“Clean your plate!”and “Be a member of the clean-plate club1!”Just about every kid in the US has heard this from a parent or grandparent.Often，it’s accompanied by an appeal：“Just think about those starving orphans in Africa2!”Sure，we should be grateful for every bite of food.Unfortunately，many people in the US take too many bites3.Instead of staying“clean the plate”，perhaps we should save some food for tomorrow.
According to news reports，US restaurants are partly to blame for the growing bellies.A waiter puts a plate of food in front of each customer，with two to four times the amount recommended by the government，according to a USA Today story4.Americans traditionally associate quantity with value and most restaurants try to give them that.They prefer to have customers complain about too much food rather than too little.
Barbara Rolls，a nutrition professor at Pennsylvania State University，told USA Today that restaurant portion sizes began to grow in the 1970s，the same time that the American waistline began to expand.
Health experts have tried to get many restaurants to serve smaller portions.Now，apparently，some customers are calling for this too.The restaurant industry trade magazine QSR reported last month that 57 percent of more than 4，000 people surveyed believe restaurants serve portions that are too large；23 percent had no opinion；20 percent disagreed.But a closer look at the survey indicates that many Americans who can’t afford fine dining still prefer large portions.Seventy percent of those earning at least $150，000 per year prefer smaller portions；but only 45 percent of those earning less than $25，000 want smaller.
It’s not that working class Americans don’t want to eat healthy.It’s just that，after long hours at low-paying jobs，getting less on their plate hardly seems like a good deals.They live from paycheck to paycheck，happy to save a little money for next year’s Christmas presents.