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Woman selecting food at a buffet


How to Hack a Hotel Buffet

When you find yourself in a new environment and time zone, decisions can sometimes be overwhelming. Add jet-lag, planning where to go and what to do, figuring out what to eat at an over-the-top buffet can trigger your deepest fears of missing out. Here’s how to get exactly what you want when you go to any multiple choice food situation.



Table spread of several plated meal options

Don’t make any sudden decisions

Look, it’s natural to want the first thing you lay your eyes on. That carb tower? Perhaps a yogurt bar? Gelateria? Of course you want all those things. Unless you have five minutes to scrounge together a plate because the buffet is closing, do a couple of spins around the buffet offering. This will help you orient yourself, make better decisions, and avoid FOMO. If you’re ravenous, grab some nuts or dried fruit to tide you over. It’s like grocery shopping—you’ll never make good decisions if you’re starving. Once you’ve seen everything the buffet has to offer you can make more educated (and probably healthier) decisions.

Plated healthy meal

Get creative

Just because it’s first thing in the morning doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think outside the buffet box. Instead of opting for what’s right in front of you, see if you can mix and match stations. Maybe there’s a fruit or dried nuts bar nearby that would go well in a salad you put together, or some peanut butter would add protein to the pastry you’ve been craving, ask for some herbs to add some flavor to your salad. Don’t just opt for toast and butter, you’re in a different space so take some inspiration from your new local, mix and match and get creative.

Morning beverage options

Try milk alternatives in your coffee

It’s early and you’re probably craving some coffee. While not everyone has a dairy intolerance, the acid in coffee mixed with dairy can sometimes be tougher on a traveling stomach than if you were at home. Try coconut milk for some natural sweetness or almond milk in your coffee for some added protein. If you go for traditional dairy, make sure you have a few bites to eat first to avoid a stomach ache.

A glass of freshly squeezed green juice

Steer Clear Of Added Salt

Traveling is extremely dehydrating, between the altitude and air conditioning systems on the plane, you lose water much more quickly than if you were on the ground. While it sounds counter-intuitive, dehydration causes your body to actually retain fluid, which means bloating, and that means you need to be careful with what you put into your body for the first 48 hours. Until your body re-calibrates, avoid added salt and if you need a little extra flavor ask for citrus like lemon, lime or get a green juice that’s full of hydration and added vitamins to keep you recharged.

Slices of avocado, limes, and jalepenos

Mix High Protein With Healthy, High Fat Foods

Whether you’re in town for meetings or you’re about to see all the sights, you’ll want to eat a breakfast that actually keeps you full. Steer clear of empty carbs such as pastries, which though delicious may not keep you satiated. Opt instead for foods like egg whites or chia as they’re both easy to incorporate into breakfast and are high protein and low fat. Pair these with healthy fats like nuts, avocado, and other plant-based fats to level up your buffet game.

Save A Snack For Later

Look, you didn’t hear this from us but chances are you’ll be on the go all day and you’ll want a snack for later. While you probably shouldn’t take a cart up to your room, you might want a handful of emergency dried fruit or nuts for when you’re at some historical monument or in between meetings. You never know when the hunger will hit.