Super-Sized Snacks

I (Cori) have to admit I don’t get out much. We’re a family of five living on one income, so going out to eat and going to a movie theater are rare occasions in our household. I’ve appreciated the savings in our budget, but recently I’ve been noticing how much it’s probably saving on our waistlines, too.

My oldest turned 9 last week, and he wanted to see the movie Despicable Me 2 for his birthday. We worked up a plan to invite a few of his friends to the movie for his birthday party, and it was a fun movie and a fun time. Like I said, it’s a rare occasion for us to see a movie in a theater. It’s an even rarer occasion for us to buy any food at a theater. For my son’s birthday, however, I splurged a little and used some coupons that gave me money off a medium popcorn and drink.

This is the “medium” sized stuff:

"Medium" size popcorn and a drink. The apple is medium for size comparison.

“Medium” size popcorn and a drink. The apple is medium for size comparison.

Seriously? I would call that a large drink and a jumbo-sized popcorn. In my book, those are not medium sizes. They are huge! That’s probably enough popcorn to serve 10 people! Maybe I need to get out more. And then again, maybe not.

This isn’t my only recent encounter with giant servings. My husband and I drove to St. Louis for a day in May with a friend and his aunt and uncle to see a baseball game. After the game (Go Cardinals!), we went out to eat. Our whole meal was probably over-sized, but then we decided to order dessert. There was an ice cream and cookie item on the menu that said it served 2-4 people. Our table of five decided to order it and see what it was all about. When it was delivered to our table, we could not stop laughing at the enormous size of the dessert!

This dessert was advertised to feed 2-4 people.

This dessert was advertised to feed 2-4 people.

It was HUGE! Even with including our friend in the picture, I’m not sure you can tell how large it is. I think it was at least the size of a box (1.75 quart) of ice cream. I have a couple of those in my fridge, and according to the box, it has 14 servings. 14! (And the serving size for the ice cream is 1/2 cup.) The menu advertised this dessert could serve 2-4 people. Our group of five could not finish it (thankfully). The stuff leftover could probably have served 2-4 people.

The leftovers.

The leftovers.

You are all smart enough to know that restaurants and movie theaters have issues with portion control, but if you are like me, you sometimes feel like you should finish what you order, clean your plate and not waste what you spent money on. But what should you do when you are wanting to make healthier choices while you eat out? Here are some suggestions:

  • Doggie bags! Bring home a portion of your meal, if possible, and save it for another meal. Maybe even order items that will work well as a leftover.
  • Share, share, share! Let that jumbo “medium” popcorn feed your whole entire extended family. Share the giant dessert with … the whole restaurant? ha ha!
  • Eat a healthy snack at home before you go to the movies or the ballgame so the overpriced, over-sized food for sale isn’t so tempting.
  • Plan ahead. Plan in advance that you might splurge on something at the movies later and try to eat more reasonable, healthy options the rest of the day.

What are your ideas? How do you avoid the super-sized culture we live in? Our bodies and our wallets will thank us if we don’t go overboard too often.


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