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Dumb Mistakes Everyone Makes When Eating At Buffets

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09:11   |   May 16, 2019

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Dumb Mistakes Everyone Makes When Eating At Buffets
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  • It doesn't matter what your intentions are when you go to a buffet, or how fancy of a
  • buffet you choose, they're always a bit of a minefield.
  • Here's what you need to know to get the most out of your trip to the buffet — whether
  • you're trying to watch your waistline, or just not get sick.
  • It's so tough to resist grabbing a few pieces of fried chicken or loading up a plate with
  • those crispy, delicious egg rolls, but according to Rene Ficek of Seattle Sutton's Healthy
  • Eating, loading up on fried goodness is definitely a mistake.
  • But not exactly for the reason you think.
  • All fried food is bad, but buffet fried food is even worse.
  • Buffets are cooking everything in bulk, and they're going to try to cut back on their
  • costs where they can.
  • That means they're using the cheapest oil they can find to fill their fryers, which
  • churns out fried dishes that are likely to have the maximum amount of artery-clogging
  • nastiness possible.
  • Ficek explains:
  • "Every time you put something in a deep fryer, it acts like a sponge and soaks up as much
  • grease and saturated and trans fat as possible."
  • Doesn't sound so appetizing now, does it?
  • When you hit the buffet, what sort of food do you tend to gravitate toward?
  • Do you go for the tried-and-true favorites, the things you know you're going to like,
  • or do you try something new?
  • If you're only loading up your plate with the stuff you know you're going to like and
  • the dishes you've had before, you're missing out.
  • Buffets are the perfect opportunity to try something new, without making a commitment
  • to a dish.
  • It's not like a sit-down restaurant where ordering something you've never had before
  • can make or break your evening, and you're not actually investing some of your hard-earned
  • cash into something you're not sure if you're going to like.
  • Get a small plate, try a few spoonfuls of something new, and who knows, you might just
  • go back for seconds.
  • Also, consider this: are you loading up your plate with food you could make at home?
  • Don't do that!
  • Go for something different, and not only will you feel like you're getting your money's
  • worth, but you won't be comparing it to your own home cooking.
  • Not all buffet foods are created equal.
  • An estimated 128,000 people end up in the hospital with food poisoning each and every
  • year, and if it seems like buffets are just germ collectors, they can be… but they don't
  • have to be.
  • It's all down to your choices, and if you're not careful, you could be opting for foods
  • that are more likely than others to be dangerous.
  • "Watching people get sick always makes me sick. And frankly, so does talking about it, so... wow."
  • Don't put sprouts on your salad, because they're known bacteria-carriers in even the cleanest
  • of kitchens.
  • The same goes for sushi, because preparing it and keeping it at the right temperature
  • while it's sitting on a buffet line is difficult at best.
  • Also skip the tuna, which is susceptible to bacterial growth, and skip anything with mayo
  • in it for the same reason.
  • Hitting the buffet and going right to the seafood section might seem like a good idea,
  • especially if it's piled high with things you just don't get often, like oysters and
  • crab legs.
  • But there are a few reasons you should think about skipping these, and the first is obvious:
  • the potential for some serious food poisoning, as shellfish and fish are both extremely susceptible
  • to contamination.
  • There's something else to consider, too, and this tip comes from an all-you-can-eat buffet
  • operator who took to Reddit to dispel some mysteries about the buffet.
  • When someone asked what food they would stay away from at all costs, the answer was "crab
  • legs".
  • The Redditor continued:
  • "I'm being serious.
  • I have seen Chinese buffets at the fish market going and buying bottom of the barrel seafood,
  • including crab legs past their prime.
  • And then they don't steam them properly either to save on volume."
  • The Redditor also adds that oysters are usually less-than-fresh, often imported and past their
  • prime once they make it to the buffet table.
  • If you're not skipping these, you might be risking a trip to the hospital.
  • It might seem only natural that you're going to order a round of sodas to sip on while
  • you're hitting the buffet, but this is another mistake you shouldn't make for a few reasons.
  • "AH!"
  • According to Psychology Today, those giant glasses are there for a reason, and they encourage
  • you to drink a lot, fill up on soft drinks, and ultimately have less room for food.
  • Soft drinks cost the buffet next to nothing, and it's a super cheap way to help them make
  • sure you're leaving with a full belly at a minimal cost to them.
  • You know soft drinks are marked up, you expect that when you go to any restaurant.
  • But you might not realize just how much the price goes up with you sit down to be served.
  • According to Business Insider, soft drinks are one of the biggest ways restaurants cash
  • in, and the average markup on soda is a whopping 1,150 percent.
  • For buffets, it's a double whammy.
  • They're making money, and they're hoping you won't eat as much food.
  • Skip the soda, grab a water, and say "no, thank you" to that refill.
  • For most people, their instinct is to grab the plates sitting at the head of the table
  • and use them for whatever is on the buffet line.
  • But there's absolutely no reason to do that, especially considering those plates and bowls
  • are specifically put out for a reason: to trick you into eating less of the good stuff
  • and more of the cheap stuff.
  • Psychology Today says that the size of utensils and plates used at buffets are chosen because
  • they control how much food you can take at one time.
  • There's even specially-sized "buffet line" products, and by the end of your meal the
  • small plate sizes and huge glasses mean you've filled up on things you didn't intend to.
  • So, scout utensils and tableware when you scout the buffet line.
  • If salad plates are bigger, grab one of those for your meat-and-veg course.
  • If the soup bowls are bigger than the dessert bowls, grab one for ice cream.
  • Even if you have no intentions of eating more and filling these bigger plates, it'll be
  • much, much easier to keep from making the inevitable mess that seems to come with those
  • tiny plates.
  • Buffets operate on something called the "fill the customer belly cheaply" metric, says Psychology
  • Today.
  • The ideal buffet foods are cheap for them to buy, easy to make, and extremely filling,
  • which means starches are often in abundance.
  • Keep an eye out next time, and you'll see there will be piles and piles of rice, noodles,
  • and bread.
  • Those are all cheap and filling, which is perfect for buffets.
  • They're tempting, too, but if you're going heavy on these starches, you're not doing
  • yourself any favors.
  • Skip things like dinner rolls and bread completely, as they're not only going to fill you up fast,
  • but you can enjoy those anywhere.
  • Food Network warns against not just those more obviously filling starches, but also
  • against things like potatoes, pasta salads, and rice pilaf.
  • Buffets make it easy to serve yourself huge helpings of things like these by giving customers
  • larger serving spoons, so be aware of just how many starches and carbs you're putting
  • on your plate, then save room for the less filling, more expensive stuff.
  • So, you're picking out the choicest morsels and putting them on your plate.
  • Have you ever picked a serving spoon that's laying in the rice or the lettuce, then used
  • it?
  • Or, have you ever dropped a serving utensil into a dish, then picked it up and propped
  • it on the side of the serving tray?
  • You're not helping yourself or other customers, and here's why this is a huge mistake.
  • According to Food Safety News, there's a pretty glaring gap in food safety regulations that
  • impact buffets in particular.
  • Restaurants need to conform to a whole checklist of safety standards, but there are not as
  • many rules and regulations regarding serving utensils.
  • Those tongs and spoons can be touched by hundreds of people in just a few hours' time.
  • When those handles are dropped into food, all the germs that have collected on them
  • are dropped into the tray, too.
  • Regulations say if a utensil is dropped into a platter, the entire platter should be replaced,
  • but if you pick it up and put it back where it goes quickly, they'll never know.
  • Even if you're super careful about washing your hands, not everyone else is.
  • Your best bet is to not only skip anything that has a utensil laying in it, but tell
  • staff so they can fix a potential health hazard.
  • When you get to the buffet, do you grab a plate and hop right in line?
  • You shouldn't, you should scout out the buffet before you even pick up that plate.
  • Even if you've been to that particular buffet before, dishes and layouts are always changing,
  • and the only way to really get what you want is to make a plan ahead of time.
  • You'll find any new or seasonal dishes that are on offer, and you'll be able to figure
  • out what you're going to put on your first plate, second plate, and so on.
  • And why's that important?
  • Flavor profiles: you don't want to be piling chicken teriyaki alongside a slice of roast
  • beef and gravy, do you?
  • This can go the other way, too.
  • Say you're starting with a salad, but since you've wandered through the rest of the line,
  • maybe you've found a pan of grilled chicken you can slice and add to the salad.
  • So take a minute, walk the lines, and figure out what to get to minimize waste and regret.
  • Everyone wants to get their money's worth when they're going to a buffet, and it might
  • be tempting to skip breakfast and lunch in preparation for a dinner buffet, but this
  • is actually a terrible idea.
  • Don't believe it?
  • Just take it from the competitive eaters.
  • They know just how quickly your body reacts when it's deprived of food.
  • Long periods without food cause your stomach to shrink, because it's essentially learning
  • to survive on less.
  • Skip meals and by the time you head to the buffet, there will be less room in your smaller
  • stomach, and you probably won't be feeling that great.
  • Ultimately, it'll lead to a case of "eyes-bigger-than-stomach," which is pretty common at buffets, anyway.
  • Instead, have a light meal in the morning in preparation.
  • Food waste is a widespread problem that exists on a scale almost too big to fathom, so taking
  • too much at a buffet and leaving a half-full plate to be thrown away is a bigger mistake
  • than you might expect.
  • In 2017, Forbes reported studies done at hotel buffets revealed some shocking statistics:
  • a little over half the food put out on buffet lines ended up in the garbage.
  • And it's a global problem.
  • Winnow uncovered similar findings when they looked at buffets in Asia, where they found
  • that again, about half of the food served at a buffet was wasted.
  • The problem is complicated, and waste happens not just on customers' uneaten plates.
  • Have you ever skipped over a tray because there's only a single scoop or so left?
  • Why?
  • The habit has given rise to buffet's tendencies to replace trays before they're empty, and
  • that's all food going right in the garbage.
  • Here's how you make a difference: take that last scoop, and pace yourself.
  • Make an extra trip if you're still hungry instead of piling your plate high and not
  • eating it all.
  • Every little bit counts, and when it comes to food waste, everyone can make a difference.
  • Check out one of our newest videos right here!
  • Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite stuff are coming soon.
  • Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the bell so you don't miss a single one.

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Description

It doesn't matter what your intentions are when you go to a buffet, or how fancy of a buffet you choose, they're always a bit of a minefield. Here's what you need to know to get the most out of your trip to the buffet — whether you're trying to watch your waistline, or just not get sick.

It's so tough to resist grabbing a few pieces of fried chicken or loading up a plate with those crispy, delicious egg rolls, but according to Rene Ficek of Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating, loading up on fried goodness is definitely a mistake. But not exactly for the reason you think. All fried food is bad, but buffet fried food is even worse.

Buffets are cooking everything in bulk, and they're going to try to cut back on their costs where they can. That means they're using the cheapest oil they can find to fill their fryers, which churns out fried dishes that are likely to have the maximum amount of artery-clogging nastiness possible. Ficek explains:

"Every time you put something in a deep fryer, it acts like a sponge and soaks up as much grease and saturated and trans fat as possible."

Doesn't sound so appetizing now, does it?

Watch the video to learn about more dumb mistakes everyone makes when eating at buffets.

Grabbing the fried food | #
Choosing your favorites | #
Dangerous foods | #
Crab legs and oysters | #
Drinking anything but water | #
Using the wrong tools | #
Opting for the starches | #
Dropping a serving spoon | #
Not making a plan | #
Skipping meals before you go | #
Contributing to food waste | #