Monday, February 15, 2016

Eating Out - Managing the Breakfast Buffet

I recently got back from my work conference, spending 3 days over on the Gold Coast of Australia. The hotel that I was staying at had a pretty epic breakfast buffet, so I thought that now would be a good time to give my tips on how not to blow out completely when surrounded by almost any breakfast food you could ask for.

As I have said before, I want this blog to be as truthful as possible, therefore, I won't pretend like i was some Sugar-Free saint, however, there are a couple of strategies that I have in place that help me be able to walk out of the breakfast room and get on with my day, rather than having to be rolled out and feeling like I'm in a food coma all morning.

Strategy #1- Fill up on Fruits and Vegetables
At buffets there is definitely a tendency to want to continue to add food until your plate is piled full. Therefore, the main things that I look out for a fruits and vegetables. Things like grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, and the fruit bar are good ways to fill up on some great nutrients. Extra points if you can add on some avocado, which provides healthy fats that help you feel satiated.

Strategy #2- Eggs are your friend
The key to feeling satisfied and staying is protein, however, a lot of meats at a breakfast bar can be quite processed and heavy (i.e. sausages and bacon). There is no issue with having a little of these, but I definitely search out the eggs first. Eggs are a great source of protein, while providing a whole bunch of other nutrients. Poached, hard-boiled, scrambled, omelettes, there are lots of delicious ways to eat them if they are available! The main thing to watch with eggs is the condiments, as these can hide a lot of sugar and processed ingredients.

Strategy #3- Make the majority of your carbohydrates wholegrain
I definitely have no issue with eating carbs, I turn into a horrible, grumpy person when I don't have them, however, my trick here is to stick with wholegrain varieties. Look out for porridge, bircher muesli and wholegrain bread at the toast station.

Strategy #4- Treat Yourself
I don not see a point in feeling miserable because you "couldn't" eat certain foods that you wanted, I don't think this is a healthy relationship with food. If you do see something at the buffet that you are drooling over and really, really want, have some! My trick is just to keep your portions small and choose 1 or 2 things that you really want. I tend to always treat myself to one of the mini pastries and maybe a pancake or waffle. This way I still feel like I could make the most of the buffet and I feel satisfied without going crazy.

So as you can see, I don't necessarily eat perfectly when at a breakfast buffet, but breakfast foods are some of my favourite so I don't want to deprive myself. The trick is to find the balance point between enjoying your meal and not leaving with a food baby and a sugar coma.

Now that I have outlined my strategies, I thought that I would show you them in practice while I was away. I only ended up taking photos of 2 out of 3 of my breakfasts (I was somewhat sleep deprived by the final one), but you should still get the idea.

Breakfast One


My first breakfast was probably my most well-balanced. First I filled up a bowl with fruit salad and some orange segments. I grabbed a grilled tomato to go alongside my eggs (hidden behind the glass). In the glass was some delicious bircher muesli with almonds and apricots. I also had a piece of wholegrain fruit toast with peanut butter, however, I only ended up eating half of this. My two "treat" items were a hash brown and a little chocolate chip pastry. This all looks like a lot of food, however, the portions of everything were quite small.

Breakfast Two

By breakfast 2 I wasn't sticking to my wholegrain rule quite so well. Again I went for the bircher muesli, and added some chia seeds to the top. In behind is a pile of watermelon and fruit salad again. I went for the scrambled eggs to help fill me up and had half an English muffin. My treat items were a small Apple Danish and 2 small pancakes with Maple Syrup.

Looking at these pictures makes me want to go back for the buffet, let alone all of the other amazing stuff that I did over on the Gold Coast! Hopefully these tips can help you out the next time that you are faced with a breakfast buffet (lucky you if you are ;) )

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