Portions Have Grown This Much in 60 Years

If time travel were possible, I’d like to go back to a restaurant circa 1950 or even 1970. Then I’d take the patrons back to 2013, sit them in a modern era restaurant, and watch their reactions. It would make a great video. That was my thought process last week when my husband and I went out to dinner. My meal was served on two plates, each one containing more food than I could eat — or would want to eat — in one sitting.

Seriously, I grew up in a household with two adults and five children, and a spread like that would have fed us all. It’s almost impossible for me to walk out of a restaurant these days without a bag of leftovers that’ll last through at least two lunches. Sadly, monstrous portions are not unique to restaurants, although I’d become a fan of any restaurant that would offer me a half-size portion, which would, in realty, be a normal portion. Even at home, our dinner plates have gotten larger and our portion sizes have spiraled ridiculously out of control. It would be comical if we weren’t so unhealthy.

Over time, our perception of “normal” has shifted, and it’s not for the better. These infographics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) illustrate our (ab)normal eating habits.

CDC The New (Ab)normal

CDC Time to Scale Back

CDC Go Light

The question is, do we care enough about our health, and the health of our children, to change?

Related Reading
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Rituals Make Food Taste Better
A Lesson for Restaurants: Good Health is Good Business
Processed Meat Linked to Early Death

Main post photo: iStock/Thinkstock

521 comments

sandy Gardner
S Gardner3 months ago

IN MY 30s-50s I USED A LUNCH SIZE PLATE; NOW IN MY 60s I USE A SAUCER FOR FOOD PORTION CONTROL AND IT SEEMS TO WORK,

Tanya W.
Tanya W.3 months ago

Balance 🍇

Tanya W.
Tanya W.3 months ago

Thanks

Randi Eckstein
about a year ago

Wow, this is shocking...but explains a lot.... I get so upset with my kids because they think they are still starving after a huge plate full....they have no clue what starving means...yet !

Fi T.
Fi T.about a year ago

The trick is to know when to stop

Henriette Matthijssen
Henriette Matthijsenabout a year ago

A person should only eat until they are still a bit hungry as it takes time for your stomach to tell your brain you ate enough in this sitting! Does not matter if you cannot eat it all, it keeps for the next meal you need!

Kristina May
Kristina May2 years ago

People need to avoid consuming these huge portions it's so bad for our health.

A S.
A S.2 years ago

In Brazil, they also have ginormous portion size...or at least the part of Brazil I was in...the hotel did not have anything that I would call an average size portion that I could eat in one sitting. It is unfortunate that restaurants feel the need to over-feed the population, because clearly it is not a healthy habit.

Carol Sinclair
Carol S.2 years ago

The portions size may change, the amount people decide to eat is their responsibility. If everyone chose the single small portion, portions would soon decline!

heather g.
heather g.2 years ago

I'm assuming your comments relate only to North America.

In my experience, restaurants serve much smaller sized meals.