On The Table

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How to Survive the Breakfast Buffet Table

Fretting on what to eat at a buffet when on a diet or simply eat healthy? Survive the breakfast buffet table with these realistic ideas and tips!

How to Survive the Breakfast Buffet Table

Healthy eating while traveling can be challenging. Not only is it hard to find healthy eating options while driving or flying but once at a destination, hotel breakfast options are usually either a spread of refined, sugary foods that will not leave you satisfied.

The good news? Despite these challenges with hotel breakfasts, it is possible to survive the breakfast buffet table and find healthy hotel breakfast options!

Follow these tips for navigating healthy choices at the breakfast buffet and other hotel breakfast options.

Healthy Hotel Breakfast Options

Whatever breakfast options are available, there are ways to choose healthier foods. These tips will help guide you to choose the healthiest breakfast options, leaving you feeling satisfied while avoiding a sugar crash soon after eating.

1. Yogurt Parfaits

Hotels generally offer fruits and yogurt on the breakfast buffet. Create your own personal yogurt parfait for a delicious and satisfying breakfast. 

Use plain or Greek yogurt to reduce added sugars, load up with favorite fruits, top with peanut butter, and sprinkle with nuts or oats. Be as creative or as simple as desired!

Cottage cheese and fruit is also a protein-packed breakfast option. 

2. Waffles

Making your own waffles is a common breakfast option at hotels. But instead of a big, plain waffle loaded with sugary syrup, give these healthy tips a try:

1. Choose a wheat or whole-grain waffle to increase fiber and nutrient content if ordered. 

2. Cut the waffle in half and add a protein and/or healthy fat source as a topping - peanut butter and/or Greek yogurt are great choices!

3. Is fruit available? Slice up a banana or apple on top! 

Overall, adding protein, fiber, and healthy fat helps create a balanced breakfast sure to provide fullness. 

3. Eggs

Eggs are usually served in some form for hotel breakfasts. The breakfast staple is a good source of protein that can help keep you feeling full long after eating.

Some hotels offer made-to-order omelets in addition to the buffet. So if available, build your own omelet that is heavy on veggies – spinach, onions, peppers, tomatoes, etc. Ask for a light sprinkle of cheese if desired and try to divvy away from heavy amounts of standard breakfast meats including sausage and bacon. 

If omelets are not available, hard-boiled eggs or scrambled eggs maybe a healthy protein option from the buffet in the morning. Pair with whole-grain toast and fruit or a healthier, balanced breakfast option.

4. Hot or Cold Cereal

When the buffet options are lackluster, cereal can be a healthy backup at a breakfast buffet.

Skip out on sugary cereals and opt for whole-grain cereals, as they generally contain more fiber and B vitamins. Hot oatmeal (or plain oatmeal packets) are usually available for breakfast too and can serve as a healthy, satisfying base for breakfast as well. 

Naturally sweeten hot or cold cereal with berries, banana slices, or raisins. In addition, top oatmeal with a sprinkle of nuts or nut butter.

Also since milk offers 12 grams of protein per cup, adding it with a whole-grain cereal makes it a complete, well-balanced hotel breakfast!

5. Bagels

While bagels are not usually the lowest in calories or refined carbohydrates, they can still fit into a healthy breakfast option. As with making a waffle, opt for eating half the bagel to cut back on simple carbohydrates.

Instead of topping with gobs of cream cheese and butter, use cottage cheese and fresh fruits. Though it may seem untraditional, cottage cheese compliments bagels (along with other bread products) and offers protein.

Half a bagel can also be used to make an open-faced egg breakfast sandwich with scrambled or hard-boiled eggs with fruit on the side.

How to Eat Healthy at a Buffet

Whether at a hotel for breakfast or for any other reason, these tips for eating healthy at a buffet can help you stay on track with health goals throughout the year.

The main overall key with a buffet is being intentional about food choices instead of taking a portion of every food.

Scope out the food options before filling your plate.

Buffets are easy to overeat at because there are just so many appealing food options. This can make it easy to get in the take a scoop of every food to fill the plate(s). However, this mindset is not ideal for weight loss or just feeling good afterward.

Avoid mindlessly filling the plate with everything and be intentional about food choices. Instead of loading up with all the foods right away, take a pass through the buffet to scope out all the food options.

Note the healthier items to start with at the buffet!

Fill up with healthy options first.

After scoping out the food options, go through the buffet first by filling up half the plate with fruit and vegetable options. Add in lean protein, like eggs, and a healthy fat source, such as whole yogurt or nut butter, with toast. 

Still hungry after this healthy fill-up? Grab a small serving of what you are craving. 

Enjoy food slowly.

Another pitfall for buffets is the urge to eat food quickly and feel stuffed later. Instead, take your time eating at the breakfast buffet.

Eating slowly can allow the body to send signals when full and before feeling stuffed. Wait a few minutes before automatically going back for more from the buffet.

Recapping Eating Healthy at the Hotel Buffet

Breakfast buffets do not need to throw health goals off track when staying at a hotel. It can be possible to fill up on a healthy breakfast while avoiding common pitfalls for breakfast buffets.

Stick to healthy options at buffets like eggs, healthy waffles, yogurt parfaits, cereal, or half a bagel. The key is to find a balance of foods higher in fiber and protein and not overdue the portion size.

Remember to enjoy the food slowly so the brain can recognize when it is full, not stuffed. Also, be intentional with food choices by avoiding taking a little bit of everything and filling up on healthy food offerings first.