If there were such a thing as a calorie-counting nightmare, it would probably involve a buffet. While any diet expert will tell you to avoid a buffet, there are times when that is just not possible. Anyone who’s been to an all-you-can-eat buffet knows: the never-ending choices right in front of you, the mentality of “getting your money’s worth,” and unlimited portions can make for never-ending bad dinner decisions.
Does this mean we’re all bound to binge?
Check out these smart ways to eat at a buffet:
- Pick a smart seat.
You’d want to stay an average of about 16 feet farther away from the buffet table. It becomes less tempting when the food isn’t the first thing you see when you look up. Create more of a comfortable, sit-down restaurant atmosphere for you to relax in.
- Use small plates and go slow.
Always, always use the salad plate instead of the biggest main plate available. With this, you get more exercise as you might go to the buffet 5 or 6 times. You are less likely to overfill your plate with an item of food you do not like. Also, taking your time during a meal makes you feel fuller, faster.
- Fill up on liquids.
Take advantage of the unlimited beverages, and sip on sparkling water, unsweetened iced tea, coffee, and hot tea. Most liquids contain more calories than solid food.
- Be mindful with what you eat.
Keep an eye on your plate to track how much you’ve taken in. Visual cues make more of an impact on our hunger/fullness levels than, well, actual fullness. The more food we see we’ve eaten, the sooner we’ll realize we’ve had enough.
Buffets, cafeterias, and lunchrooms of all sorts set us up for nutritional shame walks. But pay close enough attention to the progress of your meal and the people around you, and you just might find yourself stopping before going overboard on the plates. Next time you face an irresistible all-you-can-eat opportunity, follow these tips to help avoid the binge.