Can I Place an Order?
Each year, restaurant associations and magazines announce expected trends within the dining industry. I’m into trendy—especially when it comes to healthy food—so I look forward to their predictions. Those in the know called 2012 the Year of the Shrinking Portion Size. I didn’t see it happen locally. And since trendy movements are typically delayed before making their way South, here are some messages for local restaurants to chew on while waiting:
• I am not asking you to ban certain foods deemed unhealthy. I just want choice. If I want half of my plate as vegetables and only a quarter as entrée, can you do that for me? I think you might save money.
• May I please have my meal served on a 9-inch plate? You can cut my portion sizes and I won’t even notice, since, psychologically, my plate appears full—and so does my tummy.
• My portion size is smaller … I will finish sooner … so you will have a table freed for additional patrons. Win-win.
• Will you please offer half portions of entrées at half price? That way, I can have one cup of pasta and not the three and a half cups that you typically serve. Oh wait, that’s not half, is it? I still only want one cup.
• Would it be possible to find some 4-ounce steaks? And make them sirloin? That is a tasty, lean cut.
• A good 1-ounce whole-wheat roll would be nice. And make no butter the default.
• Broth-based soups served before the meal will help us to eat less once the entrée arrives. Just a cup will do the trick.
• I don’t mind if you devote a whole section of the menu to smaller portion sizes. That way, people with hearty appetites won’t be deceived or disappointed … and they will know to look elsewhere for larger portions.
• Make my water glass really big, but serve a beverage with calories in an 8-ounce glass. Ask if I want refills and charge me only for what I order.
Diners, what do you think of my suggestions? Can you think of others? Let’s do lunch sometime and talk it over. I get to choose the restaurant, OK?
Debbie Melvin, M.S., C.F.C.S., is an extension agent for the LSU AgCenter. She specializes in nutrition and knows just about everything there is to know about everyday living.