Restaurant Portion Distortion

Did you know approximately 92% of restaurants in America, both chain and independently owned, serve oversized portions, providing too many calories than any individual may need in one sitting? To make matters worse, studies have found that most people will overeat when they are served more food than they need, even if the calorie information is provided on the menu!

Does this mean we avoid eating out all together? No! Eating out should be in moderation in a balanced, healthy diet, but it is a large part of our social lives. There’s so much to enjoy about eating out, such as convenience, trying new foods that you normally wouldn’t make at home, and spending quality time with family.

To enjoy a meal away from home, but avoid overeating, try some of these tips and tricks for managing portion sizes:

  • Order vegetable-based appetizers to fill up on, such as grilled vegetable plates, a salad, non-cream based soup, or skip the appetizer all together.
  • Order an appetizer as your main entrée.
  • Order a double portion of vegetables as a side to your entrée to add volume without adding a lot of calories.
  • Ask for a to-go container to come out with your food. Put half the portion in the to-go box before you start eating. With this trick, you’ll also have a meal for the next day!
  • Sharing is caring! Split an entrée with whomever you’re dining with.
  • Ask to cut the entrée size in half, or for a lunch-sized portion.
  • Try a tapas-style restaurant! Tapas are small portioned plates that one typically orders multiple of to make a full meal. They are easy to share, and allow you to try multiple items on the menu. Limit yourself to ordering 2-3 plates.
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