The nation's drought may impact your waist line now that some restaurateurs are skimping on portions to hold down ticket prices.

Food prices have been going up and restaurateurs who were already holding prices down because of the recession have reached the point of hitting the wall. They simply don't have much room to raise prices. So most mid-priced sit-down restaurants are now serving smaller portions.

Yes, that's right, the plate is getting smaller in the U.S.

But let's face it: The portions we have here in the United States are monstrous. One of our side dishes would feed a family in the rest of the world! We're just used to huge portions playing into our idea of the value proposition when we got out to eat.

That's why I've long recommended that you share an entrée when you're dining with someone. It's usually easily large enough for two or maybe even three people. By doing this you can have less food, reduce your calories and trim your bill -- though a plate charge will apply at many restaurants.

Some restaurants are offering the equivalent of value price menus with the key price point being $14.99 or less for an entrée.

Or you can do what I do, which is order two apps and a salad to avoid being stuffed and save money.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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