Battle the Buffet: Display and Activity Ideas

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Battle the Buffet: Tales from the Trenches

A large chain all-you-can-eat buffet opened a couple years ago in our community. Since this is a small town with limited restaurant choices, it has become very popular. It also has a meeting room where local clubs and groups meet. Sometimes “not going there” is not an option.

So the challenge… can you go to a buffet and not overdo it?

Here are a few suggestions from members of my weight loss and healthful eating class:

  • Check it all out first and decide what you really want. Decide which calories are “worth it.”
  • Start with the salad and fresh vegetable section — fill a plate with these. Watch the dressing.
  • Look for fruit — canned peaches and fruit cocktail in syrup doesn’t count.
  • Look for grilled items.
  • Do they have steamed items? Maybe peel-and-eat shrimp?
  • Skip things with sauces, high fat cheeses, and gravy.

These are all great suggestions, and I’d like to add a few of my own…

  • It’s OK to take just a little. Sit down. Eat slowly. Then get a clean plate and get something else.
  • Remember MyPlate. Every time you get something, fill at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  • If you want dessert, go for just one item. Select the one you really want, don’t nibble on several.
  • Chocolate fountains may actually be a blessing. These fountains usually offer fruit and angel food cake as dippers — both good choices —even with a little chocolate.

Members of my class are very assertive. They told the manager when they weren’t satisfied with the choices.

If your clients aren’t finding appropriate choices, have them tell the management or fill out any evaluations. They’re probably not the only ones who are having trouble.

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Display and Activity Ideas for Battling the Buffet:

Post these ideas, along with pictures of healthful foods and reasonable portions, on a bulletin board.

Brainstorm other ways to make healthful choices at buffets. Discuss possible pitfalls and how to avoid them. Post the list somewhere visible or send it out as an email blast to all your participants.

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