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Chinese Buffet

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Old 10-16-2013, 01:48 PM   #1
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Question Chinese Buffet

I am a calorie counter and as such I have not eliminated any foods from my diet. As long as I do not go over my 1,650 calorie per day allowance I can eat anything. To use a far fetched example if I want 1,650 calories worth of ice cream and nothing else I can. This of course is not exactly healthy so I do not eat that way but it is comforting to know that I could.

About once a month my wife and I go to a Chinese Buffet Restaurant. I have yet to find a good way to count calories there.

Help Please -- I welcome any suggestions for obtaining a somewhat accurate calorie count at a Chinese Buffet Restaurant.
My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people. ~Orson Welles

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Old 10-16-2013, 03:13 PM   #2
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This isn't going to be an exact calorie count, but it will help give you an estimate

I think ahead to what my most favorite things to eat on that buffet are (sushi, beef lo mein, sweet and sour chicken, beef and mushrooms, etc), and then go to myfitnesspal's website and look up those items. Because recipes can vary, I usually look for a middle-of-the-pack number (some recipes will say 500 calories per serving, some will say 300, some will say 420...out of those I'd pick the 420), and either write that down or keep a mental note of it.

When I get to the buffet, I try and stick to that list, although I don't beat myself up if I want to try other things (that's the whole point of the buffet ). Some other things I do is keep my portions smaller, and use a salad plate instead of the dinner plate. I always give myself 10 minutes between plates to make sure I'm not overeating, and I always finish the meal with any fresh fruit they may have (usually melon). Not sure why, but the fruit usually helps cut that sometimes greasy feeling in my stomach after a buffet, and I don't find myself getting so hungry later.
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:54 PM   #3
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I use MFP (myfitnesspal) and they have the option to pick a typical chinese buffet plate, half plate, etc. They are not exact counts, but I use those and try to not over do it the rest of the day.
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:39 PM   #4
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Chinese buffet is notoriously calorie dense. Honestly, I have cut down my visits to once or twice a year and I just let myself get a plate of what I really want that day and keep the next day's calorie count at about 1000 to try and make up for it. If I went on a monthly basis, and tried to stick to a calorie goal, I would never get to eat enough to be worth the money I paid unless it was the only meal I ate that day.

General rules of thumb I have learned:
Egg drop soup and hot n sour soup have about 80 calories per cup. Chicken or beef with sauce (General Tso, sweet n sour, etc) usually has at least 350 calories per cup; it can go up to 450 calories/cup for something like orange chicken. White rice is about 200 calories/cup. Fried rice is about 250 calories/cup. Brown rice tastes gross and you may as well just get what you really wanted. Lo mein noodles are fried prior to cooking and pack a lot more calories than you think; I don't remember a count, I just don't eat them anymore. Egg rolls are about 200 calories apiece. For sushi, figure about 70 calories per little roll.

I don't really remember where I got any of these numbers, I've just picked them up over the years from looking at averages. Obviously, it's at best a guess unless you know the precise recipe that your local joint is using. For example, the calorie count in orange chicken can vary by up to 100 calories per serving depending on the recipe.
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:54 PM   #5
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When I eat out in general, I eyeball and estimate.

Does the place you go to have pretty standard (American) Chinese dishes? If so, I'd take a diary and write out what you eat like...

1 cup of fried rice

Then when you get home, you can look up the calorie counts. You may find yourself eating more calories than expected in the beginning but you could refine your method over time.

I'd also add a 10% calorie cushion so that if you counted up 800 calories, it is probably closer to 880 due to all the estimations.
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:46 AM   #6
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Dinner was at a Chinese Buffet on Wednesday and I am proud of myself for making healthy food choices there.

Seafood Salad - Seafood Salad, 1 oz
Fish - Swai Filet, Baked, 8 OZ
Salmon Boneless Filet (Broiled), 4 oz.
Egg - Medium Hard Boiled, 2
Pepper Stir-Fry With Sliced Green, Red & Yellow Bell Peppers and White Onions, 0.25 cup
Cantaloupe, raw, 0.5 cup, cubes
Honeydew, raw, 0.5 cup, cubes

nelie Thank you. I will try the "eyeball and estimate" method but it won't be easy as I usually weigh or measure all my food.

HelloNurse Thank you for your suggestions

Mara I also use MFP (myfitnesspal) and I did not know that they had a typical Chinese Plate entry until you mentioned it. Thank You.

Buffinlovin Thank you also for your suggestions
My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people. ~Orson Welles

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Old 10-21-2013, 04:08 PM   #7
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You made some great choices!
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:53 AM   #8
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Its a hard one. I estimate the best I can while trying to limit pasta/rice and fried foods. It seems like you chose well for your dinner at the buffet.

I like steamed vegetables, unbreaded chicken dishes, unbreaded fish, and just a little scoop of rice or lo mein. Sometimes I will grab a bacon-wrapped scallop or a single egg roll. I'm not overly worried about going over my calories every once in a while though.

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