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Volume III
November 11, 2011

Weekly Home / No More Blood Sugar s

10 Tips to Surviving the Buffet Table

By Alice Osborne

Every once in awhile we go to a pretty good local buffet restaurant, the Golden Corral, when we have some family event to celebrate. The reason I even mention it is in regards to the goal of controlling portions and amounts - something those of us with blood sugar issues need to pay careful attention to.

There's something about a buffet (whether formal, such as a restaurant, or informal such as a church pot luck) that encourages overeating. Especially at a commercial buffet, the unspoken attitude seems to be, "I gotta get my money's worth!" Anyone out there relate?

Melanie Douglass, author of Tip-a-Day Guide for Healthy Living, agrees. She says that "A little scoop of this" and "A little scoop of that" isn't as innocent as it sounds. About 1500 calories later, and it's apparent the average buffet adds up to something pretty significant. As a registered dietician, she's studied this pattern and has some good advice for us. Here are her hot tips to surviving the buffet table:

1. Visit the salad bar first; load up on leafy greens, fresh veggies, seeds, nuts or beans, and low-fat dressing.

2. Top the salad with a serving of lean meat or seafood; some buffets typically serve grilled salmon or halibut.

3. Skip cheese, bacon, croutons, and the high-fat salad dressings.

4. Round out the meal with fresh fruit and just ONE dinner roll (without the butter, if possible).

5. If a salad won't fill the bill, limit yourself to two plates for the entire meal - one of salad and another with protein and steamed veggies.

6. Choose baked sweet potato (not the kind with the layer of marshmallows, though) over the typical baked russet - it's much easier on the glycemic index.

7. Be strict about serving size - one serving of meat should be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

8. Skip the soda fountain choices and go for lemon water or herb tea.

9. Eat slowly - chew, chew, chew each and every bite. Take time to savor flavors and enjoy table talk between each bite. That's the other thing about buffets - they're often noisy, chaotic, and foster hurry. Resist all that by deliberately slowing down.

10. Try to skip the dessert bar - once you start it's hard to stop. If the rest of your party is indulging in desserts, go for another serving of veggies or protein. You'll thank yourself in the morning. This slogan helps me stick to what I know is right for me:

And finally, here's the deal: Most of us live with or pal around with folks that just don't have the same goals as we do, eating-wise. For instance, "Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie!" is a typical joke when I join the family at the ol' Golden Corral. And the pressure only mounts from there. Believe me, these tips save my bacon (food pun intended). So give them a try and see if they save yours, too!

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