Nothing can derail a diet faster than a buffet line—unless you go in with a game plan.

By Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD
March 09, 2015

When you’ve been watching every bite and then come face-to-face with an endless line of tempting food, even the best dieting intentions can fall to the wayside. In fact, nothing can derail a diet faster than a buffet line—unless you go in with a game plan. To enjoy a buffet and stay on track with your diet, first, make sure you never go hungry. Have a small low-calorie snack such as carrots and hummus, an apple with peanut butter, or half of a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread before you dine. All are 200 calories or less but fill you up thanks to their fiber and protein content. Second, scan what’s available before getting a plate and decide what you will and won’t choose. If possible, when you do go through the line, position yourself behind a friend who eats healthy and follow his or her lead. Load up on fruits and veggies, followed by leaner protein choices such as boiled shrimp, grilled chicken, or carved beef. Avoid the creamy dips and casseroles. Finally, choose a seat far from the buffet line. Research suggests that you’re less likely to make a second trip the farther you sit from the buffet.

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