I don't like eating at buffets. Generally speaking I don't go to buffet style restaurants, or attend buffet-service events at my golf club by choice. I don't like the thought of other people sneezing all over my food, or maybe even sticking their fingers in it. Just to "have a taste". I don't even like watching other people load up their plates with all kinds of dishes running into each other. "Getting their money's worth, " seems to be the end goal. People have even told me that they'll very lightly for several days before going to a Mandarin . . . and not at all the day of the "big feast".
OK, I 'm sorry if that sounds judgmental . . . but gotta admit, I felt that way even before I lost weight.
However, I do absolutely get it: sometimes for a hostess, particularly over the holiday period, serving buffet style makes sense. Especially when there are lots of people with different food preferences. Or maybe it's a pot luck, with family members sharing the work and the cost of hosting a big family event.
So supposing I've just got to eat at a buffet, whether I want to or not: what's the best approach if I want to eat healthy?
New research tells us what we might have anticipated: that if the first foods I encounter at a buffet are high calorie, I'm likely to end up eating more calories than if I start with the healthier stuff.
Most of the time we don't survey all the possibilities before we start filling our plates. Particularly at a person's home, it seems somehow kinda rude; scoping out all the "good stuff" (the fresh jumbo shrimp) and by-passing the not-so-great stuff (neon bright marshmallow Dream Whip canned fruit cocktail jello moulds).
But -- it's better if we do. Meaning that I should walk past the deep fried and heavily sauced stuff, start with the fresh veggies and the fruits. Makes sense.
Not so self evident: if I do start with the high calorie foods, I'm also way more likely to load up my plate to excess. So it's not just high calorie choices -- starting with the high calorie items encourages me to take more food by volume than I really need too. Seventy-five per cent of people will take the first item they see; 66 per cent will take some of the first 3 items they see; and people who take high cal items first will help themselves to 31% more items than people who start with veggies.
And if I'm hosting a buffet myself?? If I want to help out the guests who are trying to eat healthy, I'm thinking that I should organize the sequence of offerings with the healthiest items first. And maybe cut down the number of choices. Because I know if there are six fancy holiday cookies on the cookie platter, I'll want to try one of each.