Dodging the buffet zone
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 6:10 p.m.
Q: My family loves to go to the local all-you-can-eat buffet for dinner. But I am really trying to eat better and lose weight. Any tips on how to survive this massive temptation to overeat all the wrong stuff?
— Mary S., Kokomo, In.
A: Congratulations for asking this question — and for realizing that you don't have to get overwhelmed by mountains of fried chicken and chocolate layer cake to have a good time with your family or a good meal.
Many North Americans are going all-out at all-you-can-eat buffets, from endless pancake breakfasts in LA to a Boston eatery with a selection of 125 desserts. But take the advice of one Buffett (Warren), applied to another buffet: "You only have to do a very few things right in your life, so long as you don't do too many things wrong."
So here are a few right things to keep the buffet experience from going all wrong.
Don't sit facing the buffet — and sit as far away from it as you can. Studies show that twice as many overweight folks face the food as normal-weight patrons, and overweight buffet patrons sit 16 feet closer to the food than normal-weight diners. Really. Sit in a booth, not at a table. It's a form of portion control — you'll be able to get fewer plates on the surface.
Always eat a plate full of vegetables before you eat anything else. Go for a salad with all the radishes, peppers, broccoli, onions, sprouts, olives and chickpeas you want. For dressing, splash on balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil.
Between courses, drink a full glass of water and wait five minutes before getting more food. Then have a second course with cooked veggies, no cheese or sauce. But don't skimp on flavor; add some condiments and spices, such as mustard or rosemary.
Now, the main course. Look for anything that's grilled or oven-roasted, without breading or sauce. If you get chicken, remove the skin before eating. And for dessert: fresh fruit and black coffee.
Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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