Wooooof, it’s VEGAS! I LOVE VEGAS! One of my most frequented destinations in the world, it’s my home away from home. It’s like an explosion of exuberance, craziness, glitz, and fun. Total sensory overload. Bright lights, shouts from party people, Celine Dion concerts, ubiquitous FAT TUESDAYs, luxurious poolside cabanas, excessively air-conditioned casinos, high limit tables, exclusive nightclubs, overpriced bottle service, the heat, the cold, and most importantly, the magnificent buffets of all buffets. Vegas attracts different visitors from all over the world: the gamblers, party-goers, show watchers, foodies, buffet eaters, and random folks who just want to see what the hype is all about. Whether or not you are into the craziness of Vegas, you ought to get your butt in line to try a buffet in Sin City. Grubbing at a buffet is the ultimate Sin City experience. Why is a buffet so different in Vegas? Perhaps it’s because food at any famous Vegas buffet is indisputably of high quality and absolutely deeeeelicious, not to mention the large selection of international cuisine; so YIPPIEEEE, you can go on a global food tour within 2 hours here. With so many yummy foods before your eyes, it’s quite difficult not to overeat and feel unhealthy at a Vegas buffet (and lethargic afterwards). Eating healthy at any buffet is a challenge, BUT rest assured – here are 8 ways to be healthy (well, as much as possible) and WIN BIG at a Vegas buffet:
#1 Do NOT try to get your money’s worth
People like to say that they gotta get their money’s worth at a buffet. After all, it’s already been paid for, right? You paid $30-60 worth of food so you’d better eat enough to make up for it, right? If you have this mindset, you’re more likely to get sick for eating everything until it is physically impossible to consume more. I’ve even puked in my mouth before from eating too much (I know, YUCK! Gross! Ewwww.) and then feel miserable for hours afterwards. So lesson learned – don’t overeat. Don’t try to “get your money’s worth” because chances are you’ll end up paying for it in the end. Even if you don’t puke, you won’t be feeling great. Trust me. Look at me down here – NOT a happy doggy. Eat what you can and stop when you’re full.
#2 Abstain from alcohol before the buffet
As “Vegas-like” as it may seem to drink up and eat lots, don’t go to a buffet drunk or buzzed. No, I’m not exactly worried about you knocking over plates and running into people at the buffet line (or should I be??), but the calories from your alcohol intake beforehand (and sugar depending on your choice of drink) will surely set you back at least a plate. Your best bet – come sober and with a good appetite.
#3 Go for lunch
Duh, lunch is cheaper than dinner! Everyone knows that. But there’s another reason to go for lunch besides saving money; you’re saving your health at the same time. Going for lunch is healthier as you will have more time to digest and walk it off throughout the day. The worst case scenario is to eat a big meal only a few hours before bedtime. However, if you must indulge those deluxe dishes that are only served during dinner time, go for a late lunch and you may be able to weasel your way into dinner time without paying the extra dollars.
#4 Start out light to make way for heavy items
Always start out light with greens, veggies, salad, or a small bowl of soup so your stomach can make way for heavy or meaty dishes later. Like in any meal, build up your appetite to the main course!
#5 Drink hot water or tea over alcohol and cold drinks
YEP, it’s Vegas – of course, you can get alcohol anywhere, anytime. Yet a buffet is no exception; you can easily have alcohol included in your all-you-can-eat meal. Some buffets even advertise “ALL YOU CAN DRINK.” But this is NOT how you want to win at a buffet. Again, alcohol will fill up your stomach quickly, probably faster than I can devour my bowl of salmon kibble. Skip those calories from cocktails, beers, and wine. Go for hot water or tea for easy and smooth digestion over alcohol or any cold drinks, even ice water. If you want to ease your way into a big meal, hot water is the way to go. Try it to believe it!
#6 Reduce carbs or starchy foods
Reduce your intake of rice, pasta, potatoes, bread – anything that will fill you up hastily. Less fillers, the better! I love sushi, but I even take off some rice from my sushi rolls if there seems to be too much. Don’t waste your stomach space on carbs and cheap filler foods!
#7 Sample everything, then return for the GREATEST hits
The best part about a buffet is the opportunity to try a little bit of everything; you can experience cuisine highlights of China, Japan, Italy, Mexico, Greece, France, etc. all in one setting. Hence, be sure to take small portions of everything that you want, but don’t get too much of one item – at least not initially. Return for your “greatest hits” a.k.a. your favorites after your sampler plates (granted, if you can still eat).
#8 Take your time
At most buffets, you are allotted 2 whole hours! That is a loooooong time to eat. Pace yourself and eat slowly so your body has time to digest. Take breaks in between to “food shop,” people watch, and chat with your buffet buddies.
Win BIG at your next Vegas buffet and stay healthy! Remember to walk it off and mark your territory afterwards. Want more healthy travel tips? Be sure to check out 16 tips to stay healthy on the road!
Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob