Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pay Once, Eat Twice

America is really fat. One of every three adults is not just chunky, overweight or fat, they’re grossly, abnormally overweight. We’ve just become so used to seeing fat people that it seems normal.

In addition to the unhealthy types of food American people love to indulge in, some blame the rampant obesity problem on meal portion size.

Supposedly in countries like France where rich, decedent meals are notoriously yummy but high in calories, the restaurant portions are between 1/2 and 1/3 the size of American portions. So basically they can eat high calorie meals but not get fat, while Americans can’t because Americans are eating twice as much of it.

Eat twice as much as your body needs and you start having the body mass of two people. Makes sense!

There are some people who are pushing for reduced US restaurant portions and smaller prepackaged food serving sizes. But I think we know that if restaurants started reducing things, the serving size would go down and the price would stay the same! And America is all about maximizing their consumption and getting the most for their dollar.

But I suggest that food portions STAY the twice as large size, and so does the price. The solution to the oversized servings when eating out is as simple as cardboard. Or plastic. Or Styrofoam.

After your meal arrives, ask your server for take-away containers and before you take so much as one bite, cut your food in half and put half of everything into the doggy container.

If you order a salad, ask for the dressing to be on the side so you don’t end up with soggy salad after you’ve taken it home.

Don’t put your bread in with moisture laden food or it will also become soggy. But if you’re afraid the bread will harden after you’ve taken it home, microwave it in a bowl covered by a damp paper towel.

If the salad doesn’t come without dressing or it’s a salad bar so you’re not allowed to take it home; or if the house bread is too good to pass up and you’re not allowed to take it home, make a meal out of the salad and bread (and dessert) and just take home your entire entrée.

Unless the dessert is something mostly solid (like cake, or cheesecake) it often doesn’t travel well. Either plan to take home your entire entrée so you can eat the dessert or skip dessert altogether.

In the cold winter months, the food should be fine left in a vehicle while you shop, watch a movie or otherwise cannot get it home immediately. Keep a few plastic grocery bags in your vehicle to put your leftover into will reduce the chance of a spill or lingering odors.

America throws away millions of dollars worth of food every year. Why waste money and food when you can save and maximize your enjoyment of both?

In the summer before you go out, put a small cooler in your trunk with blue ice or plan to make a drive back to your house to drop off the leftovers. Most food needs refrigeration to prevent the food from going bad. No one wants food poising later with their leftovers.

If you forget your cooler or didn’t plan to eat out and didn’t bring one, or if a detour to your house is too far away, you can pick up a Styrofoam cooler and a bag of ice from a gas station or grocery store for usually under $6. Saving half a $50+ meal is worth the change.

Most hotels and even motels now are offering small refrigerators and microwaves in their standard rooms. So even if you’re on the road you can save half (or at least some) of your food for later.

It might take a few tries to adjust to the idea of eating only half your meal the night you order it. But it’s very satisfying to get to repeat your delicious meal the next day, at no additional cost.

America’s expanding waistlines may be partly a result of eating too much food per meal. But you don’t have to be part of the majority who are busting out of their clothing, super-sizing their life and medical insurance premiums due to poor health and waddling out restaurants, belt loosened and out of breath.

Instead you can be part of the sleeker, thinner, smarter, thrifty population who go out to eat and pay once, but eat twice.

1 comment:

Allan said...

Oh how I miss the days of going out to dinner with my ex-wife. We used to pick two (and on occasion 3) different entrees and mix and match. We would each get to try a little bit of everything and I would have at least two lunches from the leftovers. She never did care for the leftovers and while it might not be all that healthy to eat an indulgent restaurant meal 3 days in a row it is probably still better than eating it all at once. Now I'm hungry...