It’s an undeniable fact that over the past several decades Americans’ waistlines have gotten larger. And along with our waistlines, the portions that we’re served in restaurants has increased as well, to astronomical levels.
More than two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese, and adult obesity rates have more than doubled in the past 30 years. This is of course due to many different factors, including people living a more sedentary lifestyle and the use of unhealthy food additives like high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils, but a major cause has also been the increase in portion sizes at American restaurants.
When we go out to a restaurant, one of our main priorities is “getting our money’s worth.” But what does that mean, exactly? Does it mean making sure that the restaurant uses high-quality ingredients? Or does it mean that the amount of food on one plate should be enough to feed a family of four? Unfortunately, in the case of fast-casual chains like Applebee’s and Cheesecake Factory, it’s the latter.
The calorie count of some of the dishes served at these chains is astronomical, and even if you order something that sounds healthy, if you finish your plate you’re most likely consuming far more than you should be in one sitting. For example, the average calorie count of the 13 items in Olive Garden’s “Classic Recipes” menu section is 1,009, with an average of 52 grams of fat. At chain restaurants, it’s a good rule of thumb to ask for a second plate when your food arrives, put half of your food on it, and immediately take the rest to go. Out of sight, out of mind.
Just look at these insane portions!
Applebee’s: Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs with Fettuccine
This item isn’t on the menu any more, but it’s never a good idea to top creamy fettuccine Alfredo with cheese-stuffed meatballs and call that a meal. Breadsticks are larger than they appear!
Cheesecake Factory: Chicken Bellagio
This platter of breaded chicken on top of basil pasta with creamy Parmesan sauce, topped with arugula and prosciutto, contains a whopping 1,980 calories and 30 grams of saturated fat.