How to Survive the Buffet Table

Published on the 22nd Dec, 2011 by Azmina

Party temptations can be the downfall of the best intentions at Christmas; such delicious little morsels that are so hard to resist. But just how much harm will canapés and party snacks do to your waistline – and your health? To make it easier for yourself when you are confronted by a table full of calorie-laden choices, plan ahead by eating something before you go out, like a banana. It will take the edge off hunger pangs and make it easier to resist temptation.

Mini sausage rolls
One of the least healthy party foods, high in saturated (animal) fat and very little else. One very often leads to a handful, so think about whether you want to reach for it in the first place …a couple of chipolata sausages with sweet chilli dip is a better choice.

Crudités and dips
A crunchy way to get your antioxidants! Fill up on these to reduce the likelihood of overdoing it later. Opt for healthy dips such as those based on yogurt for calcium (e.g. raita, tzaziki) or tomatoes for lycopene (e.g. salsa)

Humus
Chickpeas are a great source of fibre and protein. Choose a reduced fat variety of humus and make sure you can still see the carrot when you take it out of the dip!

Pizza squares
It depends how big your square is, but often pizza can be quite rich, so intersperse your pizza mouthfuls with crudite or breadsticks

Peanuts
Peanuts can help to fill you up so you are less likely to overdo it. They contain mono-unsaturated fats and a range of vitamins and minerals, so can be healthier than other snacks you may choose. Don’t sit there with a bowlful though!

Breadsticks
Light, fairly low in calories and salt, unless you’ve chosen a cheesy flavour.

Olives
Satisfying, moist (so you’re less likely to need more alcohol than if you were to eat a dry snack) and rich in mono-unsaturated fat.

Mince pies
Pies made from short crust pastry tend to be lower in fat and calories than puff or flaky pastry pies. The dried fruit is rich in potassium and fibre – potassium helps to balance sodium levels in the body. Just ask yourself whether you really need it!

Garlic bread
Go for the end piece, there’s likely to be less butter and more bread, so it’ll be more filling and less fattening.

Mini-sushi
Light and refreshing, salmon-based sushi will provide omega 3 fatty acids, essential for heart health. Rice-based sushi is steamed, so extremely low in fat and surprisingly satisfying.

Mini vol au vents
Puff pastry is richer in fat than other pastry and often this fat is saturated (made from lard or other animal fat). Choose those piled with stir fried veggies rather than creamy sauces.

Deep-fried mushrooms
The small surface area of mushrooms allows them to absorb loads of fat, so the humble mushroom becomes more than ten times more calorific when it’s fried. Opt for plainer veggie sticks.

Bombay mix
Almost each ingredient, ranging from the peanuts to the gram flour ‘’worms’’, is deep-fried. Also, often high in salt. Stick to popcorn instead.

Mini pretzels
A lower fat alternative to crisps. Remember to eat one at a time so you are more conscious of how many you’re having!

You can get more of Azmina’s hints and tips on her Facebook page