Pathways to Wellness

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All you can eat

All-you-can eat-buffets can be attractive if you are in a hurry.  Because buffets are often less expensive than ordering a la carte, it can also be a way of spending less money when eating out.  Lots of choices lead us to over-eat as we try to sample everything.  

Here are a few strategies to help you eat healthy at all-you-can-eats:

  • Walk around the whole buffet before serving yourself anything.  Studies show that diners are much more likely to choose the first food they see than the third food.  Why settle for what’s first when a better choice might be further down the table? 
  • Use a small plate – people eat much less food on smaller plates but feel just as satisfied.
  • Make your own a la carte meal.  Instead of sampling a little bit of everything in the buffet, create a meal as if you were ordering off the menu.  Start with a salad or appetizer, select one main dish and a couple of side vegetables.  If you still have room for dessert, go for fruit or split a prepared dessert with your dinner companion.
  • Choose grilled, sauted or steamed meats, fish and vegetables over fried foods or dishes with sauces.
  • Sit as far away from the buffet as possible and with your back to the buffet.  This can help you resist the temptation to go back for seconds.  Out of sight, out of mind!
  •  Portion size matters:  All-you-can-eat doesn’t mean you have to eat it all! 

The same strategies can help you at family, work or community gatherings where food is self-served.

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