Today Ben and I ate lunch and dinner together. For lunch, we went to Texas Roadhouse. This is a restaurant that we frequent because of its proximity to my house and it is reasonably priced. We've all heard about how portion sizes at restaurants are so huge. Today, that really struck me. We ordered the "baby blossom" and together were only about to eat about half of it. I ordered two sides. One of which was fries. I looked at the plate my fries were on, and the plate my meal was on. My MEAL should have been on the smaller plate that the fries came on.
For dinner, we made reservations at The Coachlamp Restaurant. The tab for this meal was $67 (with tip), for two meals and a dessert (no alcholic drinks). I was struck at the contrast of the size of plates our salad and entrees came out on. They were much smaller, yet neither of us left the restaurant feeling that we had not had enough food (nor did we clean our plates).
This makes me think about Dr. Ruby Payne's work on the hidden rules among classes:
Poverty: Did you have enough food? (Quantity is important.)
Middle-Class: Did you like it? (Quality is important.)
Wealth: Was it presented well? (Presentation is important.)
Though I don't have research to point you directly to (I know it has been done), we know that there is a big difference in the levels of obesity when you examine income levels.
That introduces the good ol' willpower into the equation. Since I don't typically frequent restaurants that require reservations, I have to be in charge of my portions. I have to decide that quality and presentation are much more important than the quantity of food that they place on my plate. I was reading on one blog the other day about portion control in the home for those who are really on a tight budget. Her biggest suggestion was to not put dishes of food out. It was to go ahead and put out the food on the plates, and bring them to the table.