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Healthy Eating

Here you will find tons of information about healthy eating and incorporating the principles of healthy nutrition into your daily life. Built around Dr. Cederquist’s nutritional foundation for healthy weight loss, these articles place a wealth of information right at your fingertips.

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, food choices are not usually the healthiest. 

Hotel breakfast options are usually either a spread of refined, sugary foods that will not leave you satisfied or high calorie, decadent choices with a buffet. The good news is despite these challenges with hotel breakfasts, it is possible to survive the breakfast buffet table and find healthy hotel breakfast options.

To stay on track with healthy eating while traveling, 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 where you are staying, there are ways to choose healthy breakfast options. The following tips will help choose the healthiest breakfast options to leave you feeling satisfied while avoiding a sugar crash soon after eating.

Waffles

Making your own waffles is a common breakfast option at hotels. Instead of a big, plain waffle loaded with sugary syrup, cut the waffle in half and add a protein and/or healthy fat source as a topping (such as peanut butter and/or yogurt). 

If fruit is available, slice up a banana or apple on top. These additions help create a balanced breakfast that will help provide fullness. And if offered, choose a wheat or whole grain waffle to increase fiber and nutrient content.

Eggs

Eggs are usually served in some form for hotel breakfasts. Eggs for breakfast can provide 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. 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 may be a healthy protein option from the buffet in the morning. Pair with whole grain toast and fruit or a healthier, balanced breakfast option.

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 a 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. 

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. 

Naturally sweeten hot or cold cereal with berries, banana slices or raisins. In addition, top oatmeal with a sprinkle of nuts or nut butter. Since milk offers 12 grams of protein per cup, adding it with a whole grain cereal makes it a complete, well-balanced hotel breakfast!

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. It can be easy to get in the mindset of taking a scoop of every food to fill the plate(s). However, this mindset is not ideal for weight loss or just feeling good afterwards.

Avoid mindlessly filling the plate with everything; 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 like 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.

Conclusion

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: 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 on portion size.

Keep in mind at a breakfast buffet to enjoy the food slowly. This will allow the brain to 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.

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on September 05, 2016. Updated on October 13, 2021.

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