Saturday, March 31, 2012

Surviving a Buffet

As a calorie counter, I have developed a great fear of food-unknown. When it comes to the simplest thought of eating out (at places I know won't have calories listed), I basically lock myself inside and shut the blinds in fear. I have become a social-eating shut in.

But sometimes, it can't be avoided.

JD and I have a devotional group with some coworkers. We recently wrapped up the book that we were working through together, and as an end-note, decided we would gather for group communion followed by...a potluck.
That was my first response. Naturally.
To someone who calculates every single little thing that goes into my body, few things are scarier than a buffet-type situation. Especially when it is a buffet full of everyone's favorite comfort foods. However, with the following tips, you can make your seemingly terrifying meal, the lovely social gathering it was intended to be (and it was!)

My Survival Guide to Buffet Eating:
Step 1: Drink lots of water.
Make sure that you're well hydrated before you start filling up your plate. Often times our brains tell us we're hungry, when we're actually just thirsty. Having plenty of water in our system can save us from binging on foods we think we want, but know we shouldn't.

Keep it simple: Green lettuce (NOT iceberg), onion, and light ranch
Step 2: Start with a LARGE salad.
Heavy on the greens, light on the everything else. Because we knew there wasn't going to be salad there, JD and I enjoyed ours before we left home. If you know that salad will be found there, take precaution to leave off the cheese, croutons, and highly caloric dressing. (We mix up our own light ranch (it's WAY better if you mix it yourself), but if you aren't a fan of that, you might be pleasantly surprised by salsa. And it's so low!)

Step 3: Think French.
It is apparently commonplace in France to eat a little bit of many different things. Fill your plate with just a little bit of each thing you want to eat. Being conscious of your target portion sizes before you step up to the buffet line will help you reign it in before you start piling it on.

Step 4: If you don't LOVE it, don't eat it.
We all do this plenty...we grab something we think looks excellent, are quite disappointed with the flavor once we try it, but keep eating it because we don't hate it. However, I say-if you don't love it, it's just not worth it. I know this might sound wasteful, but if you're keeping your portions small, then you won't be wasting that much, and you can always offer it up to a partner or friend who might be enjoying it more than you, anyway!

Do you have any tips for what you do when you're at a potluck or buffet? Share in the comments!


  1. Love 4th step:) " If u don't love it, don't eat it. "
    U have a cute blog, there:D

    Following you:)
    It'll be so nice, if you follow me back:)

    Have a sparkling day!

  2. At our church potlucks the dessert table is almost as big as the regular food table. How do I avoid that?
    Thanks for you tips, they are helpful.

    Arryn Parker

  3. Thanks, Arryn! I know how helpful it is to hear about other people's experiences:)
    I would make a plate-less scan of the buffet tables first, and note the things I *really* want to eat, savory and sweet. I have a major sweet tooth, so a lot of dessert choices can really be tough for my restraint, so if there are a lot of things I want to eat, I would take extra small portions...enough for 2 small bites of each. After the dessert, I would drink coffee (black with sweetener) to fix my mouth on something else.
    I hope this is helpful!

  4. Also worth mentioning, I always schedule my maintenance days around events like this. I give myself wiggle-room knowing what will be facing me;)

  5. I have a friend who brushes her teeth after every meal so that she doesn't feel tempted to keep grazing after dinner. I'm going to start incorporating this into my routine, I think.
    I mention it because you can buy those little Whisp things to stash in your purse and brush your teeth. Or maybe carry around a travel bottle of mouthwash. Pristine oral health is a lovely side effect.

  6. This was very helpful! Loved your blog :)

  7. Great steps for handling a buffet because buffets are very tempting and so easy to eat too much from. I like step #4 the best. If I don't love it, I don't eat it from the buffet. That eliminates a lot for me.

  8. The buffet mentality is automatically a problem for me. I have lived by the pile... pile it on and be surprised what you find at the bottom! And then GO BACK for dessert! Now I have rules: Rule #1: there's only one layer. No surprises. I don't count my calories, and have lost 40 lbs by simply controlling my portions. So Rule #2: Use a small plate. Since you can't control the plate size at a pot luck... Bring your own! My rule is the food can't touch and the plate can't be large! and finally Rule #3: a healthy snack in between meals will help your mind feel full so you can take smaller portions and not feel cheated!

  9. hi sweetie,
    lovely blog!
    im following you now hun, mind to follow back?

  10. dian- Of course! Following:) BTW- those pics of you and your boyfriend are fantastic!