6 Ways to Beat the Christmas Buffet Bloat

6 Ways to Beat the Christmas Buffet Bloat

By Dietitian Juliette Kellow BSc RD

Buffets have the potential to make or break a diet. On the one hand, there are usually plenty of dishes to choose from, which makes it easier to select nibbles with a lower calorie content. On the other hand, it's tempting to sample every single item! These tips will help you navigate your way around the buffet table without ruining your diet.

  1. Always have a light snack a few hours before arriving at a party. If you turn up having starved yourself all day, you're more likely to become a permanent fixture at the buffet table and will almost certainly overindulge when faced with a mountain of delicious food.  
  2. Don't hover, stand or constantly drift towards the buffet table - you'll end up constantly picking, nibbling or munching on tasty morsels and quickly forget just how much you've eaten. The easiest way to control the amount you eat is to fill your plate just once and then move away from the food.
  3. Choose your nibbles carefully if you want to keep your Christmas halo firmly in place. Avoid pastry items such as sausage rolls, quiche, vol-au-vents, spring rolls and flans. And steer clear of anything that's been deep-fried, such as crispy wontons or battered prawns. Skipping the garlic bread, crisps and peanuts will save loads of calories - as will avoiding anything that comes with mayo or soured cream such as coleslaw, potato salad and creamy dips. Instead, opt for lean beef, chicken, turkey, ham, smoked salmon, fresh prawns, salads without mayo, French bread (without the butter), crudités, breadsticks, salsa, tzatziki and small slices of pizza.
  4. If canapés or nibbles are constantly being offered to you while you're chatting, avoid the temptation by keeping your hands full. A napkin in one hand and a glass in the other should do the trick. Alternatively, keep your hands busy by taking plates of canapés or snacks around for other guests.
  5. Choose your accompaniments for cheese carefully. Chunks of French bread and butter or a handful of cream crackers will double the calories. Instead, go for water biscuits, crispbreads or breadsticks - and fill up on the grapes, celery and fruit.
  6. If you're tempted by the cheeseboard, make sure you choose carefully. Brie, camembert and Edam contain fewer calories than Cheddar, Stilton and Red Leicester. But if it's on offer, go for goat's cheese - it's the best one of all. Check out the calorie values below of some festive cheeses.
Cheese Calories per 25g
Cheddar 103
Blue stilton 103
Double Gloucester 101
Red Leicester 100
Gorgonzola 99
Wensleydale 95
Caerphilly 94
Danish Blue 87
Edam 83
Brie 80
Camembert 74
Goat's cheese 66

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