Do you eat at the 'All You Can Eat' buffets?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Well, if you answer YES, I'm sure you eat differently there than you used to - or I at least hope you do.

I still enjoy eating at the buffet - though my own theory has changed - it used to be 'Get My Monies Worth' - now it is 'Get Variety & Flavor in one small plate'. Yes, it can be done - What is my strategy....

When I arrive, I order hot tea and a glass of water for myself and wait for it to arrive. In the meantime, I look around me (while my companions are already off and filling their plates) and make sure that my frame of mind is ready to control ME and my eating.

I'll take a good drink of the water and a few sips of the hot tea (often interchangeably - hot/cold/hot/cold does a lot to defer hunger). By then all my table companions have returned with plates heaped with food (they way I used to eat? eeekkk).

Then I rise and tour the isles of food trays - really looking and deciding what looks good and what I want to eat. Yes, even checking out the dessert bar, is there really anything there that I cannot live without (rarely). Soup, love soup, is it hot? hate cold soup; salad, really love them, but prefer romaine that doesn't have the preservation chems on it, so I'll eat that at home.

By the time I actually pick up a plate, some of my table companions are already starting to fill a second plate (geez, did I used to eat like that?). Now honestly, I don't pick the healthy foods that I can make at home (steamed vegies, etc), I do choose savory and saucy - mussels covered in cheese sauce, fried chicken in peanut sauce, buttered or coconut prawns, ..... But I take a very very small small portion of each - and I do pick healthy things that I rarely make at home, like whole green beans (why won't mine taste that good) and baked salmon or roasted chicken, .... but again, in very very small small portions.

When I return to the table, my plate is not heaped and although there is a variety of food, up to ten items, I can still see the plate underneath. But before I eat, I again drink some water and sip on my hot tea.

I picked foods that looked good, but now that they are at nose level... I smell, do they smell as good as they look? I taste, do they taste as good as they look and smell? If the answer is no, I do not swallow, but politely cough them into a napkin and move on to another item on my plate.

Most importantly, I have learned to eat slowly and enjoy the foods in my mouth. Where are my table companions - usually after plate 3, desserts, or even ready to go home. I don't care...this is my body and my journey and I want to get my monies worth! Yes, it takes me several minutes to eat and if I want (which I rarely do) to get a second plate, it often only has two or three very very small small portions on it.

Granted, I don't get to eat buffet often, but something I have really noticed.... my table companions are starting to follow my example, they are slowing down their own quantities of food and actually eating less and hopefully enjoying more.

Control your environment, enjoy your choices, and have a positive influence on your friends!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great strategies for buffet self-control. I go to a favorite chinese buffet twice a year, on my birthday and my DH birthday. I decided to not count calories on those days, after all there's birthday cake when we get home. Still I try to eat moderately and look for the healthiest options, but I'll still have half an eggroll and a FEW onion rings.
    3342 days ago
  • FANCIE217
    We go out to an all you can eat buffet once every two weeks. Before I wouldn't even touch a salad (I used to think it was a waste of money) but now that is the first thing I go for... I do have a second plate, but it's mostly veggies, maybe some (unbreaded) fish, stuff I think is reasonably healthy for me. I'll go up again and visit the fruit bar. And have a brownie with ice cream for dessert.

    I figure if I go over my calories for one day it won't hurt...
    3574 days ago
    I wish I had that much control.
    3746 days ago
    OMG.. just look at all the responses you got on this blog! Good topic!

    Frankly, I've only been to one buffet restaurant (not counting the ones in casinos... which are often fabulous) that are worth the calories. "All You Can Eat" makes my pants tighter just reading the words! I have a definite problem with portion control... even if the food isn't worth it. Sad, but true.

    When the food IS worth is... like at Harrah's... there's endless comfort food at my disposal... mac & cheese, meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, tapioca... OMG... make me stop... NOW! Oh yeah... and I'm with you on the Money's Worth thing. It also appeals to the frugal gal in me. I love a good value.... but what you don't pay for out of pocket, you might pay dearly in the end... if you get my drift. Sheesh.

    So I avoid buffets... and since I don't go to Harrah's anymore, that's one temptation that I can easily avoid. Thank goodness!

    Fun blog!
    3778 days ago
    Buffets are big temptations which test you willpower every time you put something on your plate
    Small portions and just a taste can be satisfying and you do not get comments from others with you
    One buffet at a time
    3784 days ago
    oh after hearing about Mrs. N i dont know if i'll ever eat at another buffet grouse never thought about that...but some people dont have ediquete when it comes to hygeine and food.... emoticon
    3785 days ago
  • MOM4407BECKY
    I have avoided the Buffet I am going to try your advice on the next potluck then maybe I can work up to a buffet.
    3786 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5553906
    We have a chinese buffet that is really good and each time I go there, I modify my choices a bit. When I walked out of there the last time, I knew I had too much and decided on my next visit I will stick to just a few things - salad, shrimp (chilled, not fried) and sushi. I may still be over on my calories, but they are much healthier options and I won't walk out of there feeling miserable! Thanks for the great tips and insight!
    3786 days ago
  • CATLADY_56
    We ate at a buffet for Christmas. It was huge and very fancy. Not at home food at all. I way over ate. I had weight loss surgery 1.5 yrs ago. My tummy is pretty small. I was in pain and I hadn't eaten anywhere close to what I used to eat.
    You have great guidelines for a buffet. I usually stay away from all you can eat because it its more cost effective for me to eat something small off the menu, I can take home a box and not be tempted to hurt myself by over eating.
    3786 days ago
    I have learned to only fill my plate once and make sure that what I put on the plate I will eat and enjoy! With me a taste is better than overeating! Since being on SP, I have learned a lot about enjoying what I eat! Thank you for sharing.

    3786 days ago
    what a great post! I stopped eating at the buffet lines once I went gluten free. Usually not enough choices for me or too many questions wondering if this is GF or not.

    I was wondering if your dinning partners commented or not on your changed habits.

    3786 days ago
    Last time we went to one, I just ate salad. My dad took us out to dinner and was grumpy that I was only eating vegetables at first, but now he understands and "gets it" that i've made a change.
    3786 days ago
    I have to stay away from all you can eat places... I haven't yet learned to have your wonderful kind of self control! You're doing so great!
    3786 days ago
    I always peruse the buffet and then pile my plate up. I rarely eat at the buffet, but when I do I like to try a little of whatever looks good. And I don't always finish my plate.

    It's funny, but I do the spit into the napkin thing too. And always drink lots of water with my meal (I find buffet food very salty).
    3786 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4343879
    good post, but i am one that wont eat at the buffet, for one thing ever wonder why they put that glass case hanging over the food? its not to keep it warm, its to keep the tall people from sneezing or I know this is nasty but dripping sweat or snot in to the food. But what about the smaller people, they can glance right inside. and then the kids, oh my, germ fest there. they pick up stuff with their hands and put it back.
    also alot of the times the resturants do not keep the right temp regulated for the cold food or the warm.

    just be careful. alot of stuff could be lurking
    3786 days ago
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