Opinion: Modern food portions are so large they can be comfortably shared by two. Or even more, says Sharon Griffths.

Remember when a sweet treat was a small biscuit? Now it's a jumbo-sized cake...

Remember when a sweet treat was a small biscuit? Now it's a jumbo-sized cake... - Credit: PA

Cake is good. More cake is not necessarily better.

But cakes, like everything else, are getting bigger, gooier, sweeter. Out with husband and grand-daughter last week I bought a single salted caramel chocolate brownie for us to share. And not because I'm a cheapskate. It was enormous so one was rich and sweet and big enough for three – and we're a greedy family.

I cut it up between us in a very granny-ish way. My mother would have been proud.

Everything's getting bigger. And so are people. A quarter of all teenagers are obese. We're the fatties of Europe. Is it any wonder? Portions have become enormous, extras a matter of routine.

A cooked breakfast used to be bacon and eggs. Now there are sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding fried bread, hash browns, baked beans… The Full English has become the norm.


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One doughnut used to be a treat. Now at service stations I see families of four waddling back to their cars with a box of a dozen. Mega-muffins have replaced tiny fairy cakes and your average cookie is probably about ten times the size of a rich tea – but you can still kid yourself you're still having just one biscuit.

Coffees are served in cups the size of buckets. Wine glasses grow bigger every year. Pubs challenge you to all you can eat and if your battered fish isn't hanging over the edge of the plate, then you probably feel short-changed.

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I eat pretty healthily but, like a lot of people, I eat far bigger portions than my grandparents ever did. Too much of even good stuff is still too much, as my waistband proves. In Texas years ago I was shocked at the size of restaurant meals – and even more at the size of the people eating them, some of whom could barely move. But we're heading that way too. Because everyone does it, we've got used to it and have lost sight of what used to be 'average' portions.

It's harder to find small tins or packets of anything too so we end up buying more than we need and then using it not to be wasteful…

Restaurant puddings tend to be enormous too – though I've solved that problem. I don't order anything for myself but just take a spoonful or two from whatever husband's having. Perfect. I call it portion control.

Moderation in all things, after all.

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