Change in perception.

Bento & lunch-packing talk that doesn't fit elsewhere

Change in perception.

Postby smoke » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:03 pm

Because of a scheduled power outage, my hubby and I decided to go out for breakfast. As normal, I could not finish my meal and asked for a container. (I know, if I cared about the environment, I would have had one of my boxes in my purse.) The container they gave me had about the same proportions as my lunch boxes, but it was easily twice as large. As I was scooping the remains of my meal into it, I realized that it was actually getting full! That one meal is enough to serve me 3 times, maybe 4.

I had a vague sense of serving size vs meal size, and how my stomach can only hold a little more than a proper serving of food. It was just learning volumetric calorie estimation and then seeing a restaurant meal try to fit into that format that drove the point home.
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby elenacala » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:13 pm

Seri9ously, I know what you mean, I almsot always bring hom e at least half of my meals when I eat out. But I don't mind the large portions, b/c if I pay for it then at least I can save it for a couple of future meals down the road, after all waste not want not. But I have heard said from various nutrition classes I have taken, that you should take half of whats on your plate and put it into a take out box before you even start eating, ot help keep portions under control. Thats also a good idea to bring a bento to put leftovers in, the thought never crossed my mind, after all if you pack it right in straigt from the resturant, not only will it be green, but it will already be packed and ready for the next day.
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby ojami » Thu May 13, 2010 3:19 pm

Yes - we live in the Super Size generation. It was a shock to me as I started trying to learn about real portion sizes what I really need. We eat lunch on salad plates at home to help keep a better visual size on what we need. Bento box sizes are a shock to my friends when I share my bento box collection. And what makes me about faint is that plate sizes keep getting bigger. Try to go shopping and get dinner plates that fit in your dishwasher! Oy.

When I first saw these pictures on "Portion Distortion" it was eye opening to me. And this has been happening slowly over time. "More is better" - right? Well, no - its not!!!
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby smoke » Thu May 13, 2010 7:18 pm

I never really thought about dinner plates. The bikini diet http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=432 starts its explanation by dictating a 9-inch plate. I guess I lucked out with getting some old plates handed to me, they're about 10 inches. It never occurred to me that the 8-inch plates are for salad. I grew up with warm vegetables, and the occasional lettuce salad got eaten off the same plate as the main course. The small plates I grew up with were either tea saucers or dessert plates.

I do eat most of my food out of a bowl, and they are huge. They'll hold 2-3 cups depending on how you fill it, though I usually don't put more than 1.5 cups in. I should really find some more bowls that are uncomfortable with just 1 cup of food. Occasionally I will use one of my seafood plates, which tends to look larger than it is, and I tend not to put food into the indentation for the sauce cup. http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/pfaltzgraff-yorktowne-yorktown-fish-seafood-server-1

The place I got that meal from uses platters that would easily hold a tom turkey. (What I ordered came in a small skillet.)
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby ojami » Thu May 13, 2010 8:52 pm

Smoke - The fish plate is really cool! (I need to find a few interesting table pieces...all I have is round and boring.) Envying you for your cute little plates.

elenacala - You think they'd let us bring bento boxes in for that? Seriously, that would be so easy, but would I get kicked out for it?


I had another thought on portions. I love cooking websites sites and they always have pictures with alot of space on those big plates - for presentation. Though, I totally miss the presentation aspect when filling up my plate with food at the table. I just try to think about such things for bentos and holidays. Am I the only one that doesn't think about the presentation space when filling plates for dinner?
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby smoke » Fri May 14, 2010 5:44 pm

Hmmm, granted that I've gotten out of the habit of even attempting a "proper" bento lately, meals at home are usually one-pot. I also either bring the frying pan to the table or hand the hubby a plate and serving spoon in the kitchen while I grab a bowl for myself. (I'm still wondering how I got so bowl-centric while recognizing that other people tend to like their food off of plates. Maybe I developed it at the same time that I started preferring the fourth person's share of last night's dinner for breakfast rather than anything traditional.)


To break back into the self-boxes at restaurants, I imagine that the manager wouldn't have any problems as long as the box looked clean and it was a restaurant where the staff doesn't box it for you in the kitchen. They have to pay for those containers, and sterility is probably the biggest argument against you bringing your own. I think it might be a little crass to box half at the beginning rather than dividing it in your mind and pretending that you're full when you've eaten your allowance, but that's mostly because I can manage the act.

Then again, pain is my motivator. Other people may just feel remorse at having eaten something they shouldn't have. The strongest are those that can bring their will in without having to overly deal with consequences.
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby Pangolin » Tue May 18, 2010 7:44 am

We actually eat most of our meals out of pasta dishes. But we always leave empty space around the multiple food items. If I use a plate, I'm more likely to grab a small one (like a salad plate) than the traditional large plates.

I don't see a problem with packing leftovers in a bento at a restaurant... I'm always annoyed with the foam containers I have to deal with when I get home. I suppose I would suggest to at least use a "tight" box if you're going to drop it back in a purse or something.

My husband's grandmother is famous for bringing clean sandwich baggies in her purse to dinner so she can take home bites of things for the dog without asking for a take-out container for four little chicken finger ends!
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby arewenearlythereyet » Tue May 18, 2010 8:32 am

ojami wrote:Yes - we live in the Super Size generation. It was a shock to me as I started trying to learn about real portion sizes what I really need. We eat lunch on salad plates at home to help keep a better visual size on what we need. Bento box sizes are a shock to my friends when I share my bento box collection. And what makes me about faint is that plate sizes keep getting bigger. Try to go shopping and get dinner plates that fit in your dishwasher! Oy.

When I first saw these pictures on "Portion Distortion" it was eye opening to me. And this has been happening slowly over time. "More is better" - right? Well, no - its not!!!


WOW! This is an eye opener... How things have changed! I guess there are many things that people today take for granted. I think the UK is a little less advanced in the Super Size age, but I can imagine how things have changed across the world in 20 years. What a great article!

I always take leftovers home from restaurants. At three course meal is always too much and I tend to choose either a starter or a desert to go with my main meal as having all three is over the top and I feel guilty if I leave anything - which I normally always do, and thus always take it home with me!
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby ojami » Tue May 18, 2010 10:09 am

Pangolin - oh I love the story about your hubby's grandma! She sounds like she'd be fun to meet!

arewenearlythereyet - It would be interesting to look at portion sizes globally.
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby Pangolin » Wed May 19, 2010 12:11 pm

ojami wrote:It would be interesting to look at portion sizes globally.


I can tell you that I sell bento boxes and tiffins in my shop in Columbus, Ohio, and the majority of people who come in and look at them don't immediately recognize they are "lunchboxes" because the perception is that they are so small.

The general idea of portion size here is really big... but, Columbus is always one of the fattest cities... for 2009, Columbus was ranked #18, but only two hours away is Cleveland, which was ranked #15 of the "fittest" cities in the US.

I would think that portion sizes have increased all over the world from what they were even 20 years ago. In some places it's probably been a good thing, but in most places it's definitely a problem.
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