WHAT is the deal with the food portions in the United States?

I've lived out of the U.S., full-time, for six years. Whenever I return to the States I'm always taken aback by the changes in everyday U.S. culture. -- some for the better (it took me a mere 7 minutes to renew my license at the DMV -- unheard of in Mexico), some for the worse (see below.)

My disclaimer: I don't feel as if I'm better than anyone. I do believe that living outside of the U.S. has allowed me to gain some perspective that I might not have had had I never moved. I'm certain that anyone who removes herself from a particular environment and then returns to that same environment sees a bit more than someone who has been there all along. Maybe?

In light of that:

Dear all restaurants in the Unites States of America,

Your portions are out.of.control.

There is NO reason why a dinner plate should be so heavy that you can't lift it with your non-dominant hand.

There is NO reason why the food should be piled upwards of 3-inches high and served on a 16-inch plate.

There is NO reason why the food should be floating in butter and should be served with more than a moderate amount of salt.

NO ONE NEEDS 4 lbs of pasta in one sitting. No one.

Here's an idea: serve quality food in smaller quantities. Don't worry about losing customers, buffets will always exist for the people who want to eat troughs full of filler.

A very concerned American.


So I ate at a "Mexican" restaurant in Michigan the other day and the tortilla used for Craig's burrito was nearly 18 inches in diameter.


The ones in Mexico? Perhaps 5 inches. And on my plate I was served the equivalent of an entire can of beans, the same amount of rice and a shredded beef burrito that was the size of a container of wipes floating in grease.

On another day, we ordered take-out from a downtown restaurant and my pasta container weighed 6 lbs. and could have fed a family of four. I'm not exaggerating.

It's too much.

Fellow Americans, don't let these restaurants feed you this much. It's SHOCKING to me that anyone would consume this amount of food. SHOCKING. I'm sure I sound like a pretentious jerk, but it's truly eye-opening when I compare food in Mexico to food in Toledo, Ohio. In Mexico, portions of this size aren't the norm. Ever. And, after six years -- I appreciate that.

How did this happen? How did more food of crappier value become more appealing than quality food at a smaller size? Do consumers demand this amount of food? Why? YOU DO NOT NEED THIS MUCH FOOD. Will restaurants lose customers if they cut the portions in half? I don't know what's worse: eating all of that crappy food or throwing it away because it's too much.

More isn't better.

It's gross.

I'm done now.



  1. There is a big push for restaurants to start posting nutritional facts. I know that at some restaurants, the example I'm going to use is Chili's, you can look up nutritional stats on the website.

    They have specific entrees that are supposed to be portion controlled and within certain guidelines. Even then it's a lot of food(IMO).

    I think people have bought into the lie that more is better. I've not run into the situations that you have described, but I can understand what you are saying. There is definitely an issue here in the states with food, on so many levels!

  2. It also depends on where you are eating. Food "chains" are going to serve gigantic portions because that's what people are programmed to expect. I have no idea what "chain" started this bandwagon. Perhaps Chili's? :-) Or Cracker Barrel. Ugh.

    When I eat out in Chicago most fine dining has really tiny portions and I leave hungry. Some middle priced places have reasonable portions. It all depends on the place. ;-)

    When we eat at home we eat on salad plates. All of us. It keeps things in check!! That doesn't mean I don't go back for seconds most of the time.

  3. Thank You.....

    Your blog is very informative and I will keep updated with the


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  4. I've definitely noticed this. The Cheesecake Factory? Their entrees are enough to feed four people. INSANE.

    99% of the time, I order something I think will warm up well. :) Then I eat half in the restaurant, take the rest home and have lunch or dinner the next day for the price of one meal.

    (Unless it's really good, and then I just eat it all at once. :))

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