It’s eating season…. Clubs, companies and cool people, are celebrating the Christmas season / end of the calendar year, with special outings, which typically include food, usually lots of it. Usually served in the form of, a buffet.
Spoiled for choice
The value of a buffet is you get to CHOOSE. This is what makes it attractive to organizers of events, because they don’t have to worry about accommodating “PICKIE” eaters and a firm favourite of eaters. You get to sample a wide range of foodie items, unfortunately variety is the spice of obesity. Oh dear ! By definition, a “successful” buffet provides lots and lots of options. You join the line, grab a plate and begin filing past the dishes of mouth watering food – choosing YOUR favourites. But YOU might not be CHOOSING quite as much as YOU thought.
Your choices are being ordered
Not by the borg or anything. Turns out, the order the food is served in, determines what you spoon on your plate. The foods you see first, shape you dining experience, because you spoon a hefty portion of these foods on your plate, to get things started. You then pick and choose other items that “work” with these foods. As the plate fills up, the amount of “free space” on your plate is seriously diminished, so you skip the items at the end of the food line. This is the finding of a group of researchers from Cornell Food & Brand Lab.
Breakfast is an orderly affair
The researchers “crashed” the breakfast session at a Human Resources management conference. The study was done surreptitiously, so the conference attendees did not know their breakfast selection was being scrutinized, but they were told, they only had ONE opportunity to fill up their plate i.e. there was not going to be seconds. On the breakfast menu there was seven items
65 conference attendees, started at the cheesy egg side of the line and progressed past the fried potatoes, bacon, cinnamon rolls, granola, yoghurt, ending with the fruit and 59 began with the fruit, continuing towards the cheesy eggs. A SPY at the end of each line, recorded what items had been loaded onto the plate.
First things first
The people who started at the cheesy-egg side of the line, took cheesy-eggs 75.4 % of the time. Only 54.8 % took any fruit. 86.4 % of people who started on the fruity side of the line, ended up with fruit on the plate. They largely skipped the eggs, only 28.8 % added a helping of eggs to their plate. On average, the first three items occupied two-thirds of the plate – definitely a case of first things first. Does it matter ? If you’re “watching what you eat” – you bet.
Buffet meals don’t just happen at Christmas
Memorable buffets are special occasions, but eating buffet style is happening more often than you think. The following dining experiences are more often than not, BUFFET STYLE eating arrangements
- Hotel dining
- Conference dining
- Canteen dining
- Even tea parties
So YOU’RE being ORDERED frequently. This means, OTHER PEOPLE, are choosing what you eat, potentially sabotaging you diet.
Take back control
If you must buffet, buffet sagaciously to avoid overindulging and regretting the calorie overload and its widening consequences. START where you want to begin, don’t FOLLOW the herd.
A buffet battle plan
If you’re really serious, you may want to employ a few appetite suppression tricks, upon arrival. Two effective strategies I can recommend, chug down a lot of water or take a REALLY strong cup of coffee, shortly before you start going down the line. Next don’t join the line until you have done a little reconnaissance – investigate what is on offer. You can do this by walking it, peering over people’s shoulders. Then CHOOSE where to START.
Buffet line dancing
For example, if you want to ensure you’re eating your green veggies (and you should, they’re good for you), consider starting here. If you’re the kind of person who does not mind being disruptive, grab your plate and insert yourself at this spot in the line and START helping yourself. If you’re shy or can’t handle the dirty looks and mumblings, that can happen when you jump a line, then start at the beginning. But hold tightly onto your plate keeping it in an upright position, as you pass by the other items, until you arrive in front of your designated START point. Now START loading. As you choose – strive to obey the RULE OF THIRDS, this will help keep your appetite in check. I know this is not always easy, since often you have no idea about just what ingredients have been used to prepare the meal, but you can usually spot protein and carbs quite easily.
If you think while buffeting – you can CHOOSE and be healthy. PS. If you’re lined up for a buffet breakfast – this might just be the time to cheat.
|Why did the dish run away with the spoon ?||The voice left standing wins the should I eat it debate||To fit in your clothes, forgo FITTING IN at the dinner table|