Chef’s Guide to Eating Smart at a Buffet | MF Guide

By Karishma Sakhrani October 25, 2017

There’s something incredibly exciting about being able to choose from thirteen different types of bread (taking baker’s dozen to a whole different meaning), or have paneer makhanwala make love to fresh, plump sushi in the same plate (or maybe not)! That’s a sumptuous, hotel buffet for you! What it also is, is gluttony! And a lot of it – unnecessary and not necessarily right for you. While I’m all for indulgence every once in a while and especially at a buffet on a Sunday afternoon, I’ve mastered the art of working buffets with strategy and discipline. Do you reckon it’s something I should add to my CV? Or Instagram profile? Isn’t Instagram the new CV?!

Here are some tips that help make my buffet extravaganzas more about the experience and less about how I can eat my body weight in food.

Go for a run

I’m serious! I have to get an intense 10k in, in preparation, on the morning of a massive pig-out. You earn yourself your meal and more importantly make yourself aware of how much hard work burning calories is, which gives you superpowers to make smarter food choices.

Use a smaller plate


Buffets are meant for indulging. And by all means, go for it! But you don’t need to park excessive amounts of food on your table, or worse – within one massive plate. Why not savour the meal? Start off with a glass of bubbly and a little brie. Celebrate the food and the company you’re with. Revisit the buffet in a while and pick up a couple of bits from the salad bar to graze over with another glass of bubbly perhaps. You get the drift! Also, I doubt hummus and hoisin want to hang out in the same plate. Pace it out with smaller portions and individual or complementing pieces. It is more pleasurable than feeling fat, frumpy and frazzled at the end!

Sit far away

Sit too close to the buffet counter, and you will find yourself getting up every time you see the chef refresh something or you see someone pick something you missed. You’re signing up for overindulgence with a table too close! Also, the tables near the buffet counters are the least private, and well-amidst the chaos of hungry diners. Not fun.

Take a tour

Just like you would watch a trailer before watching the whole movie, it’s a good idea to walk through the buffet and assess what’s worth sampling. Or you might end up stuffing your face with too much of the periphery items like bread, cheeses and salads and perhaps not have enough room for the handmade dim sums or freshly rolled sushi. That’s not how you want to roll, right?

Pick and choose


Steer clear from the raw veggies and fruits. It’s most likely that they have been cut hours before and lost most of their vital nutrients. When food is not prepared safely, left out too long, or not stored at the right temperature, it can harbour bacteria or parasites that cause food poisoning.

Try to eat more from the live counters or from the “served to the table” menu if they have one. The food will be more fresh, safer to eat and better tasting.

Goodbye feverish feasting, hello smart eating!