The Ramblings of Annie Abalam

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Apparently I am not the only one who struggles with portion control

on May 1, 2012

I am an extremely loyal Food Politics reader.  This week, I read Nutritionist’s Notebook: Portion Control.  In this post, Marion Nestle answers the question “What is the importance of size in our portions? What is the best way to judge portions when going out to dinner?”

Her response to this question is fairly basic, but is definitely new information to many US citizens.  She says two things:

  1. Larger portions means higher caloric value.
  2. Restaurants give people larger portions, which people end up eating, subsequently.  People do not understand that eating this much is problematic because it has become the norm.  To combat this, order appetizers and not entrees when eating at restaurants.

People have grown accustomed to larger portions over the years, and I lump myself into that category. Chains like Applebees, Red Robin, and Chili’s all offer large portions.  The largest portions I have ever seen were at The Cheesecake Factory.  I have heard that entrees there can pack over 1000 calories.  Over the years, I have found that chains are the real culprit when it comes to portion issues.  The amount of food you receive at those places (especially if you order a dish with meat) is absurd.  Average sized people cannot finish what they are given, resulting in wasted food.

At my weird little hole-in-the-wall vegan restaurants, however, the portions are seldom large.  I always want more, and I would attribute that to two things:

  1. I am used to large portions from eating out when I was little.
  2. I do not get to eat tasty food frequently.

I am in complete agreement with Nestle on this issue (as I am with most; I’m a groupie).  The amount of food people are served at restaurants makes them believe these outrageous portions are acceptable, which they are not.


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