A buffet has many tasty options that tempt you to leave your diet behind when you come in the door. However, in spite of the restaurant’s best efforts, it’s nice to know that you can still eat a healthy meal at the buffet.
Discover the secrets that savvy buffet-goers use to help them make smart choices:
- Select your seats carefully. The location of your seats can influence your food choices and how often you get up. Where do you usually sit at an all-you-can-eat buffet?
- If you sit next to the decadent desserts, the temptation may be overwhelming and make it difficult to stick to your diet.
- However, if you sit far away from the buffet, you’re less likely to keep coming back for seconds or thirds.
- Take a look at all of the options. Before you start selecting food, look over all of the choices available at the buffet. Then, armed with greater knowledge, you can choose wisely instead of just filling up your plate with the first available options.
- Watch your plate. An all-you-can-eat buffet makes it easy to grab extra portions.
- It’s important to pay attention to portion sizes. If you don’t eat three helpings of chicken at home, you may want to avoid the extras at the buffet as well.
- Separate your plate into sections and plan what to put there. If you have a solid plan for your first visit to the buffet line, you’re less likely to keep getting up to get more food. A plan also reduces the temptation to get unhealthy items.
- Pay attention to your first buffet choice. The first item you pick out from the buffet can influence your decisions for the entire meal. Researchers found that an unhealthy first choice leads to more greasy, fattening, and sugary foods. They recommend starting with fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Look for whole and unprocessed foods. The healthiest choices at a buffet are fresh or steamed vegetables and fruit. It’s better to eat them without extra dips, sauces, or dressings.
- After you’ve filled your plate with fruits and vegetables, add other whole foods like whole grain bread.
- Select grilled, baked, or steamed items. The buffet will probably have a wide selection of fried foods. However, it’s better to look for grilled, baked, or steamed options. For example, grilled chicken or salmon is healthier than chicken or shrimp fried in a thick batter.
- Be careful with pastas and casseroles. They may be delicious, but they’re not always the healthiest options. Pasta and casserole dishes can be loaded with mayonnaise or other unhealthy sauces.
- Not only are they likely to be calorie-heavy, but they can also have tons of extra salt and fat.
- Carefully select sauces and condiments. They can add calories, salt, fat, and sugar.
- Avoid creamy foods. Creamy foods, such as cream-based soups and salad dressings, aren’t healthy. Instead, select vinegar-based dressings and broth-based soups.
If you’re not careful, a visit to a buffet can wreak havoc with your diet. However, it’s still possible to eat healthy despite being surrounded by tempting options. Use these tips to make smart, healthy choices.