Buffet breakfast: Good or Bad?

I attended a destination wedding at one of Goa’s 5 star hotels. Every morning we were treated to a buffet breakfast and I recall how difficult it was to eat a limited quantity like a true breakfast.

Being a diabetic, I realised that my blood sugar had gone awry, courtesy the buffet breakfast. I then realised that most of Lifecountz clients travel a lot and would be consuming such buffet breakfast! No wonder they are not able to maintain ideal body weight/ clinical parameters.

I thought of penning a few words for them.

Dr Chander Asrani

It is proven that those who have a hearty breakfast have better memory, better concentration and thus better productivity through the day. Since senior / busy executives travel a lot, they are exposed to sumptuous buffet breakfasts wherever they stay. A buffet breakfast is a great way to satisfy each and every palate and provide each one with their choice of breakfast. But, if one is not careful, it is very easy to overindulge and even consume excess calories – at times even equal to more than quota of the entire day.

buffet breakfast

Few tips to ensure your buffet breakfast remains healthy:

  • Opt for fresh fruits as they are rich source of several vitamins (C, folic acid)and avoid fruit juices. Juices make you consume large quantity of carbohydrates (sugar) in one go and miss out the fiber in the pulp. Even if taking 100% juice (pulp included) restrict to 1 small glass (100 cc). With fruits, avoid syrupy fruit toppings (even honey)
  • Eggs – a superfood! and most buffets have an egg station! We all know that egg whites are high in Vit B12 & proteins; are fat-free and cholesterol-free, whereas the egg yolk contains a high amount of good cholesterol and choline. If you wish to have an omelette, ask for whites of two eggs and yolk of one egg, else limit to one egg
  • Try and skip the sausages, bacon and cheese as these are not ideal for breakfast.
  • Milk & Milk products – Choose skim milk or low-fat milk options as they are a good source of lean protein in addition to being rich in calcium and vitamin D. If available opt for non-fat yogurt (from skimmed milk) or 1 percent fat milk. Whole milk, cream and cheese are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which adversely impacts our health. Regular consumption of large amounts of saturated fats increases the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
  • Breads and Cereals: Go for whole-grain breakfast cereals e.g. oatmeal, 100% whole-wheat breads and cereals, and muesli if possible since whole grains provide much more fiber than their refined versions. Try and skip the croissants, muffins, cakes and pastries as they all are high in less healthy fats.
  • Moderation: As we have always been harping on the fact ‘Moderation is the key’ – large quantity consumption, even of healthy items, is unhealthy. Hence, monitoring portion size is important. If unsure in deciding how much of different food items you should consume, here is a tip; half the plate should be fruits or vegetables, one-quarter grains or starchy vegetables and the remaining quarter should be protein. If available, opt for the smaller size plate, as larger plates encourage overeating.
  • Sitting far from the buffet table helps control the urge to take multiple trips and also to taste what someone else is eating.

Consumed rightly, breakfast provides an opportunity to get important nutrients we need and might not get enough of at other meals, i.e. calcium, fiber and proteins. On the other hand, if consumed wrongly, it can be disastrous and may land up being very high in calories, saturated (unhealthy) fat, sugar and salt.


It’s your decision and your pick!

Dr Chander Asrani, is a post-graduate in Family Medicine. He has over 37 years in family practice and has been offering wellness and disease management services to corporates. He is soon to launch virtual clinics.  He writes on various subjects of wellness; learning to live with chronic ailments and stress. Know more about him at about.me/drasrani.

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