We're Spending Too Much on Food!

People living in the US actually spend less on food than most other developed countries, but in one particular case, we're still paying way too much.

This became apparent to me recently after reading a summary of American's spending habits on food. Way back in 1949, Americans would spend about 22% of their income on food, and today it's around 10 percent.  And as we know, this is primarily due to the reduction in food quality during this time (artificial foods, long shelf life foods with no nutritional value, etc.).  Eating at home has never been cheaper.

But, the other night, the family and I went out to a restaurant to eat.  The food was brought out, and the first thing that struck me was the portion size of the meal.  I'm by no means a small guy, but there was no way in the world I could eat all of this food.  Heck, my whole family couldn't consume what I ordered alone!

Of course, portion sizes are insane today.  It's so bad that more recent paintings of the Last Supper show Jesus and his disciples feasting on increasingly more bountiful portions of food. Some of these paintings look like the 'all you can eat' buffets typically found in Vegas!  It's ridiculous.

Looking at the meal placed before me, I realized that I effectively spent about three times more on my meal than I should have! (And I'm being nice..... it was really more like five times!)   In todays tough economic times, it just seems crazy to buy so much food when you can't eat all of it. The really sad thing is that most people don't take extra food home, so the leftover excess is usually thrown away.  This wastes both food and money.

I realize that the overall cost of a meal has many factors, and actual food cost is just one of these.  So in reality my $12 dinner probably shouldn't cost $4, but it sure as heck should be less than $12.

So what to do?  Consider splitting meals with the rest of your family if you're ordering the same items.   For example, an 8 ounce filet easily feeds two people once they've eaten a salad and possibly an appetizer.  Or, ask for a 'lunch portion' if possible (it will still be too much food, but definitely a step in the right direction).  If you don't mind leaving with a 'doggie bag', splitting your meal in half and taking the extra home is always an option, but when you order a meal, do you really want to eat it over and over again in the immediately upcoming days?  I don't think so, unless it was a particularly awesome meal.

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