Choose Wisely At Party Buffets

Choose Wisely At Party Buffets

As a runner, you take nutrition seriously: after all, you want to recover well and be light on your feet. But this time of year is littered with dietary challenges, not least of all the party buffet. For hungry runners, it’s so easy to overeat at buffets, loading your plate up again and again and eating whilst socialising. Here are some strategies to help you choose wisely from party buffets so you don’t derail your running nutrition.

Don’t Go To The Party Hungry

It’s easy to overeat when there are limitless food choices, especially if you’re ravenous before you begin. Give your hunger and satiety cues a fighting chance by taking the edge off your hunger before you get to the buffet. Eat normally throughout the day, making sure you’ve eaten plenty of protein (a hefty omelette, chicken breast and vegetables, or a salmon meal) to keep you feeling fuller. Don’t try and save your calories for the buffet; this strategy can easily backfire because you’ll be so hungry that you’ll find portion control an impossible challenge.  Remember hydration  We often eat when we’re thirsty, mistaking our body’s cues to drink for hunger pangs. At the buffet, make sure you sip on a (preferably non-alcoholic) drink. Not only will this help you decipher real hunger cues, but if one hand is holding a glass, it’s very difficult to constantly nibble from a plate of buffet food! 

Make Your Own Rules 

If you’re a runner, it’s very likely that you’re comfortable with setting goals and working towards them. What are your nutrition goals at this time of year? We’re almost certain that overeating on buffet food isn’t one of them. So, make your own rules, and then stick to them. Whether that’s “just one plateful”, or “one hour in the buffet room, then move on”, or “only one choice from the dessert buffet”, they are your rules and no-one has any right to persuade you away from them.  It’s OK to say no  Buffets are highly social ways of eating and, at this time of year, are likely to be accompanied by lots to drink, celebratory games and a fun atmosphere. It’s important to enjoy yourself, but don’t lose sight of your values. If you don’t want to eat miniature mince pies, then don’t. If you happen to dislike sausage rolls, then don’t eat them. Just because everyone else is eating traditional Christmas food and drinking plenty, you don’t have to.

It Really Is Ok To Say No

Be polite and firm, keep a smile on your face, and then remember why you’re there: to spend time with people.  Enjoy the company too  Ultimately, the reason that you’re at the buffet is to party with people you care about. So focus less on the food and much more on the company. If you concentrate on catching up with friends, meeting new people, chatting and partying, the contents of the buffet table won’t seem so important. Remember why you’re there, and things will fit into place.  

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