5 Tips on How to Handle Buffets Without Wrecking Your Diet

diet tips Dec 23, 2018

Have you ever had a work meeting or been on vacation and stuck eating at the proverbial buffet? Maybe you’re at a party, holiday gathering, or other event where eating at a buffet is your only option. Here are five tips to keep your diet on track without making you feel like you’re missing out:

  1. Take an inventory -- Look at your options and visually figure out your plan of attack. Walk along the buffet and see what’s available. You want to stay away from fried foods and heavy creams or sauces as these are very calorie dense foods with little nutritional value. Next you will want to look at the veggie options because they are going to fill you up faster with less calories.
  2. Use a small plate -- Opt to use a dessert plate versus a dinner plate. It will allow you to fill up the plate without feeling like you’re skimping.
  3. Focus on veggies and lean proteins -- You will be able to get the most bang for your buck with vegetables and lean proteins. Look for steamed or stir fry veggies and raw veggies like salad. You want to try and fill your plate with half veggies, and one or two different lean protein options. Lean protein can be grilled chicken, steak, lean pork or seafood. Try to avoid foods heavily coated in butter, deep fried or super greasy.
  4. Fill your plate with greens -- If there is a salad option or veggie platter, watch the dressing and the cheeses. Load up with lettuce, add veggies, and then build from there. This will keep you full, will help fill up your plate and, again, will minimize your calorie intake. 
  5. Eyeball your servings and track -- It can be hard to track food at a buffet, but it’s important to try and use your best guess-timate. A rough measurement you can use is the inside of your palm (approx. 4 oz) or a cupped hand, which is approximately 1 cup. Using this technique will help you avoid overindulging in one item.

Having a game plan is key when you’re up against a buffet. If you know you’re tempted by certain foods, try to avoid them all together. Or, try a little taste just to see if it’s as good as you envisioned (usually it’s not). Using these tips will help you not only feel satisfied but will allow you to still have a good time and participate without completely derailing your progress.

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