I can share with you some simple and sneaky tricks for eating at a buffet without overindulging and without feeling deprived.

Sneaky Tricks for Weight Loss – #1: Buffet Eating

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I can share with you some simple and sneaky tricks for eating at a buffet without overindulging and without feeling deprived.

I am starting a new series here.  Part of it is to help you, but part of it is to help me too.  I’ve always struggled with my weight and I’ve found a series of really brilliant little tricks to make weight loss much easier.

One of the foundations behind these little tricks is this – If you want to BE skinny, then DO what the skinny people do.  I think that’s an amazing concept because it’s so simple to do.

Now don’t think you have to go to a buffet and eat nothing but carrots and water.  We can still enjoy the foods we like most, just by using a bit of common sense.

I employed some of these easy buffet tricks on my last cruise and I wrote a post about it – Enjoy a Cruise without Going Broke or Getting Fat.

How to Enjoy a Buffet and Still Lose Weight

It just means a few SIMPLE changes that anyone could easily do.  You ready?  Here goes:

  1.  Before you ever take a plate, just take a minute and explore the buffet first.  See what they have and note the location of several of your favorites.  Heavier people tend to take a plate and just start piling it up from the nearest dish.  Skinny folks are more selective and only choose the foods they really WANT to eat.
  2. If possible take a smaller plate, maybe from the salad section or dessert area.  Go ahead and fill it up, but only take a spoonful or two from your most favorite dishes.  If it’s tasty, you can always grab a second helping.  If it isn’t, you won’t eat it out of sheer guilt for wasting food.
  3. Seat yourself at least 16 feet away from the buffet and angle your chair so you face away.  That’s pretty easy to do.  Studies show you will eat about half as much if you aren’t tempted by seeing a constant stream of people coming and going.
  4. Hopefully, you will have a dinner companion or two.  Relax and enjoy the conversation without feeling like you have to rush back to grab more from the buffet.  It’s not going anywhere.  Dining alone?  Bring a book or check Emails on your phone.  Making it a leisurely meal will make you less likely to leave feeling overstuffed and uncomfortable.
  5. Choose whatever drink you prefer, but be sure to grab a glass of water also.  It will slow down your eating and fill you up faster.
  6. Another strategy that we will also revisit in a later post is to skip counting calories or carbs.  Instead simplify your eating strategy. You may eat any food you like, so long as 50% of your plate contains fruits and non-starchy vegetables.  You must eat them in proportion to the other foods, including second helpings.These foods are very filling, so soon you will find yourself unable to eat more than you should of the richer foods.  I have to say, this tip is one of my favorites because it’s so simple.  No counting points, or figuring fat content, just divide your plate in half and enjoy your meal.  I love most vegetables, so that’s almost a treat for me anyway because I rarely get them at home – no one else in my family is much of a veggie fan.

That’s it.  See how these simple changes could make this into a painless way to enjoy your visit to the buffet without walking away feeling so stuffed.  And you don’t have to feel deprived or restricted.  Join me over the next several days as I impart a few more tips in this series.

I have a number of sneaky little tricks that will help you leave the buffet feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.


Most of these ideas came from a book by a brilliant behavioral scientist called Brian Wansink.  He’s written several books, but these are my favorites:

Fabulous Book that is the basis for my skinny tricks blog series.

This book is the oracle of how to change your eating habits.


Here’s a link to an earlier post I did on his previous book Mindless Eating.  Again, it has tons of brilliant ideas for how to easily change your eating habits for the better and how to get your family on the healthy eating bandwagon too, without ANY whining and fussing from your kids OR your husband!

Here are the other posts included in this series:

#2 – Skinny Size Your Kitchen

#3 – Snack Proof Your House

#4 – Outsmart the Grocery Store

#5 – Revamp the School Cafeteria

Other posts you may enjoy:

Are Gym Memberships a Good Deal?

5 Fabulous Products to Make Weight Loss EASIER

New Year’s Motivation – My BEST Weight Loss Tips


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  1. I typically fill a plate with salad first, and then go sit down and eat and it. I’m not a salad dressing user, so for me , salad is pretty much “free.” This helps fill me up a bit before I go back and get the main course. Love the idea of sitting far away:)

    1. My son is like that – he eats his salad with no dressing either. I gob it up with so much junk it probably isn’t the slightest bit healthy.

  2. Great tips and I love #1 the most! I rarely go to buffets but I always end up with too much because I fill my plate too early and then find the stuff that I really love…eating way too much in the end! Thanks so much for sharing at Share The Wealth Sunday!

    1. Thanks Lisa – I just shared post #5 on your blog hop. It’s all about some sneaky tricks that have helped kids eat better in the school cafeteria. I don’t know why I LOVE these tips so much. I guess I’m just hoping I can find a way to “game” myself through the weight loss system instead of actually having to diet and exercise – ugh!

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