Guest post by Dan Seitz
Buffets are the enemy of any diet. Full of fatty foods, and sometimes with only a few healthy or low-
calorie options, you can find yourself undoing months of work in one night. But it doesn't have to be
that way, not with the help of science.
A study conducted by two Cornell economists found some behaviors that show why you bust your
belly at the buffet table...and how to avoid it.
− Don't sit in front of the buffet: put your back to it or sit with it at your side. When it faces
you, it's easier to see what's available...and easier to tell yourself one (or one more) serving of
beef stroganoff won't hurt.
− Use a smaller plate; larger plates will look empty when you properly serve yourself,
convincing you that just maybe you haven't had enough food.
− Before serving yourself, look over the entire buffet and see what's available, instead of
going for the first option you see. Not only will this help you plan your meal, it'll also allow
your stomach to get caught up with your hunger, so you'll know how much is hunger and how
much is just an interest in how that alfredo sauce tastes.
− Put a napkin on your lap. It may sound odd, but it'll keep you from automatically getting up
and going back to the buffet; you'll have time to think about what you want and whether you
really need a second serving.
− Chew your food thoroughly. As any dieter knows, a big part of the problem is that you can
serve yourself faster than your stomach can tell you you've had enough. Chewing slowly and
thoroughly will make sure it's got time to gauge how much you've had.
Beyond that, there are strategies you can use to avoid the buffet in the first place:
− If you're with family or friends and they suggest a buffet restaurant, see if you can talk them
into going to a sit-down restaurant with more options...and less temptation.
− If it's a sit-down restaurant with a buffet, order from the menu instead of getting the buffet.
That way, everyone's happy and you won't be faced with unhealthy choices.
− If it's a social occasion where a buffet is the only option, use the strategies above and focus on
the socializing. After all, you're there to talk with people: the food is just a courtesy.
− For potlucks and other buffet-like situations, bring a big batch of your favorite healthy
option. Not only will it ensure there's something for you to eat, the rest of the group will be
grateful for a little variety.
Buffets are a part of life, but there's no reason you can't go to one. All it takes is a little control...and
being mindful of where you sit.