dieting buffet

7 Strategies for Eating at a Buffet Without Gaining Weight!

Word Count: 724
Average Read Time: 2 minutes 38 seconds

Have you ever found yourself at a buffet while on a diet, facing the decision of “Do I starve and sit here miserably while everyone else enjoys themselves?” or "Do I throw my diet out the window for the day?”

In a perfect world, you would simply avoid buffets when dieting and wouldn’t be faced with this decision in the first place, but we don’t live in a perfect world. You can’t always choose where you eat. Here are seven strategies to help you enjoy yourself at a buffet without destroying your diet in the process:

1) Drink diet soda.

Drinking diet soda will add a grand total of zero Calories to your meal. Water also has zero Calories, but diet soda has one other trick up it’s sleeve that will be very beneficial for this situation. The carbonation from the diet soda will help stretch the stomach, making you feel full faster, resulting in you eating less.

I know there’s been lot’s of controversy around artificial sweeteners. If you’re concerned about diet drinks, check out these three posts:

  1. Artificial Sweeteners Part I - Do They Make You Fat?

  2. Artificial Sweeteners Part II - Do They Cause Diabetes?

  3. Artificial Sweeteners Part III - Do They Cause Cancer?

2) Eat a salad.

If there’s a salad bar available, eat a salad with low fat dressing on top. Lettuce is one of the least Calorie dense foods on the planet, meaning you can eat a ton of it for very few Calories. As an added bonus, salad is very filling. In other words, you’ll get full faster, while eating fewer Calories.

(Fun fact: There are 124,444 Calories in an actual ton of lettuce.)

3) Focus on grilled meats and veggies.

Once it’s time for the main course, fill your plate with grilled meats and veggies that are either grilled or steamed. Proteins from the meat and fiber from the veggies are both very filling, which will help you get full faster. They also are relatively low in Calories. (Are you picking up on the pattern here?)

4) Take your time.

Our stomachs have stretch receptors that tell the brain when we're full, but this process isn't instantaneous. (It takes about 20 minutes.) Take your time when eating and take a couple of minutes after finishing your plate before returning to the bar.

If you are eating too quickly, you can easily shovel in a massive number of extra Calories before realizing you've had enough to eat. (As an added bonus, this strategy will also keep you from feeling miserable when you’re finished eating.)

5) Limit your trips.

Only take three trips to the bar. The first trip should be a salad. The second trip should be mostly meats and veggies. The third trip can be either more meats and veggies or it can be dessert.


6) Choose dessert carefully.

If you have a sweet tooth like me and have to have dessert, choose it strategically. Calories consumed from dessert foods can rapidly add up to an astronomical number. First, grab a small plate if there’s a smaller size available.

Second, make sure to fill at least part of your plate with fruit. Fruits will be lower in Calories and most fruits have a decent fiber content, again, helping you get full faster.


7) Add a buffer.

Lastly, if you’re tracking your Calories or macros, find the most similar food items to what you ate in your food tracking app of choice and add a 20% buffer on top to account for any error between what you actually ate and your estimate of what you ate. You can do this by simply taking the serving size and multiplying it by 1.2.


Simply put, finding yourself at a buffet isn’t good when dieting; however, if you follow these strategies, you’ll be able to avoid weight gain without being miserable in the process.

Thank you so much for reading! If you found this information helpful and want to help the Treadaway Training blogcast grow, simply share this post with a friend. If you like what I have to say, sign up below to become a Treadaway Training insider or check out my YouTube channel. I will be back here Saturday with another body transformation topic. As always, God bless you AND your family and I'll see you Saturday.