Surviving Christmas buffets

Buffet-style parties are so popular, especially during the holidays. I’m sure you’d agree that they are dangerous to one’s waistline and blood sugar levels. So far I’ve survived (I’d like to think) three such Christmas buffets this month.

Buffet

Buffet

I cannot eat everything.

I used to try to eat everything at every buffet I went to. Friends and I used to compete to see who can eat the most. I’d go home with a stomach ache and several pounds heavier. I learned to dread buffets because of what they did to my waistline until I realized that no one can possibly eat everything. I couldn’t possibly eat everything, and I didn’t have to. When I came to this realization, I felt a major part of the pressure to eat lift from my shoulders. Now, when I go to buffets, I no longer feel the urge to try to eat everything because I know that I simply can’t.

I check what’s on offer.

Before queueing, I survey all the dishes, from appetizers to desserts. This helps me decide what to eat, and more importantly what to leave on the serving trays. Choosing without knowing what are available is difficult to do. In addition, in selecting dishes, I prioritize dishes that I or my husband cannot make, or cannot make well, at home, and I ignore cheap high-calorie food like spaghetti, other pasta dishes, and potato salad.

I use small plates.

I avoid big plates for obvious reasons. It is easy for me to overload on food when I use big plates. Big plates encourage me to eat more and faster and to return to the buffet table even faster. By the time I realize that I’m full, it’s too late – I’d already have eaten one week’s worth of food! Hence, I use small plates, and one plate  (not two or three) at a time. I also do not make a mountain of food on my plate. This way, I give myself time to digest my food before going back for seconds or thirds, and if I want to eat more, I have to go back to the buffet table and line up all over again.

Small plate

I socialize.

At networking events or office parties, socializing means fewer opportunities to eat. It’s really hard, not to mention rude and unprofessional, to talk with your mouth full. By spending less time eating, I end up meeting new people or reacquainting with people I have not seen or been in contact with for a while, which is what these events are for in the first place. This applies to home parties and dinners as well. Instead of focusing on food, I try to focus on the people I am with.

Other things I do

I also have a small snack before going to a buffet party. This helps me from raiding the table, and makes it easier for me to follow the plan I outlined above.

I drink a lot of water. In these events, drinks (and I mean alcohol) are usually overflowing as well. If I drink too much, I get the munchies and of course I get drunk (not good at a business event). Drinking water not only helps me feel full, it also keeps me from making a drunken fool of myself.

I wear fitted clothes to keep me from overindulging. A bulging stomach on a fitted blouse or over tight pants is not a pretty sight.

Oh, and I dance if there is dancing involved.

Will this work over the New Year holidays?

So, so far, I think I’ve survived the Christmas buffets this year. The question is whether I will survive the buffets I am scheduled to encounter soon. Hubby and I will be at Club Med in Hokkaido for a few days of skiing. Club Med has buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, not to mention snacks in between. Oh boy! Check in with me in a couple of weeks to see how I survive my coming great buffet test!

And a Merry Christmas to everyone!

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