I was asked yesterday for the best way to tackle a buffet type meal and since this is something that often comes up I thought it would be a good idea to share my tips. This typically comes up around holiday times as many family holiday meals are served buffet style, but it can come up during other times of the year as well (i.e. buffet restaurants, work functions, parties, weddings, etc.). My goal is to provide you with the tools you need to be able to tackle your next buffet style meal, so you do not go home feeling sick and regret any of your behaviors. So, without further discussion, here are my tips:

  1. Before you do anything walk around and check out the buffet. Take mental notes of the foods you want and like. This way you will know exactly what your options are before you start to pile up the food as you go down the line. I am sure you have experienced filling up and by the time you get to the end there are foods you really want, but there is no room on the plate. This way, you are going in with a plan.
  2. Typically salad and/or bread are the first things on the line. Fill up about half of your plate with salad and/or other veggies. This way you will have bulky, fiber rich foods to help you feel full. Added bonus, there is only half of the plate left to fill up.
  3. Take a little bit of everything else that you REALLY want and love. By a little bit, I mean literally one spoonful.
  4. Do not eat with your eyes. Do not waste your calories on things you do NOT love. A lot of things look good, but you do not love them. If you know you do not really enjoy it then do NOT take it and waste calories on something that is just OK.
  5. When it is time to eat, slow down your eating. Pick up your fork, take a bite, put the fork down (do not touch the fork) until you have completely finished what was in your mouth. This will automatically slow down your eating. Added bonus—I promise you will get full faster. This allows the time necessary for your brain and stomach to connect and to signal you that you are full.
  6. Just because it is All U Can Eat and it is there, does NOT mean you need to eat it all or go for seconds. At the end of the day, it is just food. Food is not a cure for your problems or a solution. We do not live to eat, but rather eat to live. We need food to provide the nutrients we need to survive. We do not need food for anything else.

 Now that you have a plan (and seriously having a plan is the first step), get out there and tackle that buffet and don’t let the buffet tackle you.