World Health Day Special: How to tackle a buffet

From endless spreads of delicious desserts to ghee-dripping curries, a buffet can be a weight-watcher's nightmare. On World Health Day, we quizzed three Indian models, who were a part of a recently-concluded fashion week in Mumbai, to reveal how they outsmart this challenge


Viraja AcharViraja Achar

I like to have carbs because we are on a very hectic schedule. It's a myth that we are not supposed to have carbs; when you have to work hard, you burn it, anyway.But if you don't then it stays, converts, etc. I picked paneer (about three pieces) because the paneer is fresh. The soup is just to down everything. The soup is also dal-based, so you have your proteins.

Representative pic

The flour in the battered corn and the kebab will add a small amount of carbs to the meal. I had a heavy breakfast, so I won't be eating rice today. The chutneys, and the fresh coriander marinade for the paneer will add a lot of flavour to the meal. This is how I try and balance my picks from the buffet so that I get my proteins, carbohydrates and greens.

What’s on viraja’s plate: Three pieces of paneer, one bowl of dal shorba, four pieces of fried, battered corn, two pieces of falafel and one grilled vegetarian kebab
What's on viraja's plate: Three pieces of paneer, one bowl of dal shorba, four pieces of fried, battered corn, two pieces of falafel and one grilled vegetarian kebab

What we learnt
Check all the options on offer and then take your pick for your portions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Divide your plate for all the necessary portions; this way you get to eat everything in moderation.

Parvathy OmanakuttanParvathy Omanakuttan

I never skip my breakfast. A lot of people who want to lose weight skip their breakfast, which is wrong. Breakfast keeps you going. If you eat a heavy breakfast, you don't feel like eating a heavy lunch. I skip on starters sometimes, as it usually has fatty items such as cheese, cream or is fried. The carb intake can come through whole-wheat rotis with vegetables or dal and rice. Today, I am skipping dessert because yesterday I ate only desserts for lunch. This way, when you are eating out on multiple days at a buffet, you don't deprive yourself of anything but have something on one day and skip it the next. I specially don't suppress my sugar cravings as I would end up overeating if I try to suppress. Dieting is not starving. I have picked a veg clear soup as I did not want to eat much but did not want to have an empty stomach as that leads to acidity. Soups are soothing. I am hyper-acidic so I don't starve myself. The potatoes are for carbohydrates and I have my vegetables.

What’s on Parvathy’s plate: One bowl of clear soup, green vegetables,  and two  herbed potato wedges for carbohydrates
What's on Parvathy's plate: One bowl of clear soup, green vegetables, and two herbed potato wedges for carbohydrates

What we learnt
When attending many events, which can happen during weddings (sangeet, mehendi, wedding, reception, the list goes on!), if a food item tempts you, indulge in it sufficiently on its own rather than adding on to your meal. Complete it by adding a tiny portion of vegetables for roughage.

Krithika Babu
Krithika Babu 

I always plan my meal to make it balanced so there is enough carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables. When at a buffet, I eat my dessert to fulfill my craving, but then I get strict when I am home and avoid processed sugar. Home-cooked food is perfect to balance your binging at buffets. When I am working, I need the sugar. I always eat till I am almost full. I had paneer for proteins yesterday, so today, I have a piece of chicken. The potatoes and roti are the carbs for the day and lots of fibre comes from the vegetables. I don't have fruits at the buffet as fruits should be eaten a little before your meal rather than along with it. Ideally, we should have it sometime before breakfast.

One roti, one piece of chicken in gravy
What's on Krithika's plate: One roti, one piece of chicken in gravy, two portions of vegetables

What we learnt
Set your limits and don't overeat till you feel sluggish. Counteract the binging at the buffet with light home-cooked meals for the following days.

Don't let the buffet baffle you

1. Most models are genetically blessed and have good metabolism rates, though that doesn’t apply for all of us. Hence, it is important to keep the size of food portions in mind.
Also, all the models we spoke with exercise religiously to burn off the excess calories.

2. An ideal meal, when divided into four portions, would contain one section of carbohydrates, one of proteins and two of leafy vegetables.

3. If you have a strenuous day, do not skip on the carbohydrate intake as you get your energy from it.

4. Salads might look healthy, but one has to pinch on the dressing as the cream and oil will increase your fat intake.

5. Sugar comes not just with desserts, but also with welcome drinks, cocktails, tea and coffee. Keep a tab on your beverage intake to lower sugar consumption.

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