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 the option.

So the challenge…can you go to a buffet and not over-do?

Here are a few suggestions from members of my weight loss and healthy 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.

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 you’re not finding appropriate choices tell the management or fill out any evaluations. You’re probably not the only one who is having trouble.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS

Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University