Skinny Daily Post


Oh, don’t worry. It has nothing to do with piles of whipped cream and chocolate. It’s much simpler than that.

For most eating out trips, I’d love to see menus that tell me exactly how much the protein portion weighs. Doesn’t matter if it’s raw or cooked weight, because food loses about 20% of its weight when cooked and I can do the math.

And THEN, I’d like a line item below that says something like: We’ll be happy to give you a half-portion of the steak (chicken, fish, whatever) for several dollars less.

That’s not all! I’d also like to see ‘mix and match’ menus, kind of like some Italian-esque places are doing with pastas and sauces. I could choose the amount of, say, chicken prepared in any of several ways – grilled, broiled, deep fried, with fettucine alfredo, francaise, marsala, to name just a few. And then choose from a list of side dishes that includes veggies of all colors and whole grains, in addition to the standard fries, mashed, baked.

Don’t get me wrong – there will be times that I’ll want to have whatever specialty the chef dreams up – I’m all for creativity. But having control over the portion sizes and the meal composition on a day-to-day basis would give ME true power over the situation.

These days, it’s almost always possible to get a salad instead of fries or something. And yes, we can always take home the rest of the meal. But frankly, I’m getting tired of opening the refrigerator and seeing so many take-out containers of unfinished meals.

Until this happens, however, I’ll continue to go to places that do what I need, even if it’s not on a menu. They’re not chain restaurants, but rather the little local spots.

Portion size. Preparation method. Two key terms to remember – and we need tools and information for managing them according to our own individual needs, no matter where we are!

13 thoughts on “My eating-out fantasy

  1. GG says:

    I wonder why we don’t see more half size portion options? Is it because it takes the same amount of effort? (Like baby clothes being quite pricy even though they use less material?)

  2. Lynn says:

    I recently went to a restaurant in Cambridge MA where many of the entrees were also available in appetizer sized portions for fewer $$$. I took that option and had a wonderful meal at an appropriate size and cost. Doesn’t seem like it would be that hard for other places to do the same.


  3. Sarah says:

    A recent development that I’ve observed increasingly here in Auckland,is that many restaurants will no longer allow people to take home remainders of their uneaten meals- citing “health and safety regulations”.My guess is that should people take home food, not store it properly and then become ill from eating it, the food establishments fear it will reflect badly on them…rather a sad situation, and I wonder if it will encourage people to eat more than they would do if they were allowed to take uneaten portions home.

  4. Valerie Lancaster says:

    If there were places like that near me, I would eat out a lot more. As it is, I get discouraged with the way it has to be done and end up staying home to eat more–where I know it will be handled and portioned out correctly.

  5. Jo says:

    In a sort of related subject, I recently went to a diner with my mom and sister. I ordered the turkey sandwich on wheat bread, hold the mayo. When it came, it was dripping with mayo. Instead of eating it anyway, I sent it back. When the sandwich came out a second time, there was no mayo but it was on white bread. Again, with mom and sis simply “dying of embarrassment”, I asked the waitress to take it back. The third time, they got it right. At the end of lunch, my sandwich was not on the check – the waitress told me it was free because of all the trouble I’d gone through. You CAN get what you want in most places if you be brave and ask.

  6. GingerDaisy says:

    Well, baby clothes are actually MORE DIFFICULT to sew because of their size, so the price is justified, but it doesn’t make sense with food. I would easily pay 75 % of the price for 50% of the food. So two customers like myself doing this would eat one “old size” entree between us and the establishment would make 150% of the “old” price. I too, have made do with eating appetizers, but they seem to be growing too. I have given up eating anything but salads and soups at restaurants for lunches because anything else is too much food.

  7. susan says:

    And you know, leftovers never taste as good the next day. Why can’t you order from the kids’ menu or order a half portion of stuff? It drives me nuts.

  8. Sydney says:

    Your math is off. A huge ass plate of food costs very little more than an appetizer portion. Very little of a restaurant’s overhead comes from the cost of food.

    Despite making 6 figures, I’m cheap. I sure as hell hate to spend it on food that makes me fatter. I eat at home and just order a soup or salad when I’m out with friends. Or even just a glass of wine. You look sociable why slimming down your figure and fattening up your pocket book.

  9. JuJu says:

    I’m with Valerie. I’d eat out a lot more if I could get what I need and want in a restaurant. I usually can in an expensive restaurant, but I can’t afford that.

    My problem is that most times when I choose to go to a restaurant, it’s because I’m too tired to cook. It’s a spur-of-the-moment decision. If I land in a less-expensive restaurant, I’m in a diminished state, often too tired, cranky, stressed, weak to fight for what I really want.

    A restaurant that makes healthy eating obvious and not a hidden choice would get my business several times a week. But as it is, I hide from most restaurants, relying on the few Asian takeout choices I know aren’t awful, and lots of salads when I just can’t cook.

    Wishing I lived near one of these great new grocery chains that make healthy food available for takeout. Alas, we’re too rural for that.

  10. lisa says:

    I’m sure I’m being ridicuously optimistic, but I think if enough of us speak out and ask for what we need, more restaurants will supply it. I make it a point to ask if I can order from the child’s menu, or the “senior specials” and ask why there aren’t more healthy options to choose from. Why is it that you don’t offer low-fat dressing? Why peas and corn the only vegetables on your menu? Etc. Restaurants want customers to come back, especially smaller local places. If they aren’t willing to meet my needs, I make it clear that I won’t be coming back. I’m not rude but why is someone in business if they aren’t interested in the health and satisfaction of their customers?

  11. fallontears says:

    I’ve gotten braver as the years go by when it comes to asking a restaurant how certain dishes are prepared. I am no longer worried about asking my strange questions and my sometimes strange requests. I have sent food back to the kitchen before and I am really not that picky.

  12. Misa says:

    I work as a cook in a bar – we offer half-size portions of a lot of things. And those we don’t offer half-size portions of, we will allow you to split with somebody else (we throw in a extra of whatever the side item is, like salad) for just a tiny bit more than it would cost to order a single order. (You’re welcome to split it yourself for no charge – some people do that, some people want the extra salad.)

    At any rate, my suggestion is to ask if you can have a half-portion. Many restaurants will do that for you, even if you don’t see it on their menu.

  13. Starbuck says:

    I and a friend love a local family-run Mexican restaurant with a full buffet lunch. We can choose exactly what we want for a fixed price– I love the guacamole, but don’t eat the tortillas, I take lots of fruit, but pass on the black beans and fried flautas. It is wonderful to eat all I want of WHAT I wnt, and pay a flat price. Bless them for this!
    There seem to be more good food choices here, than at a Chinese buffet where everything is oiled, fried or in a sweet sauce for instance.

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