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Whether it's a lunch time steam table spread at a Chinese restaurant or an elegant Sunday brunch with carving stations at a big hotel; buffets offer an eye popping array of choices from soup to nuts. The temptation to load up your plate as you go down the line is a key concern for anyone trying to stick to weight control goals but that doesn't mean buffets automatically fall into the diet danger zone. Buffets are billed as "all you can eat", but rethink that as "all you want to eat" because buffets can be among the easiest ways to dine out healthfully. You can survey the selections first to help decide what you're really hungry for and what looks good. And most buffets today include an impressive assortment of vegetables, salads and fresh fruit. Even in Las Vegas, the epicenter of the buffet world, hotels employ executive chefs who specialize in creating and managing state-of-the-culinary- art buffets. That means more stations where dishes are customized for each guest including cooks dedicated to making omelets, pasta creations and even tacos. So rather than asking the waiter for a  spinach and mushroom omelet with a just little cheddar cheese and a few bits of chopped ham; you can tell the person who's making it right in front of you. Another plus-you apply your own salad dressing so can drizzle or douse at your own discretion.  That's the food freedom of the buffet. You can sample what you want and maintain control over portion sizes.
Walk the Line

·         Think of your buffet style meal as a meal, not a free-for-all. Choose the salad course, entrée, vegetables and of course save room for dessert.

·         On a classic Sunday brunch you should find some steamed shrimp to start and a steamship round of roast beef being carved for each customer. These lean protein choices are a good foundation for your food fest.

·         And what's great about a buffet is that you can see the foods before choosing. You don't have to depend on a menu description.  Of course an eye check is not always enough to identify fat and calorie content. So, try to avoid the entrees swimming in cream or cheese sauces.

·         Buffets also offer you creative freedom. You can even design your own vegetarian meal, with a dizzying number of veggie side dishes to choose from.

·         Want more than one dessert? Go ahead and sample a bunch- a sliver of cheesecake, a thin slice of key lime pie, one small square of double chocolate cake, and a spoonful of raspberry mousse.


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