Buffets can spell trouble when you're on a diet or trying to keep your portion sizes under control--it can be much easier to go to restaurants like The Thai D'or Restaurant where you just order one dish. However, you don't have to cringe and run in the other direction if your friends invite you to eat at a buffet with them. With these three tips, you can enjoy the buffet experience without overdoing it and blowing your diet.
Tip #1: Ask if there's a one-plate option.
The default choice at most buffets is all-you-can-eat, but some buffets offer a one-plate option. If you order this option, you generally pay a lower price than you would pay for all-you-can-eat, but you can only fill your plate up one time. This is a perfect strategy for keeping your intake under control. You'll be a lot less tempted to eat more food than you need, since the servers will likely be watching you to ensure you stick to your one-plate limit.
If you do not see a one-plate option on the restaurant's menu, still ask if they offer it. Some may offer this option but not post it, as they want to entice guests into buying the more expensive, all-you-can-eat option.
Tip #2: Start with a big salad.
Starting with a salad helps you to avoid over-eating in several ways. First, it fills you up with low-calorie, high-fiber food, so you don't have as much room left to indulge in the less healthy options. Second, it takes a lot of time to eat, so you are not left sitting there, empty handed, as your friends continue to eat.
Pay close attention to what you put on your salad, because if you load it up high with ingredients like bacon and cheese, it won't be a healthy, low-calorie choice at all. Stick with just vegetables, some meat for protein, and a low-fat dressing.
Tip #3: Don't even walk by the stations with foods you're likely to over-indulge in.
A lot of dieters make the mistake of thinking they'll have just a little of that tempting cake or fatty pasta dish. However, at a buffet, just a little quickly turns into seconds and thirds. You're better off avoiding the stations that include the foods you find most tempting altogether.
When attending a buffet with your friends, make sure they know you're trying to limit your portion sizes. This way, they'll be more likely to be supportive of your decision to stick with one plate, eat a lot of salad, and avoid certain stations, rather than questioning why you're behaving this way.