Admit it. We all love being in a buffet. And the only moment we feel hatred towards it (or ourselves) is when we stare blankly in front of the table and feel dumbfounded. Which food should you start with among the vast ocean of delights waiting to be devoured? It’s difficult to decide since your long-time favorites are gazing back at you, but the hearty aroma of your cravings are emanating with pride, and are promising rapture if you choose them instead. But hey, why not get both, right? After all, we are in a buffet. So you have decided to have both—in one plate. One plate after another, you perceive that little by little, you are actually getting the value of the entrance ticket. Well, buffets are not cheap; and they say that it’s dumb not to “eat-all-you-can” in a place where you are both free and expected to “eat-all-you-can”.

After stuffing yourself like medieval royalty at the dining table, you felt this sudden discomfort. It’s then that you recall the rusty clichés, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing” or “not everything that glitters is gold”. Then you realize that the reason why you feel that discomfort is because you are comically heavy. And that piercing discomfort suddenly turned into regret.

The Eat-All-You-Can Trap

As stated above, many people tend to binge at a buffet since it is rational to get the value of what you have paid, and it’s wise to get an amount greater than what you had expended. Though it’s true that you have probably outsmarted the concept by just following the free-range idea of eat-all-you-can, you are also putting a ploy on your body and overall health by succumbing into unwarranted excess. This dilemma is often experienced by weight-watchers since they usually have an ambivalent look towards eat-all-you-can buffets. At one point, you go to such restaurants because of the company that you have, and the wide variety and free-flowing scrumptious food that they have. On the flip side, you are trying to lose weight.

So let’s discuss how you can outsmart both the value of what you had paid, and still do weight-loss and eat healthy. Or at least eat better.

Plan the day

Healthy food meal plan
Photo by Vita Sun

One of the faulty habits people practice before going to a buffet is reserving “room” in their gut by not having any meals beforehand. This will obviously make you overcompensate on your next meal (regardless if you are going to a buffet or not) since you feel that you need to stuff that extra space that you have. By having your regular meal, you can help minimise the likelihood of overcompensating, or overeating.

Use a small plate, or saucer

Large vs small portion of spaghetti
Photo by Jose Luis Stephens

By using a small plate, you can actually control more what you are getting from the buffet table. Since there is a big tendency to fill the plate with your delights of choice, you can try to hack your portions by limiting the space available by using a saucer. NO STACKING.

Limit heavy carbs

Healthy vs unhealthy food
Photo by Ekaterina Markelova

When going to a buffet, you may notice that the plates of other guests, or let’s be more specific, your plate, is most of the time, half-filled with heavy carbs such pasta, potatoes, rice, or bread. Apparently, these food items are the culprit in early satiety and give loads of calories which make you immobile and lazy after eating. They are also the reason why you didn’t have the other stuff you wanted because you are already too full to reconsider or even move a little. The key here is to have just little portions of those carbs that you wanted to have. Or better yet, try to replace those heavy carbs with lighter ones say, salad in vinaigrette, to minimize your caloric intake and be burden-free from a heavy, bloated stomach that these those carbs bring.

Only drink water

Water in a bottle
Photo by Syda Productions

Water makes you feel full. After munching on your desired food items from the long table of delights, drink a glass of water to help your body signal to itself that you are done. And it’s an open secret that water has 0 calories, so there’s no need to mention how advantageous it is to have it instead of soda or juice.

Eat slowly and chew your food well

Man eating pasta ravenously
Photo by TeodorLazarev

We’d hear this a lot when we were kids. But because everything now is fast, dining for pleasure is apparently, not spared. So why should we eat slowly and chew our food well? It’s because it takes more or less, 20 minutes for our brain to signal to our body that we have had enough. Also, chewing our food better helps our stomach to experience less burning while doing its job. That’s why people who eat fast get excruciatingly full after some minutes of food rampage. And, come on. You’re in a buffet. You might be there with some people, so why not enjoy the company too?

It’s fairly simple, honestly. But the heaviest burden is always on the self-conditioning and control aspect. Remember, our eating habit is still a habit. And habits can be changed for the better.

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