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The Retrofit Way to Buffer your Buffet Behavior

A buffet can be a fun and tasty experience, but it can also easily throw your off your healthy eating plan. Here are some simple tips to help you enjoy a buffet, yet leave feeling good about your meal versus feeling too full upon departure:
Before you go to the buffet:

  • Set your mind up for success before you go. Commit to watching your portions and staying focused on your long-term goals.
  • Don’t go into the buffet too hungry. Have a piece of fruit or a small snack before the meal to help prevent overeating. Also make sure you are well hydrated.
  • Dress warmly. Bring that extra sweater, as dining in colder temperatures may lead to overeating.

At the buffet:

  • Survey the whole buffet before making your plate so you can make an informed choice about what you want most. Aim to only visit the buffet line once!
  • Create a Balanced Plate (50% non-starchy veggies, 25% lean protein, 25% carbs).
  • Keep sauces, dressings, & creamy condiments in a side dish instead of pouring them over your food. Dip your fork in the sauce before each bite to ensure the perfect amount of flavor while avoiding excess calories.
  • Use smaller plates and glasses to avoid taking too much. Oversized dinnerware makes normal portion sizes seem smaller than they actually are.
  • After you get your food, sit far away from the buffet table with your back to it so you are not visually triggered to go get more.
  • Practice Table Plate Chair: eat slowly, sitting down, from a plate or other defined portion; smell, taste, chew, and savor. Put your utensils down between bites and avoid preloading your utensil with the next bite before you have swallowed the current bite. Sip water throughout the meal.
  • Pop in a piece of sugar free gum or a mint before deciding if you’ll get seconds.
  • Remember: “I have to get my money’s worth” is a sabotaging thought – you’ll get your money’s worth by eating enough to satisfy your hunger. Beyond that, you get no additional money’s worth, just additional calories.

If you like to follow rules… choose one and stick with it:

  • Two Plate Rule: Fill 1st plate with non-starchy veggies, fill 2nd plate with reasonable portions of the other 2 or 3 foods that look BEST to you, having scouted out all the options before choosing.
  • Rule of One Extra: choose in advance whether you will have alcohol, a sugary drink, a light appetizer, or a small dessert. Sticking to just one of these, instead of a little bit of all of them, will substantially reduce your calorie intake.
  • Rule of Two Things: Eat what you want, but only single servings of two items on your plate at the same time. You can go back for more, but never more than two single portioned items at a time.
  • Three Bites Rule: This rule allows you to get maximum enjoyment from the high calorie foods you love without feeling overly full or regretful about overindulging. The first bite is the best. The second bite is good. After three bites, it will never get better. Set the food aside for a few minutes, and you’ll likely get over the desire to eat more.

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