“In numerous experiments over the years, I’ve discovered that anything less than four trips to the buffet table leaves me feeling unfulfilled. I fully intended to get my usual four plates of food, but I was saving my carbs for the grand finale: twin scoops of chocolate and banana pudding.”
— From “Adventures in Food & Fitness,” The (Fort Wayne) News-Sentinel
This week’s column focused on tobogganing, but the snippet above hints at what was, for me, an underlying theme of our family’s recent weekend getaway: I think I’ve gone from fearing buffets to feeling like maybe I’ve finally conquered them.
I really did make four trips to both the breakfast buffet and the dinner buffet at Pokagon’s Potawatomi Inn, but in both cases I felt good about the experience rather than fretting that I’d destroyed my diet. And it wasn’t just a case of compensating for calories burned on the toboggan run; as I explained in the column, I don’t buy the notion that climbing that hill gives anybody the right to eat themselves silly.
At breakfast, I stayed away from the cholesterol side of the buffet and focused on the fruit and cereal bar, which was awesome. On my first plate I had strawberries, peaches, cottage cheese, and 2 boiled eggs. Plate 2 was oatmeal layered with yogurt, blackberries and granola. Plate 3 was a repeat of Plate 2 – it was that good. (For me, granola is a real treat, but I always use it as a topping and not as a cereal base because it’s so high in calories.) Finally, plate 4 was a couple of pieces of fresh pineapple and another (smaller) scoop of cottage cheese.
Yes, it was a huge breakfast, a lot of food. But it was GOOD food, we skipped lunch, and in addition to tobogganing, I also went for a run and a swim that day. Another key point: I no longer overload each plate at the buffet. I do like making four trips, that’s part of what makes it fun, but now I focus on making each plate look pretty – or in some cases an interesting experiment — rather than crowded piles of crappy carbs.
At dinner, Plate 1 was a tiny scoop of smashed red potatoes, a bunch of stir-fried green beans and a piece of some kind of baked fish. Plate 2 was a couple of hearty chunks of lettuce with blue cheese crumbles and grape tomatoes. Plate 3 was a trip to the pasta bar, where I ordered up shrimp, broccoli and mushrooms sautéed in white wine and topped with a chunky red sauce. (I ate the shrimp and veggies and left the penne pasta on my plate.) Finally, Plate 4 was a delicious dessert ensemble of peaches and twin scoops of chocolate and banana pudding. Yum!
The Potawatomi Inn at Pokagon State Park (as it appears in warmer months).