Viva the Vegas Buffet

Think of it as all you should eat, not all you can eat
Viva the Vegas Buffet

Vegas-bound and Jonesing for an all-you-can-eat buffet? You'll have no problem when you remember these tips from the mayor of Buffet Town.

I hate to brag, but I am the Las Vegas buffet connoisseur. I lived in Sin City in the early ‘90s, and the fact that I was pushing 300 pounds as a high school senior is all the credentialing I need.

I eventually left Vegas and the excess weight behind, but last year I returned and faced an immediate dilemma: How could I reassume my rightful throne without readopting a hefty gut?

Turns out, it’s possible. I’ve visited the old haunts where salads once swam in ranch dressing, where oozing streams of shimmering gravy slithered down slabs of Flintsonian-sized hunks of fatty prime rib, where two slices of pie was the order because, hey, how can you choose?

But now, with a sensible approach, I’m happy to report that buffets are not the enemy. We all know the standard tricks when confronting bottomless pits of caloric fattitude, like eating slowly or drinking lots of water or filling up on salad (without that ranch dressing). The ultimate challenge to navigating a Vegas buffet is to remember appropriate portion sizes. Because let’s be honest: Give a man a plate and tell him he can eat anything he sees, and well, very little good can come of that. The best way to avoid what Weight Watchers’ Chief Scientist Karen Miller-Kovach calls “unconscious calories” is to be mindful of these portion sizes:

  • A proper portion of meat is generally the size of a deck of cards.
  • A one-cup serving of pasta is roughly the size of a tennis ball.
  • A half-cup of potato salad is about the size of a shaving cream can cap.
  • A serving of fruits and vegetables should be about the size of your clenched fist.

It also helps to reframe the concept of the buffet: Think of it as all you should eat, not all you can eat. If you want to beat the casino out of something, do it at blackjack (and good luck). Want mac and cheese? Just tap a little of it onto your plate for a sinful taste. Can’t decide between chocolate mousse pie and cheesecake? Get both, have enough bites of each to equal one sensible piece of dessert and stop. Think of it as scratching an itch without making yourself bleed.

Despite what you’ve heard, what happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas, at least PointsPlus™ value-wise, so remember that no amount of leisurely strolling through any casino can undo what a vat of clarified butter and plate of king crab legs could do to your gut. So yeah, Viva Las Vegas! Go for it, live a little. Just do it sensibly.

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