The Weekly Waste Word: Restaurant Portions

At the beginning of each week, I try to give readers one tip on how to avoid food waste. This week’s advice: If you don’t like eating leftovers, don’t order an appetizer and an entrée. 

Take a look at the nutritional information from Chili’s or the Macaroni Grill. Feel like some pasta and meatballs? Here’s 2,400 calories, or more food than the USDA recommends some people eat in a day! Now imagine starting that meal with a 1,000-calorie bruschetta or a 920-calorie chicken caesar.

With that in mind, beware the server who suggests an appetizer to start or tries to upsell you. Decide for yourself how you want to approach the meal and what you’d like to eat. If that includes an appetizer and an entrée (and/or dessert!), fine. Just know you’ll probably have way too much food for one sitting*

Since many restaurants serve main dishes large enough to share, perhaps they should be shared? Another good trick is to order two appetizers, since they’re usually among a restaurant’s better offerings.


*One happy exception to the Cheesecake Factory-size portion trend is T.G.I. Friday’s Right Portion, Right Price menu.

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