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  1. #1
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    Good Idea for Dining Out

    As we all know, the portions at restaurants are way too big, at least they are if you're trying to maintain a 2000 calorie a day intake. So as a way to deal with the big portions, my wife and I started splitting meals. This works out great! Half a meal is generally about the right portion and we're spending quite a bit less as a result.

    When we can't agree on something, I've taken to telling the waiter to just box up half the meal before it even comes out. Then I have dinner or lunch for the next day.

    Just a suggestion for those of you that eat out a lot.
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    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

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    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    My fiancee and I have been doing this for a while. Another trick is not to get an entree, and just split a few different appetizers instead. Smaller portions on the appetizer plates mean that you can sample a greater variety of items and still stay under your calorie count for the day. (If you're smart about what you choose: I'm not suggesting that the "Deep Fried Everything" appetizer platter is a healthy option)

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    We have been doing this for a few years now. We do both. We share a meal, or we ask for it to be boxed up ahead of time. I like leftovers, so it works great for me. My wife is not the same with leftovers, so sometimes I get hers also. If it is something I like. Sometimes it is my breakfast and lunch the next day.
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    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    My wife and I take a breakfast ride almost every Friday morning. We always split a meal and it works out great (cheaper and not too full to finish the ride).

  5. #5
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Some restaurants prohibit that kind of behavior. The Outback in this town won't allow it. They'll ask you to leave.

    The appetizer route is a great idea. Another thought is to get a to go box when your meal arrives and half it then, saving the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
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    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    Some restaurants prohibit that kind of behavior. The Outback in this town won't allow it. They'll ask you to leave.

    The appetizer route is a great idea. Another thought is to get a to go box when your meal arrives and half it then, saving the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
    If a restaurant didn't want to allow me to split a meal, then I would simply get up and leave, I would then look up the address of the head office, and write a letter telling them how poorly I was treated in that particular restaurant. Such policies are usually local decisions, sometimes from managers, more often from staff. Personally I have never run into this, often restaurants will provide a small plate and an extra fork.

  7. #7
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    I've never been asked to leave but I have been charged a "plate charge" to split a meal. Usually $1 or $2.
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  8. #8
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Yeah, the plate charge is a pretty normal thing, but I've seen it go as high as $3.
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    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

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    You can always ask the waiter/waitress to remove your plate once you're done eating, rather than when they see everyone is finished or happen to pass by. This prevents 'nibbling' your way through an bunch of calories.
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    Senior Member 1bluetrek's Avatar
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    I may have to put all of this advice to the test at the Olive Garden in Yakima this weekend. All the Pasta and deserts and carbs! MMMMMM....oh help!!!
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    For places like Olive garden, refuse to have the bread on your table. Too easy to eat. Also, when ordering any sauces have them on the side. Most sauces/dressing have 100s of calaries and resturants seem to think that they have to drown your food.

  12. #12
    Thread Killer evblazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1bluetrek View Post
    I may have to put all of this advice to the test at the Olive Garden in Yakima this weekend. All the Pasta and deserts and carbs! MMMMMM....oh help!!!
    Olive Garden

    The one good thing about being a one person department is no more departmental weekly lunches b-day parties etc at the olive garden. Talk about set backs.

  13. #13
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    Many establishments are starting to have a "lighter" menu on hand, and there's always a "senior" menu you can order from. Ironically, Village Inn has done an excellent job of creating a "lighter" menu that's just smaller portion sizes of normal dishes. The last time we were there, my wife and I both ordered off it and were surprised. I'm sure it's still not the greatest thing in the world for you, but it's light + cheap.

    Anyone who knows me knows that's the "golden combo" for me .

  14. #14
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    Speaking for myself, going to the Olive Garden would be one way to guarantee a low-calorie meal. But then I grew up on real Italian food and not chain imitations.

    Chain restaurants are heavy on the fat and big on the portion size. Try to eat somewhere else; you're more likely to find options that really are healthy, not just labeled as such.

  15. #15
    Senior Member funrover's Avatar
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    Plate charge???? really, never heard of that one before

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    Senior Member theetruscan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funrover View Post
    Plate charge???? really, never heard of that one before
    Common when splitting an main course, rare when splitting an appetizer. Last place I recall seeing one it was $5.

    Man, all this elaborate talk about eating out. I just eat whatever looks good, and then if it was silly much, work out longer.

  17. #17
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funrover View Post
    Plate charge???? really, never heard of that one before
    I've heard of it, but never experienced it first hand. The girl and I are foodies, and we try and hit up all the new restaurants we read about in the local foodie magazines. Not a single one of them has ever charged us extra when we asked to have an entree split.
    As for the Outback that won't let you split or pre-box half the meal: Screw that! I'd never go there again. Even the chain places up here (Claim Jumper being the first that comes to mind) have no issue with boxing up half a meal before it's even served. They just bring everything out to the table, half on a plate and half boxed up.

    Now, the all-you-can-eat scenario is a different situation entirely. I don't go to places like that very often, and when I do, all bets are off. Anything not fast enough to get out of my way will be consumed.

  18. #18
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funrover View Post
    Plate charge???? really, never heard of that one before
    It's common and reasonable. It costs them to have you taking up a seat and (for all intents and purposes) not ordering anything.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoelS View Post
    As we all know, the portions at restaurants are way too big, at least they are if you're trying to maintain a 2000 calorie a day intake. So as a way to deal with the big portions, my wife and I started splitting meals. This works out great! Half a meal is generally about the right portion and we're spending quite a bit less as a result.

    When we can't agree on something, I've taken to telling the waiter to just box up half the meal before it even comes out. Then I have dinner or lunch for the next day.

    Just a suggestion for those of you that eat out a lot.
    The last time my wife and I visited the US we generally each ordered a salad and often split a main, or we asked for children's portions, which are the same as normal European portions. We also ALWAYS split a desert as they are big enough to choke a horse.......

  20. #20
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    When I'm trying to lose weight, I just DON'T EAT OUT!...I will eat out once a week as a reward for bing good. If you're on a strict diet, why go out?

  21. #21
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
    It's common and reasonable. It costs them to have you taking up a seat and (for all intents and purposes) not ordering anything.
    If it's bar seating or communal tables, I'll agree. If it's individual tables, it's not costing them anything to split a meal across a 2-top. If I was there by myself, I'd order the same amount of food and it's not like they'd seat some stranger across the table from me.
    Would you consider it reasonable if a party of 6 was charged an extra $3 per empty seat at an 8-top table, since there's no one occupying those seats (and they could otherwise be making money off them)?
    It's not common here in Seattle, and I certainly don't consider it reasonable. (Just one guy's opinion, though.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer46 View Post
    I've never been asked to leave but I have been charged a "plate charge" to split a meal. Usually $1 or $2.
    Bring your own plate. I always keep a paper plate folded in my back pocket for such occasions.

  23. #23
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    Olive Garden is a treat-restaurant, a place my friends and I go to only 2 or 3 times a year, and generally for a special occasion. As such, it's exempt from dietary strictures.
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  24. #24
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    When I'm trying to lose weight, I just DON'T EAT OUT!...I will eat out once a week as a reward for bing good. If you're on a strict diet, why go out?
    Ditto, I can do enough damage at home at 1/5th the cost

  25. #25
    Barbieri Telefonico huhenio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    Some restaurants prohibit that kind of behavior. The Outback in this town won't allow it. .
    I won't spend money in a place that dictates my spending and eating behavior.
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