Buffet-style dining has always been a very popular way of eating out, especially when celebrating holidays – buffets are usually inexpensive, they can accommodate a lot of people, and everybody can get what they like to eat.
However, buffet-style dining can also be a calorie nightmare, especially for those who are watching their weight. Most of the food items on buffet tables tend to be processed, and therefore high in calories, sodium, and saturated fat.
So is it possible to eat healthy at a buffet? Here are some tips to keep in mind when dining at a buffet to help make your experience healthier and more enjoyable…
- Before filling up your plate with food, walk around the buffet without a plate to scope it out and see what food items are available. This will help you decide what you will have to eat. Don’t forget to check out the dessert table to see what to save room for.
- Watch your portion sizes. Keep your servings small so you can eat a wider variety of food and minimize your calories. In addition, don’t overstuff yourself – eat with your eyes and not your stomach.
- Avoid cream-based salad dressings, sauces, and soups, as they are usually higher in calories and fat. Instead, choose broth-based soups (preferably with lots of vegetables), vinegar-based salad dressings, and tomato sauces.
- Have your salad first so you don’t eat as many entrees and desserts, and end up consuming too many calories. If available, add some whole grain croutons, and nuts or seeds, to your salad.
- Choose lean meat and poultry that is not covered with a lot of batter. Instead, choose grilled or baked meat and poultry, and avoid the fatty fried food items.
- If you have dietary restrictions or preferences (such as gluten-free or sugar-free), ask the chef which food items will meet your needs.
- Eat slowly and take time to chew your food. This is better for your digestive system, as your body will be able to digest the food more easily.
- Don’t sit near the buffet table. Otherwise, you will be more tempted to keep getting up for more food.
- Don’t forget to have some fresh fruit. Fruit that is high in fiber, such as strawberries and apples, will help you feel full faster.
- Some buffets offer numerous beverage choices, in addition to their food items. To avoid empty calories, water is the best beverage choice. Avoid beverages that are high in caffeine and sugar.