Thursday, May 5, 2011

How to handle Buffet-style meals

My advice is to AVOID THEM! 
But really, most of us find that buffets get us into trouble...from the many tempting offerings to the "unlimited" nature of the meal...I'm just not a big fan.  BUT sometimes the buffet comes in the form of a wedding reception, graduation party, family reunion...

so face it - they are a part of our lives and we need to learn to deal with it.  Believe it or not, when I used to work for WeightWatchers many moons ago, we'd sometimes have training sessions at a hotel that served only a lunch buffet.  Can you imagine the pressure of making the right choices and not having seconds when eating with the upper management of WW sitting at your table? Here is what I learned that helps me to this day:

*Take a walk along the buffet and scope out what REALLY looks great, but then fix your first plate with only a garden salad with dressing on the side.  This works for me because it takes the edge off hunger before I start filling my plate so I make better choices and don't over fill it and so I'm not so tempted to eat two plates full of those higher calorie offerings.

*Sit as far from the buffet as possible.  The peer pressure of having to walk past every other table with another plate of food may help you - or - you may be too lazy to get up for one more trip ;0)

*While eating your salad - you have made time to listen carefully to the conversation of others about what doesn't taste as good as it looked and avoid those foods - and just head for what they say is "to die for".  That way you will feel more satisfied.

*Breakfast buffets are a real challenge because of all the baked goods offered as "food".  Focus on power foods here - eggs, meat, fresh fruit and veggies.  They will fill you up fast and keep you satisfied for a long, long time.

*If you are at a dessert buffet, look for the fresh fruit and put that on a small plate first.  If you can just eat fruit and wait until others comment on what is "unbelievablely great" - this might save you a truck load of points on the not so great offerings.  Maybe you can enlist a friend to 'share' a small sample of the really tempting baked goods.

I have to admit, some of these LOOK very tempting - but I'd find someone to share a sampler plate of them with me!

*When all else fails, if you know you're going to be tempted beyond what you can bear, plan to use your Weekly Allowance Points for that event and simply enjoy yourself within reason.  Don't beat yourself up - its not worth it.  Just jump back onto program the next day.

How do you deal with the temptations on a buffet?  Comment among yourselves ;0)


  1. Hey, great suggestions. The best one of course is to avoid them. It's been over 2 years since I've been to one, so I guess I'm doing well. My suggestion is, just before walking into one, eat 3 large apples. If anything can put you off over eating, this will. Of course you need to 'sneak' the apple sometime before you go into the restaurant, something that may be hard to do. BTW your blog has some great photos, lots to look at.

  2. @Me - thanks! I don't care for many buffet restaurants (too many strange people with their hands in there)...but weddings and parties are another matter. I don't know if I could handle 3 large apples - maybe one ;0)

    Thanks for the comments about the photos - I don't have a great camera and I have a little shake in my hands - so I always feel they are inferior to many other food bloggers...but they get the point across. Hopefully the content makes up for them ;0)

    A great idea one person at our WW meeting had was to bring a WW treat in her purse to have with her tea for dessert while everyone else hits the dessert bar. I could manage that.

  3. What a splendid piece of advice. Chanced upon your blog while doing research on my Food Book. Great going there!

    L. Aruna Dhir

  4. Nice. Also, to get an idea of which items to avoid, take a casual look at the used plates to see which items have been left mostly uneaten. Those are the items to avoid :-)