Buffets can be hazardous to your diet! Whether you’re at a party, wedding reception or all-you-can-eat restaurant, you’re surrounded by temptation. Use these suggestions to make healthier food choices and keep the calories under control while you enjoy your meal.
Making Better Food Choices at a Buffet
- Browse around first. Scientists at Cornell University studied the differences between how overweight diners approached a buffet versus their thinner counterparts. They found that that 71 percent of leaner people scanned the offerings first to narrow down their choices while heavier diners tended to immediately grab a plate and pile it up.
- Load up on vegetables. Most nutritionists recommend devoting half your plate to vegetables and fruits. This is always good for your health and goes a long way toward making any buffet meal lighter.
- Learn to count calories. Avoid underestimating the calories in certain foods. Vegetables dishes have a lot of calories once they get breaded and fried or smothered in cheese. Beware of creamy soups and most salad dressings.
- Practice portion control. You can usually incorporate your favorite treats into your diet if you keep the portions moderate. A teaspoon of nuts liven up a salad but eating them by the handful could put you over your limit.
- Use smaller plates. The vast majority of people make only one or two return trips to the buffet. Smaller dishes will reduce the amount of food you can fit on each trip and make the experience seem more abundant.
- Sit at a distance. Make it more challenging to go back for more by sitting on the other side of the room. Avoid lingering around the table where you’ll be in danger of picking at the food for much longer than you intended.
- Face away from the buffet. Keeping fried chicken out of mind is easier when you keep it out of sight. Turn your chair in the opposite direction from the dessert selections.
- Drink lots of water. Staying well hydrated is good for your overall health and energy levels and helps you to feel full sooner. You’ll save calories compared to drinking alcoholic cocktails, which could also lower your resistance to over-enjoying the chocolate cheesecake.
- At social events, focus on socializing. Pay more attention to the guests and less to your plate. Get caught up in conversation and dancing so you’ll forget about wanting to eat more.
- Wear fitted clothing. Leave your stretchy long sweaters at home. Clothes that fit closer to your body will help remind you to eat sensibly. Stop yourself before you feel the need to loosen your belt.
- Order off the menu. Many restaurants will give you the choice to order off the menu or eat from the buffet. Opt for a single dish if the buffet looks fattening. Even if the buffet costs less, you save money in the long run by staying fit.
- Eat more slowly. If you make your food last longer, you’ll have less time to go back for more. Plus, you give your brain a chance to notify your stomach that you’re beginning to feel full.
Above all, keep in mind that “all-you-can eat” is a description, not a challenge. Slow down and be more selective about what you put on your buffet plate. You’ll eat less and enjoy your food more.