apparently, many people seem to like it that way.

Do you agree with the possibility that restaurants may be forced to serve smaller portions? Or do you think it's just another control issue?
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Old 06-04-2006, 11:00 AM   #2
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Let me clarify what I mean by "control issue."

Hypothetically speaking, let's say all food manufacturers took every single one of their products and made them lowfat or fat-free. Or all sugar-free, for that matter. Every single product in the grocery store is now diet-conscious. Your regular versions of your favorite foods are now gone and you're 'forced' to eat all fat-free and sugar-free.

Basically, they would be controlling what we eat. And that's something I don't agree with.

I realize obsesity is a growing problem (I used to be one of them) but it wasn't a grocery store that made me fat, it wasn't a restaurant that made me fat, it was ME that made me fat.

I think what would help is better education out there to allow people to gain better knowledge of how to eat right. Actually, there *is* the information out there, the internet is a sea of knowledge. I think the people who could stick their necks out a little more to help are places like Curves and Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig and those 'diet plan' organizations that sometimes charge an arm and a leg. More people would like to join these organizations, but they simply can't afford it. Buying the meals gets too expensive, for one thing. Although I personally don't believe in diets, it's at least a place where people can get a start and learn how to eat better for life.

Also, food manufacturers that make these 'diet foods' could help by lowering prices on their items. The 'diet' versions of many food products are anywhere from $1 to $5 higher than their full-fat counterparts. They literally force us to pay more money to eat healthier. That discourages people as well because they look at the full-fat product as opposed to the diet version and end up grabbing the full-fat version because it's less expensive.

Make it EASIER for people to eat healthy. I think that would be a good start.
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Old 06-04-2006, 11:08 AM   #3
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I for one would LOVE if restaurants would serve smaller portions. It's just so tempting to keep on eating when a big, delicious plate of food is in front of you. While a take-home box sounds like a nice idea, how often do we say things to ourselves like "Oh, there's just not quite enough to make a second meal, so maybe I'll just finish it" or "Leftovers are just never as good so I'll think I'll just eat this while it's hot and fresh" or " I paid for all this food, i wouldn't want it going to waste", etc, etc, etc.

What I would really like to see are OPTIONS. I love places that have begun selling 1/2 size portions, 'lite' bites, or even meals split for two. That way if you come in starved and you really feel like you need the large portion, you can have it. Otherwise, you can be satisfied with the smaller version and hopefully end up saving some money on food that was probably just going straight to your thighs anyway!!

Well, that's my 2 cents!
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Old 06-04-2006, 12:06 PM   #4
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We need to realize that the makers of "diet" foods are, just like every other industry, in it for the money. The same with Jenny Craig, Curves and WW. They aren't non-profit community service organizations. They've discovered that people who diet are a customer base that can always be counted on to join, buy, switch, and try everything.

We also need to realize that the choice is ours. We don't HAVE to eat in restaurants. And when we choose to, we can eat half the plate and take the other half for another meal, or we can order a side salad or soup or something else. We don't even have to give our money to chains who make their money on giant, fatladen, cheese-topped platters of empty calories.

We need to understand that we are in control of what we put into our mouths. We are the ones who want to lose weight --the diet and food industries are just competing for our money.

My 2 cents!
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Old 06-04-2006, 12:16 PM   #5
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Amen Dinahgirl! While I agree it would be nice not to be tempted with large portions and maybe have choices, I really agree that ultimately it is up to us. We need to be in control and if we can't, well, stay at home and make a healthy salad.
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Old 06-04-2006, 12:47 PM   #6
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Isn't it the consumers choice as to whether or not they finish a plate. When I order food at a place where I know the portions are on the larger size I automatically cut the food in half so I know when I am done. I also must give props to those restaurants with half-portions or even a light menu. I also know that at some places you can always ask for a lunch menu. Two examples are Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Even so... It never hurts to ask.

As i stated though portion control is the responsibility of yourself not a restaurant. An example would be me today. We went to a place where I knew the portions were huge. I wanted a cheesesteak so bad, but knew i didn't want all that bread that was for sure. I asked for it to be served in a whole wheat wrap and still cut the cheesesteak in half and even shared my half with my one year old. Of course this is a place where the steaks are so big that my DH only ate 1/4 of his steak.

Ok climbing off the soapbox now!
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Old 06-04-2006, 01:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinahgirl
We need to realize that the makers of "diet" foods are, just like every other industry, in it for the money.
Yeah, but they could be a little more forgiving, lol.

Not that I use any diet plans or anything like that, but I've heard several people say they'd do it if they could only afford it.

However, that's quite possibly an excuse. I know it was one of mine.

Now that I eat healthier, I go ahead and pay the extra money for the "diet-conscious" items. It's worth it to me if it cuts fat and calories. Of course I'm a lot more determined now that I used to be, so maybe that's part of it too. People sometimes use the money excuse as a way to stay 'lazy' about dieting. "Oh, that's too expensive, so I guess I'll just have to stay fat the rest of my life."

But what some of them don't realize is you don't have to spend a lot of money on diet-conscious foods to lose weight. Just like you don't have to go into a restaurant and plow a 20-ounce steak and a baked potato the size of a softball.

No, it's NOT easy to be served a whole plate full of food and resist eating it. But you CAN. If you've got the willpower and the determination, stick half of that meal into a take-home container before you dig in to the other half. Sure it's tempting to eat the whole thing. But YOU are in control. You're also in control of what you order in the first place.

I like wish4fit's idea - rather than restaurants being forced to downsize every entree, why not offer "half-sized portions" of each entree instead? Of course they'd have to offer them at half the cost as well and most restaurants would probably rather we go ahead and pay for the full serving and what we do with the rest of it is our problem.
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Old 06-04-2006, 01:37 PM   #8
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I agree that portion control is the responsibility of the consumer. I think it would be a lot easier to eat only half the portion of the fat/calorie content was posted right in the menu. I mean, prices are posted and we make decisions around the price (Oh, the steak for 18.00 is too expensive, I'll have the 11.00 shrimp) we should be able to make similar judgements around calorie content (Oh, the Kung Pao chicken is 1200 calories, I can't "afford" that, I'll have the Scallops for 700 calories).

I just go into restaurants thinking that I will eat half. I get to go boxes immediately, I box it up immediately, I don't have any problems. I've worked too hard to blow it on fettucini alfredo, no pasta is worth losing my size 6 jeans.
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Old 06-04-2006, 02:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glory87
I just go into restaurants thinking that I will eat half. I get to go boxes immediately, I box it up immediately, I don't have any problems. I've worked too hard to blow it on fettucini alfredo, no pasta is worth losing my size 6 jeans.
Amen, woooo!

That's the same way I always think. I remember how I felt about myself when I was heavy. That was horrible. I hated myself. I never wanted to go anywhere. Now I have more confidence, I've been going out with my friends more and enjoying myself, I love slipping into a pair of jeans and bouncing out the door instead of staring in my closet for 15 minutes trying to find something that would cover me. Now I pick out clothes I WANT to wear. Not clothes I HAVE to wear because nothing else will fit.

Do I wanna go back to being heavy and hating myself? No way. No food is worth that. None.
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Old 06-04-2006, 03:00 PM   #10
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I agree with the ladies that say the choice is up to the consumer. It would be NICE if resturaunts were more health concious but the simple fact is that they have to cater to the masses and let's face it America, as a whole, (even though the majority are overweight) is not that concerned with health. Quick fixes and gimmicks are a whole different ballgame. I take responsibility for my own food choices and if the portion size is too large I get a to-go box immediately and there's lunch for the next day .
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Old 06-04-2006, 05:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ValRock
I agree with the ladies that say the choice is up to the consumer. It would be NICE if resturaunts were more health concious but the simple fact is that they have to cater to the masses and let's face it America, as a whole, (even though the majority are overweight) is not that concerned with health.
Exactly.

If they start cutting portions, they're gonna start cutting business, I'm afraid.
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Old 06-09-2006, 11:36 AM   #12
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Plus, I read this article somewhere on MSN (forgive me, it was a long time ago and I really don't remember where/when I read it) but it mentioned that restaurants have made their portions bigger and inflated their prices without offering the same increase in food. Yes, they serve a little more pasta, but if you look at the fat content vs. the veggie content of the dish, the fat has skyrocketed and the veggie has stayed the same or decreased. Now the Italian restaurant that my family and I go to a lot is Olive Garden and I've noticed this over the years. For approx 15 bucks, you can get ravioli stuffed with crab and shrimp. Fine. When you get your plate it's bigger than your head, but there's only 8 raviolis on there. Ok, I understand that maybe they tweaked with the size so that it's 13% bigger but it's not big enough to notice. So back to the dish...what's it practically swimming in? Fat! In the form of cream, butter, olive oil...lard ( ) whatever it is. I've always felt that the taste of those sauces is so thick and gooey that you get filled up on the greasiness of it all rather than the amount of pasta. I think restaurants shouldn't cut down on portion sizes because consumers have to take some accountability for their weight gain and become responsible in terms of eating. However, if restaurants are going to up their portion sizes, increase EVERYTHING on the plate - not just carbs and fat. Since vegetables are more expensive than fat, restaurants buy fat in bulk but keep the amount of veggies bought the same, thus you're getting more fat calories than just overall calories - if that makes sense. My main point is: Restaurants should not be held liable for a consumer's attitude toward food. However, they shouldn't inflate food portions with extra cream sauce just because it's cheap. That's deceitful. Why not increase ALL the components of the meal?
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Old 06-09-2006, 12:16 PM   #13
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I agree that restaurants should serve smaller portions but I don't think they should be forced to do it. One of my favorite restaurants serves decent portions but it is also expensive. The food is really good and even with eating an appetizer, entree and dessert, I didn't feel overstuffed last time I went there. It is hard to control yourself when food is sitting in front of you but I've also learned to portion control myself in restaurants.
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Old 06-09-2006, 01:11 PM   #14
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Maybe it's because I'm lazy, but I love having leftovers for lunch. Sometimes I even get two leftover lunches out a meal

It is nice though, if you can get less when you want to. (and not pay full price for a half order) I order sides a lot when I don't want leftovers. I'll get a single pancake and poached egg for breakfast or what not.
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Old 06-11-2006, 11:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glory87
I just go into restaurants thinking that I will eat half. I get to go boxes immediately, I box it up immediately, I don't have any problems. I've worked too hard to blow it on fettucini alfredo, no pasta is worth losing my size 6 jeans.
I do the same... but I still wish I didn't have to pay for a bunch of crap I DON'T want just to take it home and eat it again!!! Often I just avoid going out to eat at all rather than spend twice what an average meal should cost and having to cart half of it home in cartons.

Of course it's up to the consumer... but reality is in MOST cases the choices are not THERE! There ARE several restaurants around here that now offer grilled chicken and steamed veggies, etc... but unfortunately this is not even on the menu; you have to KNOW about it and ASK for it on your own. Now would it REALLY hurt them to let customers know it is available? The fact that it is less expensive generally than a huge meal DOES play a role in this, IMO.
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