How to approach a buffet
Firstly, Merry Christmas!! I haven’t updated the blog in a while, so what better time to start than Christmas eve with a few tips to help you enjoy the festivities and holidays to come without blowing your hard work in the gym this year.
One of the greatest things about all-inclusive hotel holidays and buffet dining is the huge variety of salacious food. But when you’re vacationing in a place that looking hot in a bikini is of somewhat importance, or even just want to have the energy to explore and do fun activities, eating from a buffet can also prove a hindrance… if you don’t know how to tackle it right. So I’ve put together a few tips I stick by (and enforced upon my Peruvian friend Valeria on our recent trip away together, who has the Miss Universe pageant coming up in January) that allows me to enjoy the yummy food but still be able to climb a mountain or two and look half decent in a beach holiday selfie.
- Do a lap before you fill your plate. This will give you an idea of what tastiest options are rather than filling up on stuff you only half like in the first 1/10th of the buffet and overeating cos you still haven’t got to the good stuff yet.
2. Use the small dessert plates instead of the larger, standard ones. Fill eat, eat it, sip some water, have at least 15 minutes of table conversation and then refill if still hungry. You’re on holiday… there’s no need to rush.
3. Eat your veggies first. There are 6 food groups that you should be eating from each day to maintain a healthy balanced diet; carbs, protein, fat, veggies, fruit, dairy (or non-dairy alternatives). All of them are pretty easy to tastily fulfil at most buffets, though veggies can prove most difficult – particularly at breakfast – even though arguably the most important food group! I’ll tell you why they’re so important: generally, they contain more bang-for-your-buck when it comes to nutrients than any other food, while being lowest in calories. They also tend to be high in fibre which will make you feel full. So when weight loss is the goal (or at least minimal weight gain), veggies are your secret weapon. 1 serve = 1 cup of raw or ½ cup of cooked veggies. Girls we should be aiming for at least 5 serves a day, and at least 6 for guys. If you’re trying to get in some veggies at breakfast and realise that your only option is via an omelette, then you don’t want to realise this after you’ve already eaten poached eggs and ham on toast and end up eating wayyyy too much protein that you really need. So just eat the veggies first, in whatever form works best.
4. Get in a little lean protein each meal. Personally, I think the protein is usually the yummiest thing on a buffet, so I think its easier to overeat protein than it is ever hard to find options. This is where the “do a lap” becomes important… to help you just choose your favorite 1 or 3 things have a small amount of each without overdoing it.
5. Stop eating when you’re not hungry. This is like, #1 rule to avoid getting fat.
6. Divide your carbs. If you’re doing a solid 30-60 min exercise session each day (as you should), it is recommended that you eat around 6 serves of carbs per day. Rather than eating them all in your first meal and then feeling like you have to deprive yourself the rest of the day (which let’s be honest – you probably won’t haha), give yourself and “allowance” each meal. So if you are eating 3 main meals a day, allow yourself 2 serves at each meal (or any other way you want to divide it up, eg. 3 at breakfast, 2 at lunch, 1 at dinner, etc.). This way you can still enjoy and get the nutrients you need from the yummy carby food without feeling guilty.
7. Allow yourself 1 small treat per day, as long as you’ve exercised. After all, you’re on holiday so its ok to relax the rules a little and enjoy a treat, just don’t go crazy having them at every meal… Then it becomes a staple, not a “treat”. And FYI, if you have your dessert at lunch time (as opposed to at dinner) and it fills you up too much, you can either balance it with a smaller dinner or you have time to get active and burn some of those extra calories before you hit the sack.
Remember… if it’s a buffet, it will still be there later when you’re actually hungry again. And if its Christmas lunch, the less you eat now, the more future meals you can be eating amazing left overs. 😉