Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Do most restaurants give you about three times more food than you can eat?

Asked by Dutchess_III (37567points) January 15th, 2011

I have to order from the kids menu to get a reasonable portion. But…they don’t have much on the kids menu.

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44 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

In America at least double, not sure about three times. A few restaurants seemed to downsize some entrees to maintain prices when the gas and food prices began to rise, coupled with the economy struggling and job losses.

I hate the huge portions. My husband and I share quite often an appetizer and meal. Or, we might get a salad, an entree, and an extra side, and share everything, depending on the restaurant.

Mikewlf337's avatar

I think that is a good thing. I like to get full when I pay for a dinner.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But…why would you want to eat even after you’re not hungry any more?

tinyfaery's avatar

1 word: leftovers. I can usually make 2 meals out of one dish, sometimes 3.

Seelix's avatar

US portions are indeed huge. The portions in Canada are large as well, but not nearly as large as what I’ve seen in the US.

You can order from the kids’ menu, like you said, but you could also see if they’d offer a lunch-sized portion for a lower price, or even if they have a seniors’ portion (even if you’re not a senior).

Or just do what I do – order something that heats up well and you’ve got lunch for the next day :)

JLeslie's avatar

@Seelix Some restaurants have lunch portions, and some restaurants serve same size portion at lunch, just for a lower price.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mikewlf337 Are you overweight? I am not asking to criticize, just curious. There are so many calories in a restauramt meal.

Seelix's avatar

@JLeslie – I know that not all lunch menu items are smaller portions, but many are. Hence “lunch-sized” in my post. :)

I kind of agree with @Mikewlf337 – I’d rather be full and have leftovers when I go out to eat than leave a restaurant hungry.

DominicX's avatar

I think they often do. There’s a Chinese restaurant I know that gives you a huge amount of food for $6, but then I can take it home, so whatever.

downtide's avatar

Restaurants in the UK don’t serve massive portions but I noticed it when I went to the US. There was enough leftover to pack into a doggy bag and we had it for lunch the next day.

LuckyGuy's avatar

No. They give me twice what I can eat, and three times what I should eat!

Whenever I order food, I ask for a takeout box to start. That way I can cut the meal in half with clean utensils and eat it another day. With the other half of the food away and out of sight there is no temptation to stuff myself silly.

When we go out using an Entertainment Book Two-for-One coupon we end up getting 4 meals for the price of one. We eat well, save money, and stay a healthy size..

JLeslie's avatar

@Seelix I hadn’t thought about your specific wording, thanks.

When you travel in the US it sucks, because typically you are not going to bring leftovers back to the hotel. Especially then I prefer to pay two bucks less and have a smaller portion.

Also, in nicer restaurants, when the meal is more of a social event, I like to have a few courses. Most restaurants I can barely get through the entree, let alone have a soup or salad to start, and a taste of sweet at the end.

Most Americans have lost all concept of a normal sized meal.

jazmina88's avatar

Doggie bags rock.
I hope nobody eats their whole plateful…No wonder we have obesity…..

john65pennington's avatar

Cracker Barrel Restaurant gives you a little more than an average size portion of food. i do not mind this, since i am a big person.

I have to tell this. wife and i went into an off-the-path restaurant, somehwere in Kentucky. i was really hungry and had a taste for pancakes. the waitress told me their pancakes were huge. not believing her, i ordered thier “pancake special”. we waited about ten minutes for our food to be served. i could not believe what was delivered to my table. their “pancake special”, consisted of six pancakes, about 12 inches in diameter and 8 inches tall!! it was the size of a birthday cake. my wife said i would never eat all of it and she was right. i was so full and so sleepy, that we looked for a motel to spend the night.

Now this is what i call over-serving food. it was enough for three people.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@jazmina88 Sorry, Fido. You won’t be getting any of mine. My food comes home in a takeout box – not a doggy bag.
@john65pennington That sounds like enough for 6 people to me! Call me next time.

john65pennington's avatar

Worriedguy, okay. this restaurant was extremely clean inside and just a hole in the wall type. the pancakes were great. i highly suspected thier cook was a pastry chef at one time.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jazmina88 That’s really what’s at the heart of my question….plenty of people feel they need to “clean their plates.”
@JLeslie BTW…the gig is this. Yes, they give you twice as much as you can eat, but you basically pay for two meals. They do that to you at the fair, like with funnel cakes and stuff. They do it on purpose…$$$$$$$.

filmfann's avatar

No.
I eat more chicken any man’s ever seen.

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington What about the pancakes at Noshville in your neck of the woods? Huge.

tedibear's avatar

I always get a to go box for any time I get huge portions. That’s at most restaurants. On the rare occasion that I’ve been to an “upscale” restaurant, the portions are more reasonable.

Side note: One of the ways I lost weight was to manage my portion sizes. Works wonders.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I think about two meals worth and I’m okay with that for some things like:
My steak: the amount of bites I actually eat at 1 sitting wouldn’t make a tasty cut in itself.
My potato: it’s hard to get a nice “fluff” with a small potato.
Having leftovers for a lunch or dinner feels like an extension of the treat. I know we pay for it up front but it’s nice to remember our outing with a familiar nosh later.

jaytkay's avatar

Not to be snobby (meaning this is snobby) some places attract customers with quality food. Others…

janbb's avatar

Yes, I find it very annoying.

casheroo's avatar

A good restaurant serves perfect portions so that you are not full until after dessert.

YARNLADY's avatar

When I go to a restaurant I expect to have take-home food to eat for at least three more meals.

Kardamom's avatar

The portions in the U.S are indeed large, but I always carry a cooler and tupperware in my car. If the portion is bigger than I need or want, I always box it up and take the rest home for 1 or 2 or 3 more meals. It’s not too bad if you don’t eat a 4 portion meal all at once. I usually add veggies and/or a salad to the leftovers.

Berserker's avatar

Yeah lotsa restaurants round eer serve huge portions. I can never finish everything and always have to box it. But eh, can’t complain, with the prices they charge haha. At least I always get my fill.

woodcutter's avatar

sometimes I will order something my dog and I both like so I can give her a descent snack with the excess portions. It’s not an every week thing so once in a while is cool. It’s too expensive to eat out all the time.

harple's avatar

As @downtide mentions, it’s not that way in most places in the UK, but in correlation, neither is it the norm to have boxes available to take away, doggy bag style. It certainly isn’t offered by the waiter/resses taking away your plates…

In Texas I did receive plates of food at least twice as big as I expected (and I had a hummous and pitta bread dish for lunch one day that was definitely 3 times the size I would have received in the UK) but pretty much everywhere expected people to take some home in a box, so I guess it’s acknowledged that the food is too much for one meal? Cost wise, it was considerably cheaper than ordering the same (smaller sized) dishes in the UK…

perspicacious's avatar

No, I don’t find that to be so and I don’t eat huge meals. The more expensive the restaurant, the smaller the portion. Don’t you just love to pay $50 for a meal of a tiny entree and two pieces of asparagus? :/

partyparty's avatar

Some restaurants here in the UK do serve large portions, but on the whole they are a reasonable size.
Not to appear rude but the US have a reputation for serving large size meals. Can be a good thing for people with good appetites.

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Dutchess_III's avatar

@casheroo but….a restaurant can’t serve a “perfect” meal to each of it’s patrons. What I consider way, way too much, another person would consider perfect.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III A fat person. Well, sure men eat more than women typically, they are generally taller and more muscle. But, the quantities of food, fat, and calories in most American entrees is too much for anyone short of a linebacker. It has helped contribute to the American growing waistline in my opinion. People think average weight is a good weight, but in America average is unhealthy in most communities. Let people who need a few more calories buy an appetizer.

@all I wish all chain restaurants posted total calories of their meals, like in NY.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie It’s actually pretty easy to add up calories yourself. You just have to know about 10 basic rules, and round everything up to the nearest 10, 50 or 100. Example, one slice of bread has about 100 calories. Add some butter for another 100 calories—always add upwards. It turns out pretty accurate. For example, if I were to guess how many calories there are in an Egg McMuffin….the English Muffin has about 150 calories. Cheese-100 calories, egg-100 calories. Canadian Bacon-200 calories per slice. If they add butter, add more calories.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I am pretty good at figuring calories too, but most people are completely unaware. And, even people like us sometimes miss because of hidden fats. I ordered steamed green beans at Outback, and if it had not been for the cook slightly undermicrowaving, I would not have realized there is a huge hunk of butter they cook them with. Whenever they do studies of people estimating calories in restaurants food the majority of participants, even those who do calorie counting, typically underestimate by a long shot.

JLeslie's avatar

Not to mention there is a woman who took on restaurants and packaged foods, testing calorie counts, and many times the number of calories reported in a dish is incorrect, up to 15% I think it was? I would have to look up an article.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s just like anything else. Spend a little time educating yourself and before long you can do it without really thinking. As far as “hidden” fats..if you consistently round up then over a day or a week or whatever it all levels out. I’d hazard a guess that people who vastly underestimate their calorie intake probably don’t really want to know.

JLeslie's avatar

Also the McD’s guy is adding a 150 calorie hashbrown and drink. Black coffee not a calorie problem, but orange juice or soda, lump on another 150–200 calories. So the breakfast could easily be 600–700 calories. Fo ran average woman that might be 30–40% of recommended daily calories. I doubt her lunch and dinner have fewer calories. Once in a while no big deal, but Americans eat out more and more.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III You might be right. They don’t want to know, or don’t care.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well….overweight people want to justify why they’re eating whatever. They can convince themselves that the doughnut has the same calories as a piece of bread, therefore it only has 100 calories instead of 300.

YARNLADY's avatar

If I don’t receive enough to take home for the next couple of days, I won’t go back.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@JLeslie Why do you assume that I am overweight? Because I don’t mind getting what I pay for or because I don’t mind being full. I don’t go to restaurants very often and when I do I wan’t a good meal. Oooooh so many calories. How dare we put our guilt aside so we can actually enjoy a meal once in awhile!

JLeslie's avatar

@Mikewlf337 I don’t assume you are overweight, it is a generalization. I think I even said somewhere in the thread, that men would naturally, usually, eat more than women, and a high calorie meal at a restaurant once in a while is fine, a treat. But, a lot of Americans eat out a lot, and it winds up their body gets trained for packing on the pounds. Their concept of a meal gets warped. What is wrong with a smaller entree, and you can order an extra side, appetizer, or dessert if you want? Other countries make dining more of an experience, courses, variety of foods in one table sitting. It is not a matter of getting what you pay for. Smaller portion can mean lower price.

I was out at Bahama Breeze last weekend, and easily half the restaurant was fat. I am 10 pounds overweight myself right now, and have been for a while, so I am not saying I am the perfect weight Goddess or anything. I know how badly I am eating to be just this 10 pounds overweight, so I can only imagine what most of those overweight people are eating.

I think @Dutchess_III is right, it is denial, and people don’twant to know. My neighbor works for Weight Watchers and she says basically the same thing.

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