Restaurant Meals Are Getting Too Big
What’s a serving of pizza, steak, or orange juice? How big should a sandwich, cookie, or brownie be? The servings at some leading restaurant chains (the left photo of each pair) make the (supposedly typical) serving sizes on food labels (the right photos) look like items on the kids menu. Could super sizes have something to do with the obesity epidemic? Nah.
By Bonnie Liebman & Jayne Hurley
(Note: Serving-size weights are based on an average of samples we purchased or, when available, are from the companies.)
Panera Bread Sierra Turkey Sandwich
What the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls a sandwich is closer to a half sandwich at Panera and many other chains. Expect more bread, more filling...and more you.
Five Guys Fries
The Food and Drug Administration says that a serving of fries is just 3 oz.—about what you’d get in a McDonald’s small. At trendy chains like Five Guys, a regular fries is 14 oz. Yes, almost a pound. Think that’s unrealistic? A large is 21 oz.
Starbucks Double Chocolate Chunk Brownie
The good news: Starbucks’ brownies are smaller than they used to be (and smaller than those at Panera, Au Bon Pain, and many other chains). The bad news: they’re still too big.
Olive Garden Lasagna Classico
According to the USDA, the serving size for any “mixed dish measurable with a cup” is, well, a cup. Tell that to Olive Garden or the other chains where a serving of lasagna can be two cups or more.
Einstein Bros Bagels Orange Juice
The FDA says that the serving size for juice is 8 fl. oz. Tell that to chains like Einstein (aka No-ah’s Bagels on the West Coast), where the OJ is 16 fl. oz. Einstein even has a 24-ouncer. Oy!
McDonald's McCafe Chocolate Shake
Even a small McDonald’s shake is 12 fl. oz. A large is 22 fl. oz. (A large Chocolate Shake has 850 calories, more than any burger on the menu.)
Outback Steakhouse New York Strip
The USDA says that a typical serving of meat is 4 oz. raw, or 3 oz. cooked. That may work for some hamburgers, but most steaks weigh 6 to 16 oz. raw. At Outback, the Porter-house comes in at 24 oz. Sheesh.
IHOP Harvest Grain 'N Nut Pancakes
Who can afford 800+ calories’ worth of mostly white-flour pancakes? (We’re guessing it’s mostly white. The company wouldn’t tell us.) And that’s without butter or syrup. Yet the chain’s New York Cheesecake Pancakes, at 1,030 calories, manage to beat them. Thanks, IHOP.
Panera Bread Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
Remember when nearly all cookies were the di-ameter of an Oreo? Then restaurants started sell-ing cookies on steroids. Now they seem normal.
Qdoba Adobo Chicken Grilled Quesadilla
If an entrée isn’t “measurable with a cup,” its serving size is 5 oz., says the USDA. Really? How many peo-ple eat less than half of Qdoba’s (or any other chain’s) Quesadilla?
California Pizza Kitchen Margherita Crispy Thin Crust Pizza
At chains like California Pizza Kitchen, no one shares a pizza any more than they’d share a plate of pasta. And the calories top 1,000, even in a meat-free thin-crust pie. At Uno, an individual deep-dish pizza ranges from 1,500 to 2,300 calories.