As some of you know already, the English department made its annual trip to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario this past weekend. I was one of the 30 or so who was able to view five amazing productions at the Canadian festival.
But I’m not here to talk about the plays. Instead, I’m here to talk about one of America’s favorite subjects food.
I’ve been to Canada a couple times, but this time, I noticed something that I may or may not have noticed before: the food. Although the food was pretty good, I noticed that the portions were much smaller in Canada.
Actually, the portions were just right. It’s because I’m used to being served such enormous portions of food in the U.S. that I thought the portions in Canada were too small.
This got me thinking many people believe they have to cut this or that to lose weight, when all they have to do is cut the portion. You can still eat tiramisu or New England clam chowder; just don’t eat the whole thing.
I’m used to sharing dessert or saving half for later, so when a friend and I agreed to share a slice of apple pie la mode in Stratford, I was disappointed to find a tiny slice of pie on a little plate, plus two small scoops of vanilla ice cream that were each about a third of a normal American scoop. I could have eaten the whole dessert myself and still had room for a second dessert.
But come to think of it, I’m glad I shared the dessert. The fact that I thought about eating the entire thing plus ordering another dessert just shows how much I’m used to America’s dessert portions.
However, dessert isn’t the only problem. Many entres in the U.S. are oversized, unless you order the cheaper lunch portions.
For example, though extremely delicious, the Cheesecake Factory is known to serve massive amounts of food. If they cut the portions, they could cut the price too. Since that’s not likely to happen, just eat half the entre and take the rest home for later. Not only would you cut down your portions, but you would also avoid that overstuffed Garfield feeling.
Another example is the concession stand at the movie theater. I’m not saying you can’t eat popcorn or drink a soda. You can just don’t overdo it. I know those extra large buckets with unlimited free refills seem like a good deal, but that would only make sense if you’re sharing it with a group of 20. So unless you’re going with the entire anthropology department, just buy a medium bag and share it with your friends.
If you’re eating at home, the best way to control your portions is to measure them out before you eat. No, I don’t mean taking out a food scale and measuring how many ounces of Cherry Garcia you’re going to eat. Instead, you could take out one scoop and put the rest in the freezer. If you eat out of the container, you won’t know how much you’ve had already, leading to possible overeating. Plus, if you’re like many Americans and eat while watching TV, you’ll probably finish the entire pint by the time ‘Lost” is over.
Another tip for controlling portions at home is to use smaller plates or bowls. If you use larger ones, you’ll feel that you have to fill up the plate, thus leading to larger portions.
Give it a try, and I guarantee that you’ll notice a difference.
Weng is a member of
the class of 2011.

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