Renee's Rules for Buffet Eating

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

This blog was inspired by another member's blog. I started thinking about how I would survive an inevitable visit to an "all you can eat" buffet. Here are my rules. Feel free to suggest more. I'll add 'em.

Rules for eating at a Buffet

1. Accept that if you are going to an "all you can eat buffet," you most likely eat more than you plan, but don't plan to eat more.

2. Choose to drink water with your meal

3. If they offer a healthy, lower calorie (not cream) soup, enjoy a cup of it first (skip the crackers)

4. Use two salad plates (one for your salad and one for your dinner) or one dinner plate (half for salad and half for dinner)

5. Do not go back for seconds

6. Don’t graze while you’re filling your plate

7. Don’t use cream dressing on your salad

8. Know the portion size and/or the relative calorie count for the foods you see—Fried okra is 190 calories per serving, one estimate on SP says, and one serving is 26 pieces. Five or six pieces may be just right. A half cup of noodles with sauce would be much higher in calories. Maybe take a calorie guide, or load one on a portable electronic device.

9. Skip the noodles (or treat yourself to only a spoonful or two)

10. Skip the bread

11. Eat slowly

12. Share one dessert; take only enough to feel satisfied and not deprived

13. Enjoy the company as well as your meal

14. Take the time to track your meal. You’ll eat more thoughtfully if you know you will track it later, and you will learn more about the food choices you make

15. See rule one

16. If you do overeat, pick yourself up, brush off the crumbs, and keep on truckin’!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am new to SP and will definitely embrace these rules when I "hit" the next buffet! Thanks for sharing. emoticon
    4298 days ago
    Oh Buffets, bane of my existence.
    4300 days ago
  • ALICIA0099
    These are great ideas.

    Something I do is I know the buffet I"m going to and what they have all the time before hand, so I track before I go, and I Dont eat more than I have planned for.

    I went to the chinese buffet the other day and tracked to eat 2 cups of fried sesame tofu, I didn't even get a plate, just two small sweet and sour sauce bowls and used those to measure, they were about a cup each, some were only a half cup.

    I realized after eating I had eaten too fast and was actually TOO Full. Now I know next time I will try for 1.5 cups, and some unsweetened iced oolong tea.

    4300 days ago
  • no profile photo MSPUDGE
    Very good advice! We go to buffets only on special occasions, and even before joining SP, I only ate the foods I almost never had at home: roast beef, carved turkey breast, cocktail shrimp, fish fillets, and BBQ ribs, with asparagus and raw vegetables between bites to make sure all that meat keeps moving on through! Aside from the fatty ribs and shrimp, I choose mostly in the protein category, so don't feel too bad about my visit. We usually get one plate of assorted desserts, and sample them. They usually look better than they taste, so a bite here and there is plenty.
    4300 days ago
    Great post! These are good rules.
    4300 days ago
    These are Great ideas. Thank you for sharing !! emoticon
    4301 days ago
  • no profile photo NMREGINA
    I hear many of my friends say that they just will not go to a buffet, period.

    If you find yourself there, or at a wedding, say, or other buffet celebration, one thing that helps me is to have my husband bring me a plate. I don't look at the buffet at all and therefore avoid all the stress and choices. He knows well enough what to bring, a piece of salmon, salad, veggies...and it actually makes me feel like a pampered princess with a really devoted husband!
    4301 days ago
    Great ideas. Thanks
    4301 days ago
  • RNICOLE278
    I like these tips, they're very helpful. I usually avoid buffets though, because I always seem to eat way too much. Thanks for the blog!
    4301 days ago
  • RNICOLE278
    I like these tips, they're very helpful. I usually avoid buffets though, because I always seem to eat way too much. Thanks for the blog!
    4301 days ago
    These are good rules to follow, but I prefer just to avoid these places. I usually don't care that much for the food that is served, but I tend to eat it anyway if I am there. Why should I increase my intake on food that is not that delicious?
    4301 days ago
    Another good rule is to remember that you don't have to get your money's worth! Too many people think that if they don't eat everything in sight they have wasted their money-it that is your mindset you need to stay away from the buffet. I also have a 3 bite rule - if you absolutely MUST have some sort of food or dessert limit yourself to 3 small bites that way you don't feel deprived, you satisfy the craving, and you haven't totally blown your food plan. It's very good to think about this stuff BEFORE you are faced with the loaded tables of a buffet! Thanks for the great blog and for helping us think ahead!
    4301 days ago
    I just spent three days eating at buffets at Morongo, and am going to Vegas, land of the buffet, this week! Thanks for the rules! If you can withstand the sheer AMOUNT of food available at buffets, they can actually be okay with sticking to your plan. I love being able to taste just ONE bite of something without being faced with a whole plate, and there are always tons of veggies and fruit as well.
    4301 days ago
    Nice job... Good advice :)
    4301 days ago
    Thanks for the "rules". They will come in helpful when I am faced with a buffet, or a party with a buffet of food! Keep up the good work!
    4301 days ago
    Good advice. emoticon
    4301 days ago
    Very good rules to follow, but I'm better off bypassing those places.
    4301 days ago
    Good rules to follow

    Hugs, Gayle
    4301 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5101592
    Really good rules to live by.

    Thx for sharing.
    4301 days ago
    Thanks for the tips. My husband and i would eat at buffet twice a month. We now go only once a month and i allow myself 600 calories for the buffet. Since we go to the same restaurant i can figure ahead of time what i plan to have. Then i have two lighter meals and two low calories snacks.
    4301 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4199227
    Helpful - thanks
    4301 days ago
  • JACKIE4019
    These are things a person needs to remember all the time.
    4301 days ago
    Great tips. I always overeat at buffets despite my best efforts, but these tips will help. I find that eating a half serving or less of most items is usually completely satisfying yet saves lots of calories or WW points.
    4301 days ago
    These are great. I haven't been to a buffet in a long time, these tips will be useful if I should ever visit a buffet again.
    4301 days ago
    Good rules....They will work.

    I tried to do similar type of rules, at 3 family "buffet" parties recently, and fared much better than usual.

    I did gain a bit....but have lost it again.

    Now to keep my weight downtracking!

    4301 days ago
    Sounds like you covered them all... Woo Hoo!
    4301 days ago
    Good rules!
    4301 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5385436
    Great tips! Maybe I can revisit the "buffet" again.
    4301 days ago
  • no profile photo DTSM53
    Great tips! My hubby doesn't like buffets (so many strangers digging in all the food!), so we don't visit them often. But when we do, I always try to load up on good salad items first, and maybe even another salad while the other people are going back for dessert.
    4301 days ago
    We often stop at buffets on the road. These guidelines help very much. I usually start with a spinach salad and a teaspoon of dressing. After I eat my salad, I usually eat a vegetable plate. Sometimes I eat a small piece of roasted chicken.
    I may eat one sugar free dessert or part of a dessert. emoticon
    4301 days ago
    Thanks so much for the tips. I have a family reunion this sunday and its set up buffet style so Ill definatly have to remember your rules!
    4301 days ago
  • MRSAKINS2005
    I used to love going to the Chinese food buffets. I don't go to them now I am never sure how many cals and all that fun stuff is in it.

    Great Blog
    4301 days ago
    Personally, I try to avaoid buffets!
    4301 days ago
    Great tips to keep in mind but also remember to balance the buffets with plenty of exercise or activity.
    4301 days ago
    Boy, I can't remember the last time I was anywhere near a buffet. But these are great ideas for any meal out!
    4301 days ago
    When I think back on all the times I've been to a buffet, I just want to cringe. No wonder I have weight to lose! Thank you so much for these tips - I will be sure to keep them in mind the next time... and actually, I am a college student so my dining hall is essentially a buffet. A less expensive buffet, but a buffet no less. I think when I go to a real one I am always just trying to get my money's worth. Now I realize... bah... there are more important things to worry about!
    4302 days ago
  • no profile photo FATH8R
    Great tips. I always wondered how people ate there and not over do it. I, too try to avoid buffet, because I always feel like I want to get my money's worth. I will definitely keep you suggestions in mind the next time I go to a buffet.
    4302 days ago
    I love it. Now to just follow them.

    4302 days ago
    I avoid them at all costs, but when that is the only choice - I like your rules.
    We've all been given the tools via sparkpeople.
    4302 days ago
    I like to go to the local buffets - my rules are: load the salad plate first with dark leafy greens and spinach. Add grated carrots, sliced or diced cukes, tomatoes, & any freebie veggies. Add a tablespoon of black bean OR chickpeas. Depending on how my intake has been for the day, I can add a sprinkle of sunflower seeds. Dribble low-fat/FF dressing on the side. Pick up a second plate on the way to the table. Divide the salad - cut into easily eaten pieces. Take about 30 minutes to enjoy.

    Cruise the entree line - decide before you start loading a plate. Baked or grilled fish, chicken, roasted turkey - small pieces. Lots of veggies like the green beans, a small baked white or sweet potato (no butter), broccoli, cauliflower. Hmm, look at the really good stuff - I love the carrot casserole - one little spoonful just for taste. Take 30 minutes to eat.

    Got any room left? Hit the fruits for dessert. Eat slowly. Enjoy. Watch other people piling fried food with gravy, pie with ice cream, etc on their plates. Know you are making good, healthy decisions.

    One of these buffets is about a mile from my house - I have to walk there and back, or I'm not allowed to eat there. The others are further away, so I can drive there while I'm out doing other errands - but I have to take a long walk before or afterward in the neighborhood at home.
    4302 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2514968
    We go to one every weekend.
    I have a salad ( I emailed them & got the carb counts for their dressings) so I have a 4 carb plateful.
    Then a nice slice of roast beef, & maybe some rotisserie chicken.
    Iced tea & no dessert ( they have sugar free ones, but I'm sure the carb counts are through the roof).
    SO I have a very filling fun lunch, for 4-6 net carbs. Works for me!
    4302 days ago
    Good rules to go by. Thanks.
    4302 days ago
    That was emoticon Renee...boy! you sure did think it through and they are all super.

    Glad I could inspire you.

    AND TIP# 17..........if you do all the above.....you will change your mind and eat somewhere else where you can have better control about what you are eating. emoticon
    4302 days ago
  • FAIRY74
    Great tips...if you have a plan in place you are much less likely to overdo it! Great ideas :)
    4302 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/30/2009 4:42:58 PM
    What great tips!!! When my husband and I first moved from MD to SC, we were overcome by all of the all you can eat buffets and went overboard, and, naturally, packed on some pounds. We now try to avoid them, but sometimes family gatherings bring us there. I will use your tips.
    4302 days ago
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