How Much Can One Plate Hold? U.S. Portion Sizes

Washington, D.C., Wednesday


Today Clive and I spent a lot of time at Ikea, to assist my son with several projects as he gets settled in his new apartment.  At the Ikea café, my chicken enchilada was at least 12 inches long and 4 inches wide.  Its ends hung over both sides of the plate and its contents oozed onto the cafeteria tray.  When I removed a few pieces of capsicum (green pepper), I had to put them on the tray, too, along with the melted cheese, because the enchilada, rice, and refried beans took up every speck of space available on the plate. 


How Much Can One Plate Hold?


Why are portion sizes so huge in America?  Every time we visit, I am struck once again by the amount of food that is served at one sitting.


I wonder if it’s because restaurants think if they overload customers with food, they are more likely to return?


Breakfast, lunch, or dinner – U.S. portion sizes are enormous, at least twice as big as what we’re used to in Sydney or Paris.   Surely this contributes to the highly-publicized problem of obesity in America.


Sugar on Everything


Clive is still coming to grips with what he calls “Americans putting sugar on everything, including breakfast and vegetables.” 


I’ve always liked pancakes with maple syrup, but last May we ordered baked brie as a dinner appetizer and it, too, came covered in a maple/brown sugar glaze.  Tonight at dinner, we were served unasked-for pre-dinner rolls with a sugary liquid poured over them. 


My family’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner didn’t include the well-known sweet potato and marshmallow casserole, but Clive’s daughter discovered it when she worked in the U.S.  and we now have it as part of our Boxing Day buffet in Sydney.  Clive has a small amount, and the rest of the family loves it.




Drinks also seem to be consumed at a phenomenal volume and rate here in the U.S.  It’s a common sight at shopping malls to see people walking along sipping drinks from huge plastic cups, many of which have sports team logos or university names emblazoned all over them.


·   the smallest Starbucks size is Tall, then Grande, then Vente

·   soft drinks are served in giant cups that look like buckets; size Small is bigger than a Large in Sydney

·   restaurants and cafes provide bottomless cups; i.e., free unlimited refills which you can get yourself at an informal café, or are served before you ask for them, and whether you want them or not, at restaurants  


If portion sizes were reasonable, there would be no need for doggie bags.  This is a hot button which will be discussed in the near future.

2 Responses

  1. How true..

  2. America wouldn’t do me…can only eat little at a time, cannot stand huge portions on my plate, don;t like sugar or maple syrup, and why do people walk along drinking???

    Another thing I cannot stand, is people who walk along eating..!!!!!!

    Sorry , but I find this all rather annoying!!

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