Food & Nutrition

14 Foods Nutritionists Never Eat at Buffets

Ice under the food doesn’t mean it’s cold enough to keep the food safe. Learn what the experts look for—and what they avoid—at the buffet.

Sushi

A set of sushi with salmon, shrimp and eel and wooden chopsticks on a wooden Board. Delicious Japanese food on a dark stone background. female hand takes the chopsticks in the sushi. Top view.VasiliyBudarin/Shutterstock

Sushi at your favorite Japanese restaurant? Yes, please. Sushi on a work buffet? Say sayonara, says Kendra Busalacchi, RDN, a registered dietitian at Sharp HealthCare. “I would never eat sushi that contains raw fish,” she says. “Fish is very heart healthy with its high omega 3 content. However, the problem is that raw fish, especially when not handled properly and kept at the proper temperature, puts you at very high risk for foodborne illnesses.” Worse, this risk for this goes up exponentially the longer it’s kept out unrefrigerated, such as at a buffet, she adds. Instead, opt for sushi made only with cooked ingredients or choose a baked salmon dish. Some rules, however, are made to be broken—here are 19 healthy food rules nutritionists ignore all the time.

Caesar salad

Caesar-Salad-Was-First-Served-in-Tijuana—and-8-Other-Fascinating-Facts-Behind-Your-Favorite-Foodsnantarpats/shutterstock

But this classic salad is a buffet staple! That may be true, but if it’s made the real way—that is, with raw eggs—it’s not safe, Busalacchi says. “Raw or undercooked eggs pose a very high risk of salmonella poisoning and foods such as Hollandaise sauce and Caesar salad dressings are often prepared with raw or undercooked eggs,” she explains. When it comes to sauces and dressings, Busalacchi says, she avoids all creamy dressings and goes for a simple mix of olive oil and vinegar. “This is a win-win because not only do most of these choices decrease the risk for food poisoning, but they are also heart healthier,” she says.

Custom sodas

Cola with ice cube on black slate boardChursina Viktoriia/Shutterstock

We’ve all seen those fancy machines that let you mix a custom soda from an almost limitless number of flavors—they’re basically a buffet of drinks. But when it comes to your health, all sugar-sweetened beverages are bombs, including the fancy ones, Busalacchi says. “I avoid beverages such as sodas, juices, and sweet drinks that come with a lot of added sugars and calories,” she explains. “Instead, I opt for water or unsweetened teas.”

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