Ahh, the buffet…endless offerings of main dishes, side dishes, glistening desserts. All for the taking, again and again. How can you possibly resist all that glorious food when you can literally have whatever you want before you? It’s not a surprise that a buffet dining setting can wreak havoc on even the most disciplined and successful diet. Follow some simple tips to enjoy buffet dining without ruining your diet, and these tips are great for just not overdoing it in general.
Stick to water as a beverage, or choose unsweetened ice tea (add a lemon wedge for crisp flavor) to avoid packing on those excess calories you absolutely will not be needing. Ice tea has a lot of antioxidants in it to help you fight off illness and heart disease, and ice water speeds up your metabolism. If you can skip soda or juice with your buffet meal, you avoid ‘waist’-ing calories before you’ve even put food in your mouth.
Do a walk-through with the buffet before you start piling up your plate. This way, you can attract your attention to a variety of foods to choose from, rather than going straight for the guilty pleasures that will fill you up but not easily satisfy. Once you’ve seen what the buffet has to offer, start off with a small salad to get your tastebuds on the right track. This way, even if you indulge later, you’ll have at least begun to fill up on something healthier than a heaping plate of roast beef and mashed potatoes.
When you begin to choose your foods, remember that less is more. Your lean meats are going to be chicken, fish, and turkey, so if you can choose those items over ham or beef, then go for it and save yourself some calories. Make sure that half of your plate is filled with a vegetable of some sort, like steamed vegetables or rice and veggies. The remaining part of your plate should contain a few bites of other indulgences that you can enjoy but not go overboard on. Make sure the other portions of food you choose take up no more than a quarter of your plate each.
It’s a buffet- this means you don’t have to clean your plate. If you choose an item that isn’t that favorable to you, then by all means, stop eating it. Too often, buffet diners will munch on everything they have gotten off the buffet table so they don’t have to feel guilty leaving a full plate behind. It’s your diet however, and you don’t want to waste your calories on a meal you don’t really like. Likewise, if you love the food you got, enjoy what you have before you go for seconds, or thirds. That food on the buffet line isn’t going anywhere. Relax and enjoy what’s on your plate.
Dessert is just plain lovely- enjoy it with a cup of coffee so you can indulge in your sweet treat without digging in too fast. Coffee allows you to slow down and enjoy that slice of cake or ice cream treat without scarfing it down or looking at the dessert display for something else to enjoy. Can’t decide between 2 different desserts? Get them both and split them with someone in your party- that way, you can have your cake and eat it too without having to unbutton your pants.