10 Buffet Foods You Should NEVER Put on Your Plate

Buffets, with their wide range of foods, maybe both an exciting culinary experience and a potential health risk. 

Although having the option to select your food can be attractive, managing a buffet involves making strategic choices to guarantee a good and nutritious experience. 

This article examines ten buffet dishes that you may want to think twice about before putting them on your plate. It discusses their downsides and suggests healthier options.

1. Fried Delicacies 

The allure of golden-brown, crunchy fried foods has tempted us all.

However, although deep-fried chicken wings, french fries, or onion rings can temporarily satisfy a craving, they have substantial disadvantages.

These appealing choices contain unhealthy fats, primarily saturated and trans fats, which have been associated with the possibility of heart disease, stroke, and even type 2 diabetes. 

The high-calorie content of deep-fried foods can also lead to weight gain and make it challenging to keep a healthy weight. 


Rich in unhealthy fats: 

Frying food profoundly raises its saturated and trans fat levels, which can significantly affect heart health. 


Deep-fried foods have a large number of calories in small portion sizes. This may result in consuming too much food and gaining weight. 

Lacking in nutrition: 

Deep-fried foods provide few to no necessary nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

Healthier options: 

Choose grilled, baked, or air-fried options of your preferred cuisine. These choices have comparable tastes and consistencies but with notably lower fat and calories. 

For instance, choose for grilled chicken breast instead of fried chicken wings, baked sweet potato fries over deep-fried french fries, or baked onion rings made with a light coating. 

2. Smooth Salads and Dips 

Salads and dips typically bring to mind thoughts of nutritious and refreshing complements to a meal. 

However, dips and sauces containing mayonnaise or cream-based substances might be surprisingly harmful to your health. These creamy mixtures usually include a significant amount of calories, fat, and sodium. 

The high amount of fat in these sauces may cover the natural tastes of the vegetables they are served with, which could lead to consuming too much of both the dressing and the salad. 

Moreover, the elevated salt levels in creamy dressings may lead to increased blood pressure and other health issues. 


Creamy dressings add a lot of calories and fat to a salad, which might cancel out the health advantages of the vegetables. 

High salt content: 

The large amount of sodium in these dressings might lead to high blood pressure and other health issues. 

Masks the taste of veggies: 

The solid and creamy flavors of these dressings might cover up the original flavor of the vegetables, which might result in consuming too much dressing and not thoroughly enjoying the vegetables themselves. 

Healthier options: 

Opt for milder vinaigrettes or dips made with yogurt or hummus. Vinaigrettes provide a tasty and refreshing option, usually containing fewer calories and less fat than creamy dressings. 

Choose plain Greek yogurt or hummus, as these offer protein and healthy fats while also adding flavor. These choices improve the original tastes of the veggies without increasing the amount of calories, fat, and sodium. 

3. Processed Meats and Deli Slices 

Cold cuts such as salami, bologna, and hot dogs are easy choices at buffets, but their processed quality and high levels of sodium and nitrates pose notable health issues. 

These meats frequently contain high levels of salt, which is a significant cause of high blood pressure and an increased chance of heart disease. 

Moreover, numerous processed meats include nitrates and nitrites, which are preservatives that may be associated with a higher chance of developing specific types of cancer. 


Rich in salt: 

Processed meats usually include a high amount of sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure and other health issues. 

Contain nitrates and nitrites: 

These additives have been associated with a higher chance of certain malignancies in some research. 

Lacking essential nutrients: 

Processed meats frequently contain little vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

Healthier options: 

Search for more nutritious protein options at the buffet, like grilled chicken or fish, roasted veggies, or lentil salads. Grilled chicken or fish provides protein with little processing and decreased health hazards. 

Roasted veggies include essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them a balanced and healthy option. Lentil salads provide protein and fiber, which help with feeling full and contribute to general health advantages. 

4. Dishes with a lot of sauce 

Meals covered with sweet and fatty sauces, such as sweet and sour chicken or Kung Pao chicken, provide an intense taste sensation. Still, the negative aspects of these dishes are more significant than their attractiveness. 

These sauces usually contain high amounts of sugar, salt, and harmful fats. The elevated sugar levels can cause sudden increases and drops in blood sugar, which may result in periods of low energy and possible weight increase. 

Moreover, the high levels of salt and bad fats are harmful. 


High in sugar: 

The high sugar levels in these sauces can cause sudden increases and drops in blood sugar, affecting energy levels and perhaps leading to weight gain. 

High in sodium: 

Like creamy dressings, these sauces typically include a lot of salt, which can increase the risk of high blood pressure and other health issues. 

Rich in bad fats: 

The cooking techniques and components utilized in these sauces frequently result in a high level of unhealthy fats, which can have a negative effect on heart health. 

Healthier options: 

Choose simpler recipes with less sauce, or choose lighter sauces such as marinara or pesto. Less complex choices highlight the authentic tastes of the ingredients, providing a well-rounded and enjoyable experience. 

Choosing lighter sauces such as marinara or pesto offers a taste without the excess of sugar, sodium, and bad fats. 

You can also experiment with a “sauce on the side” method, giving you the ability to manage how much sauce is served in your food. 

5. Refried Beans and Queso 

Although refried beans and queso can enhance a Mexican-inspired buffet, it’s essential to take into account their disadvantages. 

Refried beans are frequently prepared with lard or other less healthy fats, which significantly raises their calorie and saturated fat levels. 

In the same way, queso, usually a cheese-based dip, contains high amounts of saturated fat and sodium. Although it’s feasible to consume these in moderation, it’s essential to scrutinize their drawbacks. 


Rich in fat: 

Refried beans prepared with lard or other less healthy fats significantly increase their total fat content, incredibly saturated fat, which can have a harmful effect on heart health. 

High in calories: 

The mix of harmful fats and carbohydrates in refried beans makes them calorie-dense, so it’s essential to be careful with portion sizes to stay healthy. 

Containing elevated levels of sodium and fat, queso, a dip made from cheese, naturally has high amounts of both salt and saturated fat, which raises comparable health issues to refried beans. 

Healthier options: 

Choose black beans over refried beans. Black beans have a similar amount of protein and a notable amount of fiber, making them a healthier option. 

If you want a different option for dipping, go with guacamole rather than queso. Guacamole provides beneficial fats from avocado along with fiber and vitamins, making it a more well-rounded and nutritious choice. 

6. Dishes Rich in carbs 

Although carbs are a necessary energy source, the large amount of high-glycemic carbohydrates commonly present at buffets might have negative impacts. 

White bread, pasta, and mashed potatoes are types of high-glycemic carbs that can lead to quick increases in blood sugar levels. 

These sudden increases are then followed by drops, resulting in tiredness, feelings of hunger, and a possible gradual increase in weight. 


High glycemic index: Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index such as white bread, spaghetti, and mashed potatoes can lead to quick increases in blood sugar levels, which are then followed by drops, affecting energy levels and leading to more hunger. 

Lacking fiber: 

These processed carbs frequently do not contain dietary fiber, an essential component for feeling full and maintaining intestinal health. 

Low nutritional value: 

In comparison to whole grains, these processed carbohydrates provide a few critical nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Healthier options: 

Seek out healthier choices of carbohydrates at the buffet, like brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, or roasted veggies. 

These choices usually have a lower glycemic index, leading to gradual and steady increases in blood sugar levels, which helps maintain stable energy levels and improve blood sugar regulation. 

Moreover, they usually include more fiber and provide a greater amount of essential nutrients, which help improve general health and well-being. 

7. Pastries and Desserts 

Enjoying sweet foods from time to time is entirely OK, but buffets usually provide a lot of pastries and desserts such as cakes, cookies, and pies, which may tempt you to eat too many sweets. 

These sweet snacks offer little to no nutritional value and are high in calories and harmful fats. Consuming too many of these sweet treats can lead to gaining weight, a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes, and other health issues. 


Rich in sugar and bad fats: 

Baked goods and sweets usually include refined sugar and unhealthy fats, providing little to no nutritional benefits while adding significantly to calorie consumption. 

Lacking essential nutrients: 

These sweet snacks provide little to no necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber, not helping with a balanced and nutritious diet. 

Can result in excessive consumption: 

The large variety of desserts at buffets and their appealing tastes could lead to overeating, possibly surpassing your daily calorie and sugar intake restrictions. 

Healthier options: 

If you crave something sweet, choose a tiny piece of fruit or a mouthful of dark chocolate instead. Fruits provide natural sweetness along with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

Dark chocolate offers antioxidants and can help curb your sweet tooth with a smaller serving.

8. Leftover Food

Buffets provide a wide selection of food and are convenient, but it’s essential to be careful about food safety when choosing what to eat. 

Food left out for long durations might contain dangerous bacteria, raising the chances of getting sick from food. 

This danger is significantly elevated for foods that need precise temperature regulation, like meat, poultry, and shellfish. 


Higher chance of foodborne illness: 

Food kept at improper temperatures for a long time might provide a suitable environment for harmful bacteria to grow, resulting in symptoms of foodborne illness such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Diminished quality and taste: 

Food that has been left out for an extended period might lose its freshness, texture, and flavor, which can negatively impact the whole eating experience. 

9. Unknown Dishes

While trying out new and unusual foods might be thrilling, it’s essential to be careful at buffets. 

Unknown dishes could include components that you are allergic to or might be cooked in manners that do not match your dietary limitations. 

Eating unfamiliar substances can cause unforeseen allergic reactions or digestive problems. 


Possibility of allergic reactions: 

Dishes with unknown ingredients can have substances that could cause severe responses if you are allergic to them. 

Possible problems with dietary restrictions: 

If you have specific nutritional requirements, trying new meals can accidentally go against those requirements, resulting in unintentional consumption of forbidden items. 

Digestive issues: 

Eating foods or recipes that are new to you or prepared in ways you’re not used to can cause digestive problems or discomfort. 

Advice for dealing with strange foods: 

10. Low-nutrient Drinks

Sweetened drinks such as soda, fruit juices, and sweetened iced teas are commonly seen at buffets. 

Although they could be invigorating, they contain a high amount of calories with little to no nutritional benefits. 

Drinking these sweet beverages adds a lot of calories to your daily consumption but doesn’t offer essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, or fiber. 


High in sugar and calories: 

Sweetened beverages contain a lot of calories without providing much nutritional benefit, which could result in weight gain and other health issues. 

Sugary drinks can lead to dehydration despite initially seeming hydrating because of their diuretic effects. 

Might lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels: 

The elevated sugar levels in these beverages might result in spikes and subsequent drops in blood sugar, affecting energy levels and causing increased hunger. 

Healthier options: 

Choose healthier beverage choices at the buffet, such as water, plain tea, or sparkling water with a hint of lemon or lime. 

Water is the top option for staying hydrated and contains no calories or undesirable substances. Unsweetened tea offers a refreshing option with very little or zero calories. Carbonated water with a bit of citrus provides some flavor without the high sugar levels found in other choices. 

The Bottom Line

Buffets can be an enjoyable and communal experience, but making well-informed decisions is essential. 

By learning about these 10 buffet dishes you may want to avoid and choose healthier options instead, you may have a more pleasant and health-conscious dining experience while still savoring the diversity and social features of a buffet.

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