Food Portions

Wednesday, October 05, 2005
I had lunch the other day at Denny's. I'm not a huge fan of the restaurant but it was conveinent to somewhere else I had to go. I ordered the meat lovers special for $5.00. It seriously had enough food to feed 3 as I only ate about 1/3 of it. Two eggs, two strips of bacon, two sausages, hash browns, a slice of ham, and 3 pancakes. That is just way too much food.

How delusioned are we all in the U.S.? For a mere $5 we get a meal with all that food that we couldn't possibly eat. And then I read a story like this which talks about how americans are overweight. Is their any confusion why this is the case? American food portions are just too big.

The problem is that restuarants have a big incentive to overfeed us. The incremental cost of a restuarant to provide more food is small but the incentive to do so is huge because people's ratings of restaurant are due in large part to how satisfied they feel when they leave. Feeling full is one sure way to make the customer feel satsified. So restaurants cater to the greatest common denominator and make sure that the person who can eat the most feels satisfied while someone like me, who can't possibly eat as much, also leaves feeling full.

It isn't the restaurants fault. Americans are taught to finish their plate because there are starving kids in Africa. (as if your food can be boxed up and sent to them) So we dilligently eat all the food that is placed in front of us, even if we have past the point of being hungry. I'm not sure what can be done. I don't expect restaurants to change their policy and I really don't see American's being more concerned about it either.


Kat said...

it took me a long time to get past the "eat everything on your plate" thing that my parents drilled into me as a kid. now i feel ok about walking away when there's still food on my plate... and if i don't feel ok about it, i ask for a box and i take it home.

David Cho said...

Hey now. I can finish that whole plate without blinking. Small for you, but perhaps not enough for me.

Anonymous said...

I think this picture really says it all.