The USDA just released their 2010 Dietary Gudelines for Americans, which as Marion Nestle points out here and here, include eating smaller portion sizes. Reading this, I was reminded of another blog post that has inspired today’s topic of discussion: one thing the airlines get right – portion sizes.
Now, I’m not claiming that airline food is great (although some airlines do a pretty decent job) or that what they serve is exactly what you should be eating, but just simply think about the portion sizes and the diversity of the items typically provided. Contrast this with other meals that you have eaten or even prepared yourself where there was one or two dominant foods (like a plate of pasta or pizza for dinner).
The airlines have a real incentive to get away with serving you as little food as possible (which is why many airlines have all but stopped serving the “lower classes” of passengers), but they also presumably want customers to feel like they have received a meal and not just a snack. So, what do they do? They serve you several small courses, typically consisting of a small salad, a modest entree, a small dessert, and a few crackers or cheese for good measure.
I don’t see why the same strategy could not be adopted at home. Certainly, you have an incentive to serve meals that are as satisfying as possible at the lowest price. Perhaps there is something to be learned here from the airlines about plating up small portions of a variety of foods…