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How to Beat the Buffet Bulge

With a little planning, it is possible.

I have finally reached that stage of life, where holidays with three boys have progressed from simply being the relocation of chaos from home to a less suitably equipped environment, to becoming a relaxing and (mostly) pleasurable experience. Our enjoyment has been greatly abetted by the discovery of the all-inclusive resort, aka the never-ending buffet.

Over the past few years we have spent our Summer holidays eating our way through some gastronomically amazing and occasionally disappointing buffets.

During this time I have, over-eaten, under-eaten, got down on my knees and praised the food Gods and been resuscitated from several food comas. Toward the end of our last holiday the phrase, ‘I’m all buffeted out’, could be heard by someone in our party at least once every hour.

Praise be Food Gods.

With a stomach full of experience, I’ve devised 'Seven Steps for Beating the Buffet Bulge.' I can’t guarantee you won’t get all ‘buffeted out’ at some point, but adopting some of these tactics should make for a more satisfying culinary experience.

However, if you are someone who has no intention of spending time on your holiday strategizing about food intake, then close this article now and have a Mars Bar on me. I fully support your endeavours - holidays are to be enjoyed as you please.


The moment you see something you like, it can be tempting to immediately pile it on your plate. However, there’s never been a better time to keep your options open. Avoid peaking too early. Look at what’s on offer, then return and select your favourites.

Take the edge off with a healthy start


Take the edge off with a healthy starter. I usually begin with a broth style soup because it’s filling and healthy and I love soup. Other healthy options might include a delicious salad or a plate of lightly stir-fried vegetables. I find food always tastes better when I’m starving, so it’s a great time to get a healthy boost.


The United Nations may not agree, but my suggestion is to avoid mixing cuisines that were never meant to cross paths. I tend to stick to one food genre and work within what’s on offer. This will also narrow your options and assist with portion control. Speaking of which…


How often do you have eight to ten plates of food in one sitting? Probably not very often, so why start now? Perhaps go for the traditional running order of entree, main and dessert. Some nutritionists advise to choose a smaller plate that will fit less food. Personally, I like to see white space on a plate – I think it looks prettier and more appetising. Regardless, try to stick to your usual portions.

A delicious way to end a meal.


I rarely waste calories eating foods I don’t like. My advice is, if you are not loving it – step away from the plate. Turn your back. It’s over baby.

If you are being extra good, some additional hints for healthy eating include:

*Look out for hidden sugars in sauces and drinks (especially cocktails.)

*Low GI/protein rich foods such as eggs, chicken and lean meats will help you feel satiated for longer.

*Don’t waste your carbohydrate intake by eating too much bread and rice.

*Consider fresh or dried fruit with cheese for dessert for a natural fibre and calcium hit.

Spoiled for choice.


Take time enjoying your food. Give your brain a chance to register that your stomach is full by waiting 10 minutes between courses.

Make life hard for yourself and strategically sit at an inconvenient location. Wedge yourself against a wall or sit as far away from the Bain Marie as possible and hope your lazy side kicks in.


If you feel like all you are doing is eating – drop a buffet. I did that today (after a late night) and I was excited to arrive hungry to lunch. Perhaps enjoy a big late breakfast and dinner or early lunch and dinner.

Good luck and may the buffet be with you (albeit only temporarily.)

Do you have any tips for eating out on holiday? I would love to hear them.

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