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7 tips when Eating at a Buffet

By Jeanne Bedard, Head of Dietetics and Nutrition at Perfect Balance.


When is the last time you went to a brunch, buffet style lunch or gathering? How did you feel afterwards? Do you remember what you ate? As research shows that increased variety affects how much we eat, here are a few strategies to stay in your comfort zone and true to your health goals.

1. How hungry will you be when you get there? We all know that going grocery shopping when we are starving is not the best idea. Same goes for events and gatherings. On the scale below, 4 to 6 is where we make the best choices about quality and quantity. Avoid skipping meals or saving calories before a big event. Plan the meal time before the event so you can arrive there comfortably of hungry. If you practice intermittent fasting or tend to not feel hunger or fly by your body cues, technics of intuitive eating could help you move forward.

2. Once you get to the venue, take a minute to check in with yourself and how you feel. What are you looking forward to do here? The presence of someone, the conversations, the ambiance and music, the view? Take a moment to note the enjoyable part of the event that are not related to do food. This helps you to understand none food related factors of satisfaction.


3. When it is time to eat, go around the buffet area and look at all the options available. Look at all the options without a plate in your hands. Identify the ones that really attract you. Take the time to smell and enjoy the colours and presentation. After all, we also eat with our eyes!

4. Acknowledge the novelty and excitement. You will have access to a larger variety of food. Challenge the "visual food portion habit" by serving yourself a small portion at the time. Take notes of the top 5 "exciting" food at gathering and buffet. You can use those ideas as meal inspiration and keep in mind you can eat those food again another day (avoid the last supper mentality).

5. Mix it up but be selective. Start the meal with your favourite salad and get a mix of vegetables, proteins and grains or starchy vegetables or bread. Keep some room for the desert!

6. Enjoy the taste! Make sure to get full satisfaction and eat the food while it's at an optimal temperature. The slower you eat your food, the more time you give your taste buds and your brain to register that you are eating tasty food. Use all your senses and try to guess the ingredients in the dish!

7. Give some attention to your body a few times during the meal. How full do you feel? Try to end the meal feeling comfortable and energized. Avoid waiting until you are too full, uncomfortable and sleepy...

If you are looking to find practical ways to change your nutrition habit without feeling stuck in a restrictive meal plan, reach out to our team so you can learn more about the intuitive eating approach.

Learn more about dietetics here.



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