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Americans eat out about 5 times a week

First Lady Michelle Obama greets chef Julie Elkinton as they meet with dinners at an event where Obama announced a new partnership between Darden Restaurants and her Lets Move! Campaign at an Olive Garden restaurant in Hayattsville, Maryland on September 15, 2011. The Restaurant chain has pledged to cut their calorie and sodium content by 20% and will offer heartier food options on their children's menu. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
First Lady Michelle Obama greets chef Julie Elkinton as they meet with dinners at an event where Obama announced a new partnership between Darden Restaurants and her Lets Move! Campaign at an Olive Garden restaurant in Hayattsville, Maryland on September 15, 2011. The Restaurant chain has pledged to cut their calorie and sodium content by 20% and will offer heartier food options on their children's menu. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The recession has many Americans pinching pennies but the average U.S. adult eats 4.8 meals per week in restaurant, a survey indicates.

The LivingSocial "Dining Out" survey of consumer behavior, conducted last month among 4,000 online Americans by Mandala Research, found the most popular restaurant meal is lunch, with 2.6 meals eaten on average each week -- both carryout and dining -- followed by 1.4 sit-down dinners per week and .8 brunch or breakfast meals per week.

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Nearly half of respondents described themselves as "meat lovers," 22 percent say they have "sweet tooth" and 19 percent describe themselves "fast food junkies."

In comparison, 18 percent described themselves as "health nuts" and 5 percent as "vegetarians or vegans," the survey says.

Thirty-five percent of the survey respondents describe themselves as "experimental eaters," 25 percent as "foodies," and 11 percent as "locavores" -- lovers of local food.

Sixty-five percent say they favor Italian cuisine, 62 percent say Mexican, 59 percent say Chinese and 58 percent say pizza. When asked which new type of restaurant they'd most recently tried, Thai finished on top, beating out 25 other types of cuisine.

No further survey details were provided.

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