Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How to Manage a Brunch

Easter brunch at the Camelback Inn

Sunday brunches and all-you-can-eat buffets can be overwhelming, even for the most intuitive eater. Many of us roll out of a brunch like this and promise that we'll never eat this much least until the next holiday. We want to enjoy ourselves and remember the event for the people we shared it with, yet it can also be hard to honor our fullness and not eat until we're uncomfortable. Here are a few tricks to managing a meal like this and feel satisfied, yet comfortable, as you leave.

1. Survey your options

Take a few minutes to walk around the brunch or buffet and see what options are available. Take a few deep breaths, enjoy the scenery (especially if you visit the Camelback Inn!), and decide what you truly want. When faced with really special, gourmet foods, you'll want to make sure to try the foods you don't get too often. At this brunch, I walked around and tried to see what sounded truly good to me. I'm usually more interested in "lunch" foods than "breakfast" ones, so I knew I wanted lox, caprese salad, marinated vegetables, a quesadilla, a crab cake, and scallops.

The meat and fish station

2. Pick a small plate

You will always have a chance to go back for more if you're still hungry, so use a smaller plate (if possible) and fill it with small amounts of different types of foods. Subconsciously, we feel more satisfied if we see a "full" plate. Furthermore, it will help prevent wasted food, since we often take a lot more than we need when filling a big plate. Look how full my plate looks...and it's an appetizer plate!

3. Aim for balance

Try to get a few different types of fruits or vegetables with your meats/fish, grains, and cheese. Choose more unusual ones that you don't often get to have, like roasted portobello mushroom or avocado. I added salsa and guacamole to my quesadilla, onions and tomatoes to my lox, and loaded upon roasted mushrooms and squash. Of course, choose fruits and veggies you really like and that will truly satisfy you. If you have salads every day, maybe this time you'll try something new.

4. Eat slowly and mindfully

If you know me, you'll know I'm all about mindful eating. We often never give our food a chance; as we're chewing our food, we're loading up the fork with the next bite. At a brunch or buffet, you will have a chance to have really delicious or unusual foods. Take the time to enjoy them and really taste them! Put your fork down between bites so that you can give your taste buds a chance to really taste the food and your stomach a chance to tell you how much more you need to eat. I often advise my clients to eat as if they were wine tasting - the point of eating is to really enjoy the food as you're eating it!

5. Go back for seconds if you're not quite full or satisfied - but get only what you really like

When I went back for another plate, I knew all I wanted was some crab cake, the delicious scallops, and some gorgeous fruit. I only had a few bites of each, but I was really happy with my choice. I felt satisfied, not stuffed.

Here are what some of my fellow diners chose for brunch:

Remember: the most important thing about a meal is the ones with whom you share it. Enjoy your food, honor your body by listening to its signals, and be there for companionship and memory-making.

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