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6 Tips to Get You Through the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet
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6 Tips to Get You Through the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

By Kristina Steinberg, RD


For some people, the buffet is more of a challenge than a meal. You could have a salad with low calorie dressing and a piece of skinless baked chicken.


But to get the most for your dollar, you are more likely to load the salad with all sorts of unhealthy toppings plus a superhigh calorie dressing. And instead of baked chicken, you might throw a slab of meat loaf on your plate, along with a scoop of macaroni and cheese.


Just because its all-u-can-eat doesn’t mean you should. The best advice may be to avoid these types of restaurants yet if you are invited and feel you must go, here are some helpful tips:


1. Call ahead. Check to see if you can order from a menu while the rest of your party eats from the buffet. 

2. Go hydrated. Drink a glass of water before leaving the house or when you get to the restaurant. This will help ward off hunger and help you eat less.

3. Check it out before you get your plate. Walk the buffet to survey what is available. Then just start with a warm broth-based soup to fill you up.

4. Look for these foods. Focus on sticking to non-fried, protein-rich foods and non-starchy vegetables. Good sources of protein include poultry, fish/seafood, beef, pork, eggs, milk, and cheese.


5. Choose quality of food over quantity of food. Don’t feel like you must “get your money’s worth”. Eat slowly, making your meal last 20 minutes and pay attention to your hunger signal and stop when you feel full.


6. Eat with your stomach, not your eyes. Limit yourself to one plate or get a to-go box instead and pay that way – could be a set price or by the pound. Price may be better, and you will have leftovers which you can take home.