Brunch: Is It Lunch Or Breakfast – And Do you End Up Eating Both?

brunch-calories-graphicDo you have trouble keeping the calories in check at a brunch or a buffet? It’s pretty darn hard with all of that tempting food staring you in the face. It’s even harder when there’s both tempting food and you’re with lots of friends having a good time — a classic recipe for mindless (over)eating.

A sit down brunch is a little easier to control than a buffet.  At least you’re ordering something specific and not subjected to the myriad of delectable choices at a buffet.

You still have to deal with overflowing bread and pastry baskets and multiple mimosas or bloody marys – but the best bet is to make a deal with yourself ahead of time about how many drinks and how many baked goods you will allow yourself to have.  Ahead of time is key – staring at freshly baked muffins while you decide what not to eat makes a reasoned decision pretty difficult!

Here’s Some Tips For Handling A Buffet/Brunch:

  • Choose a seat that puts your back to the buffet table or kitchen spread and preferably some distance away. How long can you sit and stare at those sticky buns without wanting one?  Not having them in your line of sight helps to keep your mind out of the “I’ve got to have it” mode.
  • Distance helps, too.  Having to get up and walk past lots of people, many of whom you know, with a plate filled to the brim can serve as a “seconds” and “thirds” deterrent.
  • Before putting any food on your plate, just cruise the buffet eyeballing all of the choices and decide what you’ll have before you start filling your plate.  Make trade-offs:  a sticky-bun and coffee instead of a couple of drinks and a second slice of toast . . .
  • What’s going to energize you and what are you going to eat the rest of the day? If you think you can eat at 11AM and have no food until the next day, bad decision.  By late afternoon you’ll probably be so hungry that you’ll head for pizza or a cheeseburger while promising yourself you’ll get back on track the next day.
  • Have a good meal that will fill you up, keep your blood sugar at a nice level, and tastes good so you don’t feel deprived. What does that mean?  Some protein and some complex carbs.  Easy on the fat and simple carbs.
  • Put your food on a smaller rather than larger plate (look for the smaller plates near the salad/fruit section) and you’ll fill up your plate and your stomach with fewer calories.
  • If you decide you really will feel totally deprived if you don’t indulge in one of those delicious baked goods, try to choose one without loads of thick buttery crumbs on top, cut it in half and be satisfied with that amount.  Put it on a separate small plate that you can easily push away from you.  Keeping it on your main plate means you’ll be nibbling at it the entire time.
  • Enforce the no seconds rule:  take what you want the first time, eat it and enjoy it, and stay away from reloads.
  • If you indulge, don’t beat yourself up – keep the 80/20 rule in mind.  Eat well 80% of the time and 20% of the time allow for some indulgences. Total deprivation never works and leaves you vulnerable to a major “raid the fridge” or “hit the bakery” attack.  Instead, plan ahead, know you’re going to indulge, choose carefully, and enjoy your choices – without going overboard.

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