BF Survival Guide: Buffet Restaurants

by Nikki
In general, we are not big fans of “the buffet.” Doesn’t matter which one you name, all buffets have one thing in common for post-WLS patients: they are NOT cost effective. And in most buffets the food is greasy or fried or–much, much worse–un-“stat-able” (translation: you can’t tell how many calories is in it. If you are pre-op trust this will become a pet peeve very soon).

In my post-op life I’ve been blessed to visit the buffet more than my fair share of times. Each time is in the context of “going with the flow” when my family decides to have a function there. I mean, I can’t blame them. It’s a relatively cheap way for non-ops to celebrate–unlimited food, drink and most of the time a festive environment.

So anyhoo…what brought me to the buffet tonight was pure laziness. It was hot. I didn’t feel like cooking. My “baby-daddy’s-other-babymomma” (henceforth called “BDOBM”) called me up to see if I was interested in going to the buffet. I relented. It happens!
The one good thing about all this is that she wanted to go to the ONLY buffet I’d ever recommend a post-op bother with–Golden Corral. Why, you ask? Let me tell you.
(A caveat: this is not to advise you to go to a buffet. But if you must–if you absolutely must–go to a buffet for a function, I’d HEAVILY suggest that you suggest going to this one for the following reasons.)

Let’s start at the beginning:

First off, they give you a discount for being a WLS post-op. And you don’t have to run down your medical history. Just show ’em the card from your surgeon’s office (you do have one of those, don’t you?) and they even have a special button on the register for us. Lookit!

I know, I know it’s fuzzy, but the third line up says “Medical Buffet.” Wouldn’t be my choice for wording but hey…whatever. Moving right along…
So of course you skip the drink and you get your table. The second thing I like about them is that their plates, in general, are fairly small. I think this is to make you think you are eating more than you are. Whatever the reason, it is not for our benefit I am sure. S’anyway, you get in line and guess what? The healthy choices are clearly marked with green signs as opposed to the red ones they use for all the rest of the food.
Sorry the pictures are so small. They were taken with my camera phone. But you get the point. And there are stats right on the sign so you know how many calories you are eating. On the regular food choices…not so much. But I can’t be mad about that. If I was eating that crap I wouldn’t want to know how many calories were in it either.
At this point you may be asking yourself, “what did you eat, Nik?” And that would be a GOOD question! While I like the green tagged food and all, with the amount I can eat I like to get creative and make something a little more festive. So I made my own little taco salad. It’s so cute!
Now you all hear me talk about the “Wonder Pouch” right. In reality, even if it is wondrous…it is still a pouch. The above is what I started with and here’s what I ended up with:
Yeah…so even big eaters can’t eat that much post-RNY! So anyway. A few warnings. First off, AVOID THESE AT ALL COSTS:
That is NOT my hand by the way. That hand belongs to BDOBM. Whose food choices were good although ones I could not make. But I soooo enjoyed watching her eat (yes, there is something wrong with me…thank you for noticing).
So my camera conked out before I could chronicle dessert. They have many good options. They had some of the sweetest strawberries–bright red and HUGE! Fresh pineapple, melon, cottage cheese, the whole deal. BUT they also had three–yes I said three…tres…trois–regular dessert choices that I could have without fear of dumping.
  • NSA Chocolate pudding
  • NSA Blueberry pie
  • Sugar-free Vanilla Cake
I opted for the chocolate pudding and a bite of vanilla cake. Many times sugar-free cake is dry but not so in this case. Very moist, very yummy. But I’m a pudding gal so just a bite of the cake for me!
Anyways, if you happen to have to go to a buffet, just remember the following:
  1. Stick to food that doesn’t make you sick at home (I can’t tell you how many times early out I paid full admission to the damn buffet to eat 4 oz. of cottage cheese)
  2. Don’t be afraid to speak up at the register because they may give you that discount. If you aren’t comfortable doing it that’s fine too though.
  3. Beware the soups! Many of them are laden with cream and fat and other things that will disturb your system.
  4. If something looks like it’s been sitting a while, ask for a fresh pan to be brought out. I also cannot count how many “little episodes” I’ve had since surgery. For a while the Golden Corral folks thought your girl was bulimic!


  1. Thank you so much for posting this! What great information! I have been to Golden Corral once pre-op and I really liked their choices. I have one very close to my house so this is a nice option to know about. Can I ask, what is the price they gave you as the discount?

  2. I was hoping the photo would improve once I uploaded it. The discount isn't profound. They charged me $7 instead of $9 and if I compared my consumption to…oh…anybody…I'd say I ate about $2 worth. 🙁 But what can you do?

  3. Thanks I just wondered. At least they discount it at all! I really appreciated this post and I will probably link to it in my blog. I want to do a resources page of some kind on my blog. 🙂

  4. The way I look at it, before RNY I could probably eat $20 worth of food in a single trip, now I eat $4… I am just paying them back for the losses I incurred for them for all those years!

  5. Oh yeah and the thing I love about Golden Corral is that they also have grilled meats, like steak and chicken and pork chops! Mind you I usually do the salad thing too that way my plate looks like a lot of food and I just leave most of the lettuce behind.

  6. I went to Golden Corral and put a dab here and a dab there on my plate and the waitress kept coming by and asking me if everything was okay – like 5 times. I just grinned and said everything was fine…..I got a laugh out of it.

  7. I know this is an older post but I'm reading a lot of your site for the first time 🙂 I wanted to share that as a Post-op, a lot of places have the option to buy a "to go" container, for a lower price or even charge by the weight. I did this when a new friend (who is 8 months pregnant) insisted she take me to a buffet restaurant. Well I got the box, picked out my cup of food carefully and ended up only paying about $5 instead of the $15.99 it would have been. I explained that I had a medical issue that wouldn't allow me to eat as much so I would eat out of the container in the restaurant and they were fine with it 🙂 So just an idea, for the rest of your readers too 🙂

  8. Thank you for posting this! I had no idea they were "Pouch Friendly"… friends have suggested going to eat at Golden Corral and I look at them like "Whaaat?" I just hate wasting money and I did not want to have to pay to watch my friends eat…

  9. Just to let you know..I have been a couple of times and NO I cant eat a lot either, but you ask them to charge you for a child meal when u show your card. Its a little cheaper. Thanks for posting, it made me feel better about me going with the family.

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